Whether you're struggling with a chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, battling seasonal allergies which trigger irritation, or dealing with temporary inflammation due to excess sun exposure, inflamed skin can be extremely uncomfortable and distressing.
Before slathering on petroleum based moisturising creams, it's important to note that these often contain ingredients that can further block pores and stop the skin from breathing, thereby adding to the problem.
So, when skin feels dry, flaky and generally uncomfortable, where can we turn for some much needed relief?
Naturally derived from the plant of the same name, aloe vera gel comes from inside the leaves of this small, stubby shrub. It's been revered for many years as a natural, herbal remedy for everything from skin burns and cold sores to soothing minor cuts and abrasions.
If you own an aloe plant at home, simply snap open one of the leaves and squeeze out the gel from the inside. Apply the gel to the affected skin two or three times a day.
Aloe vera can also be bought in tubes from your local health store. Shop purchased gels often contain additional ingredients, so double check you're not allergic to anything else they contain.
Opting for a product like this one with over 39,000 top reviews on Amazon ensures that what you're getting is pure aloe vera gel, without a long list of bulking ingredients.
When it comes to soothing chronic skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, natural oatmeal creates a wonderfully soothing, milky bath soak. Whether you make your own Oatmeal Bath Bags as per my recipe, or buy colloidal oatmeal to add to the tub, this simple ingredient can really help to soothe itchy and irritated skin.
Oatmeal features anti-inflammatory and moisture retaining properties, which helps to calm skin and keep it hydrated. It has also been shown to reduce the rate of histamine release in our skin cells, ideal if you're dealing with allergies.
Simply add to warm water and soak for 15 - 20 minutes. Skin will feel smooth and softened. Always pat dry irritated skin gently with a soft, cotton towel.
Skin Soothing Spray
If you're looking for an easy-to-apply option to relieve the frustrating feeling of irritated skin, my Skin Soothing Spray is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. A one hundred percent natural blend of ballon, sunflower and blackcurrant oils, which not only help soothe itchy and irritated skin, they simultaneously blocks airborne irritants.
My Skin Soothing Spray is specifically formulated to help you get to get on with your day, without the constant distraction of aggravated skin. If you struggle to sleep at night, apply before going to bed to help prevent nighttime itching.
We're often told that drinking more water can help keep our skin naturally hydrated. It seems like such a simple solution doesn't it, but many of us are still guilty of falling short on our recommended daily intake. Water helps skin maintain its elasticity, it supports the body in expelling toxins and can increase blood flow.
Water consumption can be more difficult in winter, when ice cold hydration somehow doesn't seem as appealing! This is where herbal teas can come in really useful. Not only do they ensure we're adequately hydrated, certain herbal teas include ingredients such as chamomile, which can even boost skin beneficial properties when it comes to your hydration regime.
On average we should try to drink between two to three litres of water per day. It might sound like a lot and have you running for the loo at first! But your body soon begins to get used to your healthy intake and your skin will love you for it! Remember in warm climates and whilst exercising you might need to drink even more to replenish lost water. Be careful not to overdo it, otherwise salts and sugars can fall out of sync.
Avocado Face Mask
The simple avocado packs a powerful punch when it comes to skin benefits! If you love the taste of it mashed up on sourdough, that's a great way to get a healthy intake of essential omegas, plus a good dose of Vitamins A and E, both of which are essential for skin.
Applying avocado to the skin is an equally wonderful way to soothe irritation, minimising breakouts and improving elasticity. The anti-oxidants in this natural mask can help fight dark spots. It cleanses wonderfully, penetrating deeply into pores, leaving skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.
My favourite way to make this mask is simply by pureeing (or mashing if you don't have a blender) 1 avocado with a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply to the face, lie back and relax for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
I love the feeling of coconut oil on my skin. It doesn't suit everyone, so it's wise to patch test a small area to check how your skin responds. Coconut oil is antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic, which makes it a fantastic option for treating fungal skin complaints or skin that's prone to infection. Usually sold solid in jars, coconut oil melts at 24C, so by warming some in the palm of your hand it should massage in to your skin in no time. I like to apply it before bed to allow it to fully absorb overnight.
Coconut oil can now be purchased at most UK supermarkets - you'll find it beside the olive oils. Most brands are labelled as 'raw' or 'organic'. When it comes to ethical considerations, Lucy Bee Fair-trade Coconut Oil wins hands down. Sold online at Amazon.
If your skin does not respond well to coconut oil, you might like to try one of the following;
- Argan Oil: Boosts elasticity, hydrates skin, prevents dry and flaky skin
- Apricot Seed Oil: Nourishes skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, lines and blemishes
- Avocado Oil: Great for nourishing dry skin, eczema and psoriasis
- Rosehip Oil: Ideal for acne scars and stretch marks
When it comes to choosing where to purchase essential oils, I'd recommend a trusted local health store or a brand with lots of positive recommendations on Amazon.