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Posts Tagged ‘Shea butter’

Last week I woke up  with bright red splotches on my cheeks and leathery dry patches under my eyes.   I tried using my usual mixture of  a daily  moisturizer mixed with a dab of anti-inflammatory steroid.  No change.  Thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction I mixed some oatmeal in cool water and dabbed the mixture on  my face.   This usually soothes anything, but this time  my skin seemed  to get worse.

I was on my way to call Dr Marmur when I glanced at the hygrometer ( it measures  humidity)  on my dresser and solved the mystery of my mutant skin.  The humidity in my apatment was a surprising 28%.  The unseasonable snow storm  that whipped through the tri-state area had brought cold windy weather that lowered natural humidity.  For healthy skin and airways, indoor humidity should be between 40-50%.  Too high and it  can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites.   Too high will lead to dry skin and respiratory symptoms like reddend dry skin,  sore throat and nose bleeds.

My simple, non-greasy moisturizers were   just  not getting the job done.  My skin was  raw and dry because of low  humidity in the air.  I stopped using all retinoids, vitamin C, exfoliating brushes and brought out the big guns– a jar of shea butter.  After I washed my face at bedtime with Cetaphil and while still damp, I applied a thick layer of shea butter.  I kept it on for 30 minutes, then rinsed  it off. Next morning my skin had returned to normal.  I’m using this  30 minute intensive  ( developed by Dr Marmur) for a few  days  to  make sure  my skin stays hydrated.

The weather soon warmed  up, but real winter is just weeks away.  I’m going to keep my shea butter nearby, ready for the next blizzard of the century.

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Question:  Help!  I’ve got a painful sunburn.

Answer:   Despite our best intentions, sunburns  happen.  Its all to easy to forget to reapply  sunscreen  during the day and by the time  the sun goes down,  you’re red and achy.  To deal with the sunburn I suggest   assembling a little sunburn emergency kit in advance.  You need just five affordable and easy to find items:

1.  Aspirin

2.  A real live Aloe Vera plant

3.  A  jar of Shea butter

4. A box of  Quacker’s Oatmeal

5.  Green tea bags

Here’s the drill:   When you realize that you’re fried, take two aspirin.  This will reduce  the inflammation which is  the root of the pain and damge  to your skin.  Then fill a tub with lukewarm water and swish  a handful of oatmeal into the water.  Get in and soak for 20 minutes.  Oatmeal is one of the best  anti-inflammatory remedies we have and the water will draw out some of the heat.  Out of the tub, dry off gently and smooth on  some shea butter.  In the morning, cut open a leaf of  Aloe plant and spread the fresh gel onto your skin.  Be careful with commercial Aloe gels which may contain alcohol that can irritate your skin and increse dyhydration.

During the day make sure to eat plenty of fruit and drink water.  Cold water absorbs better than warm water and iced green tea will also provide much needed anti-oxidants to counteract the free radical storm of a sunburn.  To avoid further irritation use a 30-50SPF sunscreen  for sensitive skin.  These are physical sunscreens with zinc oxides rather  than chemical  protection which may be irritating to tender burned skin. If you’re going  outside, wear a broad brimmed hat for extra protection.

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