Some of us look forward to the colours of fall. The vibrancy of the leaves juxtaposed against the increasing starkness of the landscape as they make their way down to blanket the ground.
Some of us anticipate the hot specialty beverages and look forward to wrapping our mitts around a pumpkin spice latte, peppermint mocha or maybe just indulging in a bit of gingerbread
Me? I dread the cold. August is a bittersweet late summer month where as I cherish the heat, I know it will be gone all too soon.
And you know what’s also going to go? My dewy skin, kissed by the sun to a rich glowy chocolate which will make way to a grey lifelessness only matched by the increasing greyness of my mood.
I dread the cold because everything has to change. My clothes, my hair products and my skin products.
I no longer can take a devil-may care attitude to my skin which loves the humidity of Toronto summers. The scaly skin around my mouth and nose will attest to the fact that I have to care. And put in effort.
Like many of us in the black community I suffer from eczema. Mine, a mild version, is most certainly exacerbated by the cold, dry weather conditions outside as well as the dry conditions indoors because of having to put on the heat. Harsh chemicals and strong fragrances in soaps and creams which are more for aesthetic reasons than any holistic or health benefit only make it worse (and yes, it can certainly get worse)
This never-ending journey of trying to find products that don’t make my skin cry for help and scream for mercy, I can sum into three key lessons.
Keep It Simple, Soap! – Less is more with soaps and washing products. Black soap, for example, is lauded and tried tested and true for its simple ingredients which cleanse while also not over drying. Your body does have to adjust, if you’re accustomed to using body washes with added moisturizer for example but your skin will thank you. Your bathtub won’t (or your back when you’re scrubbing the tub), but the health benefits far outweigh that.
Your body needs it and it’s a great add to your self-care routine! You have weekly cleansing baths? Add exfoliating to your process of cleansing. The process of removing dead skin can definitely be paralleled to the process of clearing your mind. Also, it’s great for blood flow. Natural exfoliants like coffee grounds are great because coffee has stimulant properties, increasing that exfoliation power. Also, it’s great for the skin
I know I’m preaching to the choir. I mean, do you know of any WOC who don’t use lotion? But but but… What kind of lotion are you using, when do you use it and does it have the key ingredients to give you an all-day smooth like a baby’s bottom type of feel?
The best way to moisturize is when the skin is still somewhat damp. The lotion or cream then acts as a barrier, trapping in the moisture from the shower and protecting the skin from excessive dryness.
If you’re one for fragranced or scented lotions, try to find ones that use natural ingredients to scent and stay away from overly perfumed lotions as that same ingredient that is making you smell like Charlie is also making your skin scaly as hell (anyone liking that 1992 perfume reference?)
Some of the key ingredients that you should look for in a lotion are shea butter, cocoa butter, and glycerin. Any/ all of these ingredients will not only moisturize but can aid in the very gradual fading of scarring, appearance of stretch marks and again, give you the smooth skin akin to that of the rear end of a newborn.
So that’s that! KISS, exfoliate and moisturize. Simple right?
Ugh… excuse me while I jump in some leaves with my peppermint mocha.
Some great items from our Beauty Boxes: