I've always known oats are renowned as an effective treatment for itchy dry skin but have never tried it out (not sure why? ). The traditional way is to run a bath with a muslin bag of oats in the water or held under the tap to create an oat milk bath.
After a friend came to me yesterday, desperate for a jar of Hand Soother to help her dry, sore hands I reminded her about using olive oil in an emergency and I got to thinking about the other treatments you can find at home. So over the next few days I'm going to try one each day or so and report back giving you an honest view on how effective each one is.
Today's kitchen pharmacy visit is to the cereal cupboard to try out the oats.
Rather than use them in a bath, I wanted to see how they worked as a quick treatment on my hands. They are feeling dryer than usual at the moment I guess due to the weather and central heating, although not as sore and chapped as my poor friend.
I took at handful of oats and held them in my hand as I ran warm water over them. Once they felt slightly mushy, I 'washed' my hands with them - messy but actually quite nice (or maybe that's just me!).
Quick tip - I did this over a sieve to save me picking soggy oats out of the sink afterwards.
After I rinsed them off my hands felt a lot smoother - this does act as a gentle exfoliator - and soft too. I'd imagine if your hands are feeling sore and chapped, this would be a really soothing treatment.
So nothing new - but a natural treatment I've known about and never tried. Give it a go if your hands are dry and let me know what you think.
We all occasionally look in the mirror and lament the loss of our youthful skin. I try to remember that each one of those lines is a night spent up with my children, or a late night laughing with friends – all things that go to making life worth living.
If you follow the Oscar Wilde philosophy on youthfulness, “To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable” then fair play to you (and enjoy yourself). But if you’re up for a quick and mostly free way to look bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning just follow this age old advice.
First off let me say we’re not re-inventing the wheel here. You already know what to do; this is just a quick reminder (think of me as that annoying nagging voice on your shoulder).
1. Drink two litres of water today. Go on, get yourself a glass now. It’s the advice we all know and probably don’t always follow but dehydrated skin will show the lines much more and look less firm. By the way there is a difference between dehydrated skin and dry skin - dehydrated skin is lacking water, dry skin is lacking oil. That’s why water based lotions temporarily plump up our skin – they’re adding water from the outside. You need to hydrate from the inside for a longer term fix.
2. Go easy on the alcohol – in fact try to spend the evening without a drop passing your lips (it is only Wednesday you can do it). As well as dehydrating you (and you’re trying to hydrate – have you got your glass of water yet??), overdoing the alcohol can give you red eyes and a puffy face the next morning. When you drink too much alcohol before bed, the quality of your sleep declines in that you have fewer REM sleep cycles, which leads me nicely on to …
3. GET TO BED! When you sleep your body goes into repair mode and is busy renewing and restoring cells. The less you sleep, the less time your body has to recuperate. For me, eight hours is a must and any less for a few days definitely shows in my face (also from my grumpy expression – I’m not good at lack of sleep!).
4. Before you go to bed, make sure you remove all your make-up and the day’s pollution. I’m a fan of oil based cleansers that you remove with a face cloth as the warm cloth acts as a daily, gentle exfoliator.
5. Final step is a few drops of a night time vitamin A oil such as rosehip oil. Don’t overload your skin with a heavy, perfumed cream. In fact if you’ve used an oil based cleanser, you won’t need much in the way of a night time moisturiser but the rosehip oil contains retinol which is helpful for cell renewal.
That’s it – no £100 magic creams, no rejuvenating face washes. You can opt for those and some of them may work, but you need to get the basics in place too. It’s a little like wearing a good bra – an amazing dress won’t look good unless you have the foundations of well fitting underwear. So it goes with the foundations of good skin – water, sleep and a smile.
Of course diet plays a massive factor in how your skin looks too and next time I’ll be giving you the top five foods for great skin.
So let me know if you manage your two litres and eight hours and how you look in the morning. I’m off to fill my glass.
The sun is out and the inevitable day when you need to bare your pins to the world draws closer! I like to mark the official start of summer by ceremonially banishing my black opaques to the back of the drawer - but before then, there's a little bit of repair work to be done.
If your legs look like they belong to something in the reptile house, don't despair. Your first step on the way to luscious legs is a body brush. Body brushing is one of those things like flossing - really good for you but sometimes a hard habit to get into. As well as being an excellent exfoliator it stimulates circulation and will improve your skin tone over time.
Source a brush that isn't too hard if you're new to brushing. Most brushes are made of animal hair so if you're a vegan, search for those made of cactus or sisal. The cactus ones do tend to be much stiffer so go easy when you first start to make sure you don't damage your skin. Brush for a few minutes every morning from toe to hip (yep I know - finding a few spare minutes in our house in the mornings is easier said than done so make this your pre-bedtime routine if that’s easier).
Next step is exfoliating to slough off the dead skin cells revealing your gorgeous peachy skin underneath! The Peachykeen Body Polish is made from finely ground sugar which means it polishes rather than scrubs your skin - much gentler. Bear this in mind when choosing your exfoliator - especially if you're using it all over your body on skin that is more fragile.
If you're economising, blend together your own exfoliator with vegetable oil (sunflower/olive - whatever you have in the kitchen) and table salt or caster sugar - you need small granules so don't use sea salt.
I find that standing in the bath or shower and using the exfoliator on dry skin has the best results. Then wash off the oil as you shower. Oil based body scrubs have the benefit that even after you've washed off the oil, your skin will have the residue and you won't need to moisturise.
On the days you don't have time to scrub in the shower, apply your moisturiser when your skin is damp. I always opt for an oil based moisturiser – as well as nourishing your skin they’ll give your legs a healthy sheen.
There you go – a week of this routine will give you pins to be proud of! Fingers crossed for the sunshine now.
Let me know if you come across a vegan friendly body brush that isn’t too tough. I’d like to stock them online but it’s proving difficult to find the right brand.