It’s recommended you take showers and baths with warm to hot water rather than with scalding-hot. Really hot water isn’t good for your biggest organ’s natural balance of moisture – natural oils, fats, and proteins keeping skin healthy, will get depleted with the likelihood of dry skin and even skin disorders like rashes occurring.
Of course, what you cleanse your body with is also key. Avoid harsh soaps and opt for natural ones – those with moisturizing elements (like coconut oil or shea butter) and/or with ingredients full of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Many use African Black Soap for its gentle cleansing. According to BlackDoctor.org, “African Black Soap (ABS), is made from the ash of locally harvested plants and barks like plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, and shea tree bark. Black soap is traditionally made in West Africa, typically Ghana…varieties actually made in Africa tend to be pure [authentic kind looks brown], while soaps made in Europe or the U.S. tend to have added artificial ingredients.” These added artificial ingredients can be drying to your skin, so be sure to check your source carefully.
Some of the benefits of exfoliating are: reduction of sun damage and acne, skin tone being more even and the fading of old scars. Those containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are effective in healing sun-damaged/ hyper-pigmented skin. However, don’t over-exfoliate. Once every 7-10 days is adequate. Sugar and sea salts can also be used in natural masques. Sugar as a topical humectant, helps skin hold onto moisture and is a natural source of glycolic acid, which boosts firmness.
Shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter blended with oil (like jojoba or coconut), is gentle and removes dead skin build-up well. Natural sugar and sea salt can exfoliate skin without being overly invasive and aggressive.
As women of color, we often experience grayness or an ‘ashy’ tone to our skin – especially in dry, cold climates. Clothing, hot showering and use of too-harsh soaps are also drying. It is generally more difficult to keep the feet and hands moisturized because there are fewer oil glands.
Retain moisture and softness, by slathering on cream, lotion, oil or butter immediately after drying after bathing. Opt for natural creams and lotions with non-comedogenic ingredients which soothe like chamomile, oatmeal and aloe.
Moisturizing with body butters boosts your skin’s natural sebaceous moisture and helps glands to repair dry skin. If we have to name names, it’s got to be Shea butter. Derived from Africa, Shea or Karite butter comes from the seeds of fruit resembling almonds, of Shea trees of West Africa. This healthy butter, excellent for moisturizing and fighting ashiness, is also high in fatty acids, Vitamins A, E and F, with some UV protection. Cocoa and mango butters are also renowned for lessening the appearance of stretch marks as well as their rejuvenating and anti-aging properties.
Want to achieve glossy skin like megastar Rihanna? Use body oils which work for your skin beyond moisturizing and hydrating; they have many beneficial properties:
- jojoba oil easily absorbed with similarities to sebum
- coconut oil, rich in lauric acid and vitamins E and K is easily absorbed, while moisturizing deeply and thoroughly
- argan oil for reducing the appearance of fine lines
- rose-hip oil, rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, plus Vitamin C and retinoid acid (good for wrinkles and brightening skin)
- hemp seed oil, said to improve elasticity, and effective in alleviating eczema and psoriasis
Hands & Nails: Use body oil every time you wash your hands to prevent chapping and dry, peeling nails.
Weather can be very damaging to skin – the organ designed to protect our body. Cold conditions dry it out, causing the destruction of natural elements that hydrate skin, leaving behind an ashy appearance. The sun can also cause harm, sometime irreversibly. So, having healthy skin includes sunscreen. The moisturizing qualities of body butters prevent dryness and protect against harsh sun rays. Mango is especially known for its effective protection against UV radiation.
5. Lifestyle, Nutrition & Hydration
If you follow Nyraju regularly, you’ll realize how often this is emphasized. As important as it is to use the right things topically, it will never be as effective unless it’s holistically linked with plenty of water, a healthy diet and lifestyle. Water offers a mini detox for your skin as well as your body. It can help to plump up your skin giving it a nice glow. Water increases hydration which improves the body’s assimilation of food, vitamins and nutrients as well as improving waste elimination. Eat a balanced diet so that skin can be nourished and heal more quickly. You also get plenty of rest and exercise for reducing stress, toning and detoxifying through sweat.
With your 5 essentials in treating your body well, take care of it and revel in the difference.
As always …
Dedicated To Your Beauty,