how to deal with dry skin

Toil in soil (sandy or not) and exposure to drying winds mean dry skin is common in gardeners. UV damage also exacerbates dryness. Extreme weather and even just the seasonal dips and highs can affect production of sebum (the skin’s natural barrier) and allow moisture to evaporate.

Dry skin may manifest as chapped lips chapped hands or even rough elbows, the recipes/remedies below with help with all areas.

Dry facial skin is characterised by tautness caused by a lack of moisture in the upper layers of the skin and a paucity of sebum in the lower layers. The visible flaking of skin can begin around the nose and with patches of eyebrow dandruff (or for men with itchy scaling in the moustache or beard), soon developing into a roughness or scaling on the cheeks and even the forehead and at the hairline. Ignoring dry skin can lead to premature ageing of the skin and the early emergence of fine lines

Top tip – UV rays can penetrate quicker and deeper into dry and dehydrated skin than other skin types, increasing the risk of sun damage and drying skin even further, so always use a good sunblock that both protects and moisturises. Look out for products that contain plenty of aloe vera or coconut butter.

Make a Garden spa – Many flowers and garden herbs have a long history of use in treating dry skin, including daisies, marshmallow, borage, lady’s mantle, calendula and rose. Succulent plants such as aloe vera, sedum and Sempervivums have also been used in natural moisturisers for centuries.

Make a Kitchen spa – It is all too easy to lose skin oils if your diet is too low in fat. Making a salad dressing oil with calendula petals (packed with luteins and vitamin A) turns a tasty lunch into a therapeutic meal. Eating avocados, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and other foods packed with antioxidant carotenoids will also bolster skin health. Most of these make great facials too. Just pulp or blitz them in a blender with a drop of green tea for consistency and an extra antioxidant boost.

Make your own Calendula moisturising cream
The glycosides and saponins in calendula are very effective cleansing and antiseptic agents but they also help reduce inflammation, soothe irritated tissue, hydrate and promote skin healing. All the other ingredients hydrate too. In a mortar and pestle crush 2 tablespoons of calendula petals with ½ teaspoon of water and 2 tablespoons of fresh dairy cream. You can also use the calendula oil to make a lotion/cream.

Try a Rose and cucumber toning mask
Rose petals are cleansing, stimulating and soothing. Their astringent quality means that they tone and their natural hydrating effect upon skin makes them an ideal ingredient to treat dry skin, as well as ageing skin, psoriasis and eczema, etc. Cucumbers are a great source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which, along with the active ingredients of cucurbitacin and cucumerin contained in its juice and flesh, helps hydrate skin. Yoghurt is beneficial to balance the skin’s pH.

• 80g cucumber
• petals of 1 rose head
• 80g natural yoghurt
• almond flour (optional)

Wash the cucumber (peel if store-bought and you suspect residual chemicals) and then slice or chop it. Put it in a blender with the rose petals and yoghurt and blend to a pulp. You can thicken the mixture with almond flour if you like. Apply to your face fresh from the blender and leave on for up to 15 minutes (at least 5 minutes). Rinse off and pat skin dry. The surplus mixture will store in the fridge for up to three days.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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