• Dr. Amber McKinnon ND

Scratching the Surface: How to Beat the Winter Itch PART 2


Photo by: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Last week we learned all about causes of dry itchy winter skin and some options to help get around it. This week I want to share with you some of my favorite homemade recipes with you. I have personally used all of these and hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

The Recipes

If you have any known allergies or sensitivities, please avoid and/ or substitute these ingredients in each recipe. If you experience any reactions to your home-made products below consult your ND or MD. If you have a pre-existing skin conditions always consult your health care provider (ND or MD) before use of any new skin care products, homemade or retail.

Photo by: Bee Naturalles on Unsplash

Oils

It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can moisturize your skin with just simple oils that you have in your kitchen. I have already mentioned this, but I will say it again… just remember… “if you wouldn’t eat it don’t put it on your skin!”

Some oils that you could apply directly on your skin include:

  • Sweet Almond

  • Olive

  • Coconut

  • Jojoba

  • Sesame

  • Avocado

  • Grapeseed

  • Rosehip

  • Apricot Kernel

Rose Water

Rose water makes a great toner. Many commercial toners are very drying and not ideal to use in the winter months. Using rose water as a toner is a great choice and simple to make. Rose has many healing properties. It has soothing anti-inflammatory properties helping to calm dry irritated skin. It also contains several antioxidant and anti-bacterial compounds making it ideal for healing and protecting skin.

Photo by Bence Balla-Schottner on Unsplash

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried rose petals (use 2-3 times the volume if you are using fresh rose petals)

  • 3 cups water

Procedure:

  1. Add ingredients into a clean saucepan and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  3. Simmer covered for 5-10 minutes until all the color has left the leaves of the rose petals.

  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely with the lid on the pot. This will prevent loss of active constituents from you rose water.

  5. When your mixture is at room temperature pour it through cheese cloth into a dark amber glass bottle (a funnel will make this much easier). Add a spritzer top to your bottle for easy use. The separated rose petals can be composted, or I will occasionally use them in my cooking.

Directions:

  1. Use 1-2x daily as a toner after cleansing your face.

Storage:

Your rose water can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or for about 1 week at room temperature.

Gentle Facial Scrub

This gentle scrub is ideal for the face or other delicate areas. It can be used anywhere on the body. I love to use this in the bath. It is easy to rinse off when you are in the tub and the oats are great for soothing dry, itchy skin everywhere. After you have rinsed your face you can soak in the oat water. Be sure to use a fine drain catcher to remove the oats after your bath.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats

  • 2 tbsp rose water (see above)

  • 1 tbsp sweet almond oil (or another of your choice, see above)

Procedure:

  1. Add oats to a blender and pulse for a couple seconds. Do not blend for too long, you want your oats to be coarse not a fine powder.

  2. In a small bowl add the other ingredients and mix.

  3. This is best made fresh for each use and used immediately.

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

Directions:

  1. Apply to your skin and rub in large circles for a few moments covering your entire face before rinsing off.

Storage:

The mixture is best used right away but can be transferred to a jar and will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Additional Options:

Instead of oats, consider using almond meal. After making homemade almond milk, the left-over almond meal that remains is great to use in baking or cooking and in place of oats in this recipe. If you are using fresh almond meal, skip the rose water. If the almond meal has been dried, it can be substituted directly. Almonds have naturally occurring nourishing oils making them ideal for this purpose.

Soothing Aloe Body Scrub

Aloe is one of the best-known skin healing plants. It is high in vitamins, minerals, and healing chemicals. What aloe is best known for is its incredible hydrating properties. This body scrub is an all over winter winner. I like to let this one soak in for a while; try lining the floor with a large towel (or two) and taking the opportunity to get a meditation in before its time to rinse off in the shower. This is great for spot treatments or full body treatments.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup naturally sourced fine grain Epsom salts

  • ¾ cup Aloe vera pulp

  • ¼ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ cup sage, mint or lavender leaves or chamomile or marigold petals (optional- see chart below)

Procedure:

  1. Add aloe, coconut oil, and optional herbs to blender.

  2. Blend well until mixture is completely smooth.

  3. Poor into a bowl and add salts, mix well.

Directions:

  1. Apply topically to affected areas, allow 5-10 min before rinsing the mixture off.

  2. ** Caution the oil in this mixture will make the surface of your tub or shower slippery.

Storage:

This scrub can be used fresh or kept in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Consider adding the oil from 1-2 capsules of vitamin E if you plan to keep the mixture in the fridge.

Additional options:

If you don’t have access to aloe, you can use cucumber instead. Cucumber does not have as many healing properties as aloe but makes a great substitute in a pinch.

Choosing the right herb for your scrub:

*anti-pruritic = anti-itch

Rough and Tough Mineral Body Scrub

This scrub is so simple and great to use on rougher skin. This mix should not be used on delicate or sensitive skin but is ideal for a body scrub.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup naturally sourced Epsom salt

  • ½ cup coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

  • 5-10 drops of lavender and/ or chamomile essential oils (optional – avoid with sensitive skin)

Procedure:

  1. Mix ingredients together.

  2. Transfer to a container to keep the mixture.

Photo by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

Directions:

  1. Apply directly to the skin and work in circular motions over the entire area you wish to treat.

  2. Rinse.

  3. ** Caution the oil in this mixture will make the surface of your tub or shower slippery.

