No matter how covered we are on the street, our skin is not free from aggressions or affectations during the winter months. This is due to the fact that the skin is very exposed to rarefied environments, tobacco and car smoke, home or office heating, sunlight in mountain areas, contact with irritating products in the home or work…
Our skin is more prone then to dry hands, legs and lips, or to suffer from sunburns associated with snow, hives due to allergic reactions, acne, chilblains due to cold or poor circulation…
How to moisturize your skin in winter
A first precautionary measure involves a good hydration. That happens by drinking water or juice throughout the day, wearing clothes that shelter, but also breathe, and if necessary, increase the environmental humidity of home or workplace using humidifiers.
But, above all, hydrate your skin well with creams or suitable ointments. Conventional creams usually contain petroleum products; On the other hand, the natural ones resort mainly to vegetal ingredients of composition more akin to the skin.
Why not make your own cream?
If you have time and patience, you can prepare creams at home, based on medicinal plants and essences. You do not need special skill and you make sure to use quality natural ingredients.
Before putting on it, it is convenient to know the difference between cream and ointment. Basically, the difference is that creams carry water and ointments do not, which gives them different textures and properties:
- Ointments combine fats or oils with plants and act on the skin creating a protective layer.
- On the other hand, by carrying water as well as fats and plants, the creams penetrate more into the skin and are more refreshing.
Some of the plants most used for making creams (and also ointments) are calendula, comfrey, hypericum, plantain, arnica, cypress, thyme, marshmallow, shea butter, avocado and green tea, among others.
We have selected four of them as an example, but you can resort to those that you like the most because of their properties:
- Calendula. The floral chapters of Calendula officinalis relieve in case of dermatitis, juvenile acne, minor burns, mycosis, rashes, wounds and sores.
- Arnica. The creams with the great floral chapters of Arnica montana are used in luxations, sprains, bruises, stings, urticaria…
- Cypress. The cones or mature gills of Cipressus sempervirens are a venous tonic, useful in the case of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, varicose ulcers, chilblains, warts, hypersudation, stings, wounds with bleeding…
- Avocado. Use the pulp, skin and seeds of Persea americana. It is a skin regenerator, suitable for dry, cracked and aged skin and dry eczema.
How to prepare a natural cream step by step
In addition to the ingredients, to prepare a cosmetic cream at home you will need to get some utensils:
- a small scale to weigh the plant
- a stainless steel container for heating in a bain-marie
- a sifting bag
- a dark or translucent glass jar
Once you have equipped yourself, the process is simple. Discover first the steps you must follow and then two concrete homemade formulas ideal for winter to start trying.
- Choose the plant: choose the part of the plant you need (the floral chapter, the petals, the leaves…) and weigh it. You will need 200 g if it is a fresh plant, freshly harvested or purchased, or half, 100 g, if you work with a dry plant.
- Prepare the emulsifier: choose a natural emulsifier such as candelilla wax, a vegetable alternative to beeswax. Melt 500 g of this emulsifier in a bain-marie in a stainless steel container.
- Mix the ingredients: add to the already melted emulsifier 230 g of glycerin, the 200 g of fresh plant (or 100 g of dried plant) and 200 ml of water, stir without stopping and simmer for 3 hours.
- Let cool: after 3 hours, remove from heat and strain the mixture through a bag to sift. Remove the paste to help it cool and wait for it to take consistency.
- Pack the cream: insert it in dark or translucent glass jars, seal them and add an informative label, with the content and date.
Here are the recipes for two natural creams. They contain plants suitable for skin care in the cold months, they are easy to make and very effective.
1. Regenerating cream of avocado and calendula
This cream, very nutritious, is ideal to regenerate the skin and very suitable to apply in case of skin infections and pitting.
- 0.5 g of calendula oleate
- 2 g of avocado pulp
- 5 g of rosehip oil
- 0.5 g of allantoin
- 10 ml infusion of plantain major or wild rose
- 100 g of a vegetable emulsifier
- 0.2 g of vitamin E (preservative)
Melt the emulsifier in a water bath and add the other ingredients, stirring constantly.
Let it simmer for 2 hours
Filter it through a sieve.
Apply it in a gentle massage, 3 times a day.
2. Arnica soothing cream
In this cream the arnica is combined with plantain and marshmallow, which makes it ideal for the care of burns, irritated skin, eczema and dermatitis.
- 20 g of fresh plantain
- 20 g of arnica
- 20 g of marshmallow root
- 300 g of a vegetable emulsifier
- 1 g of vitamin E (preservative)
Melt the emulsifier in a saucepan in a saucepan.
Add the three plants and stir with a wooden spoon, over low heat for 40 minutes.