Tip Tuesday: Moisturizing and Exfoliating Parched Winter Skin

Tip TuesdayWelcome to late February when moisturizing goes awry.  (I love the word awry.  It seems so ironic.  I also love the word ironic and the song “Ironic.”)

If you are like me (and don’t worry, not too many people are), you have been suffering from dry skin…forever.  If you are not a freak of nature like me, you’ve been suffering from dry skin since that first blustery wind blew in last fall.  I apologize for this post being so terribly late.  Most of my skin is not dry.  Ever since high school at least, I have had a desert for a face.  A dried, peeling desert.  You know that idea of the oily T-zone?  Imagine having an oily, parched T-zone.  My face laughed at lotion.  I’ve tried moisturizer after moisturizer.  I’ve tried natural products.  I’ve tried products that were probably tested on animals (although not intentionally).  I remember one point in my freshman year of high school, I was sitting in my typing class (and it was before Christmas because we were using electronic typewriters and not the computers we used after Christmas) and the ever-so-helpful girl sitting next to me let me know that my skin was flaking on my face.  I have actually had skin flakes mixed with blemishes.  The rest of me suffers from dry skin in the farthest reaches of winter, but my face is dry all…year…long.

In leading up to the Christmas of 2012,  I was scouring the Pinteresting Blogosphere for crafty gift ideas.  I lit immediately on two…one a hand scrub using Dawn Hand Renewal and sugar and a moisturizing body scrub made from brown sugar and coconut oil (and a few other ingredients).  So, I made up a batch of each–well, sort of.  The body scrub called for vanilla extract and vitamin E oil capsules (squeezed of oil).  The main ingredient in vanilla extract is alcohol, and alcohol is drying, and so I didn’t want any drying agents in a scrub that I was going to hand out as a gift, so I eschewed the vanilla extract.  I also left out the Vitamin E capsules because they reminded me of an injury I sustained on my chin in kindergarten.  So, I mixed brown sugar and coconut oil together and hoped for the best.

I made me some, as well.  I didn’t want to give out anything as a gift that may be harmful, after all.  I have to admit, I was a bit worried about the coconut oil.  It had proliferated the Pinteresting Blogosphere for months touted as the next miracle ingredient (and, while I had experienced the benefits of Tea Tree Oil in the past, all I could think of was another Tea Tree Oil) in food, health, and beauty products.  Call me skeptical because I was.  (Keep in mind that coconut oil in some cases resembles vegetable shortening or lard.)  So, I mixed it up, drew a bath, and massaged finger-fulls of it in circular motions into my arms and legs.  I smelled tropical, and it felt absolutely wonderful.  My skin felt smooth and not dry.  I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it on my face.  OMG Bliss!  This scrub, these two ingredients, did what no lotion, moisturizer, toner, or facial product had ever managed to do:  for three days after the first use (and I only tried it once), my skin was not flaky and my face felt not parched!  I think (and sadly, I’m not joking) that I wept with the sheer euphoria of my skin not feeling stretched and cracky over my cheekbones.  So, the lesson from Tip Tuesday is to invest in coconut oil.  Yes, it is a LOT more expensive than other fats.  But if you have ever EVER suffered from dry skin, it is worth the cost.  In the past 17 years, I have wasted a lot of money on moisturizers that didn’t work, but this stuff did (for me, at least).

I put it in a small jelly jar and place it on the rim of the tub.  Then, I simply open and apply as needed.

Tropical Scrub

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix the two in a small bowl with a spoon, pressing the mixture together.  Scoop into a small jelly jar.  If giving a gift, you might want to give the gift with a small spoon or scoop.  I don’t use one; I just dig some out with my fingers.

To use:  Wet skin with warm water.  Massage desired amount into skin using circular strokes.  Once the sugar dissolves, rinse the remaining scrub off of the skin.

Don’t try to use any other type of oil or white sugar in place of the brown.  I cannot guarantee that the mixture will form the correct consistency or work with as much success.


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