Storage:

This mixture will keep nicely at room temperature for about 3 months.

Options and Notes:

  • You can use sugar instead of Epsom salts. I prefer Epsom salts, however, as they are rich in minerals and are anti-microbial. Sugar in this concentration is also antimicrobial but, if not properly rinsed after use, can promote infection on the skin.

  • **Diabetics and individuals with peripheral neuropathies should be particularly careful using sugar as a substitute.

  • I prefer coconut oil for this recipe as it solidifies at room temperature, making for a firmer texture that you can dig into with your fingers or a spoon. If you prefer a thinner texture, consider using a different oil.

Winter Hand Cream

This is a great winter cream and defiantly one of my favorites! It is a bit more work to make but the deep moisturizing it does makes it worth it. This cream is thicker and contains lanolin and beeswax to help form a protective barrier on the skin. The Shea butter contains a number of vitamins and minerals that help the skin heal. This makes it ideal for really dry skin, or for conditions like psoriasis or eczema. The trade off, however, is that it will leave your skin feeling a bit greasy for a while after you apply it. This cream is generally a bit too heavy for the face but is ideal for extremities.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ cup distilled water

  • ¼ cup Comfrey root dried

  • 1 tbsp liquid lanolin

  • 1 tbsp (rounded) beeswax pellets

  • 1.5 tbsp liquid lecithin

  • 10 drops rose water (see above)

  • Optional:

  • 4-20 drops total of essential oil(s) (consider: lavender, rose, mint, sandalwood, cedar)

  • Oil from 2 capsules of vitamin E

Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

Procedure:

  1. Add comfrey root to ¼ cup distilled water in a small saucepan.

  2. Bring mixture to a boil and maintain a gentle simmer with the lid on for 10 min.

  3. Strain the liquid through cheese cloth and set aside 2 tbsp of liquid.

  4. Add oil, beeswax, lecithin and lanolin to the top of a double boiler and heat gently until fully melted and combined.

  5. Allow oil mixture to cool, then add into a blender with the comfrey tea.

  6. Whip until thick and creamy.

  7. Place mixture in fridge while still in the blender to cool completely.

  8. Blend once more.

  9. Transfer into a clean jar and keep refrigerated.

Directions:

  1. Use as needed for dry hands.

Storage:

This cream will keep in the fridge for about 3-5 weeks. To extend the shelf life ensure that your hands are always clean before dipping into your cream. You can also add 1-2 capsules of vitamin E as a preservative.

Options and Notes:

  • You could substitute coconut oil with olive, sweet almond or apricot kernel oil for a thinner consistency.

  • In a pinch you could also use a ½ cup of coconut oil if you don’t have Shea butter, but this will make for an oilier cream.

  • If you don’t have any rose water, you could use distilled water instead.

  • I personally am not a big fan of the smell of Shea butter, so I really love to add essential oils to this formula.

  • I used comfrey in this formula, but the options are nearly endless. Use different herbs to suite your specific purpose.

Dry Skin Salve

This is the thickest and hardest working of my homemade mixes. This is ideal for very dry skin or for the occasional super moisture boost. If you remember the night-time glove treatment I described above, this is perfect for this application.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp dried chickweed herb

  • 1 tbsp dried calendula flowers

  • 2 cups distilled water

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • 2 tbsp beeswax

  • Optional:

  • Oil from 2 capsules vitamin E oil

  • 10 drops total of essential oil(s) of our choice (consider: lavender, eucalyptus, rose, cedar, Frankincense)

Procedure:

  1. Add the dried herbs to 2 cups of boiling water.

  2. Simmer this mixture while mostly covered until only ½ cup liquid remains.

  3. In a double boiler gently melt together the beeswax and coconut oil.

  4. Add the herb mixture stirring constantly.

  5. Continue to stir the mixture until it stops bubbling and all the liquid has evaporated.

  6. Pour mixture into a wide mouth jar.

  7. Stir gently and allow to cool before adding the vitamin E and essential oils.

Directions:

  1. Apply topically as needed to dry skin.

  2. *** Caution This mixture will stain fabrics.

Storage:

This mixture will keep nicely at room temperature for about 3 months.

Final Notes

I really love making creams myself, it really is so simple! We are swimming in the chemicals in our personal care products; making your own means that you can control exactly what goes in the formula. It also offers the opportunity to personalize it to exactly what you need! If you need help choosing the right ingredients for your specific purpose talk to your ND. Naturopathic Doctors are one of the few medical professionals with extensive training in botanical medicines.

My goal was to provide formulas that were relatively easy to source, most of the ingredients you likely have in your kitchen. I love to give medicinal recipes that are easy and don’t require a lot of searching, I call it “kitchen medicine”. If you do need some help finding some of these ingredients come but the clinic, we carry much of what you might need, especially the herbs. We would love to help you out and hear about your adventures in making topicals!

Happy creating!

#Skin #topicals #skincare #naturallyinclinedhealth #HealthyLiving #naturallyinclinedhealthclinic #drmckinnon #drambermckinnon #health #skinmedicine #recipes

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Suite 300, 8225-105 St NW

Edmonton AB

T6E 4H2

© 2023 by Dr. Amber McKinnon

 

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