Spring is officially here, but the change in season doesn’t always translate to a change in climate. It is no secret that the cold outside air, brisk winds, and artificial indoor heat all contribute to skin problems. This can be particularly troubling for nurses who spend their workdays indoors. The exposure to various germs and the consistent washing of the hands does not help improve winter skin conditions, which are not only unsightly, they can become painful if left untreated.
What Does Dry Skin Look Like?
Rough or flaking skin is the most obvious sign that it is lacking moisture and natural oils. It could itch, or even become cracked in more severe cases. When you have cracks or breaks in the skin or lips, you are leaving yourself open to developing an infection. This is especially troubling for nurses who come into contact with bacteria and viruses during their workday. If you note red or tender spots on your skin or lips, chances are you are beginning to develop an infection. So how do we fight it?
Dry Skin Tips That All Nurses Can Appreciate
While there is a number of moisturizers, creams and balms available to help prevent and treat dry skin, there are also home remedies that are just as effective. They also have the added benefit of being less expensive than manufactured products. Whether you are working to prevent dry skin and lips, or in need of a quick remedy, any one of these tips should do the trick:
- The Hand Soak – After your next nursing shift, soak your hands for a few minutes in warm oil. Once the pores have opened up, apply a thin film of olive oil before wrapping your hands in plastic wrap and slipping on a pair of gloves. Your natural body heat will work at helping the oil penetrate the skin, softening it and providing the moisture your hands crave.
- The Sweet Solution to Chapped Lips – The skin on your lips is especially delicate and prone to drying out in reaction to extreme temperature changes and dry heat. A mixture of honey, coconut oil, and sugar makes a great natural exfoliate for the lips, removing dry cells and leaving behind healthy skin. A thin layer of Vaseline will then give your lips the protection they need to defend the skin against the harsh elements.
- Get Rid of the Itch – One of the most annoying side effects of dry skin is the itch that comes with it. This is a result of not first getting rid of the dry, dead skin cells before layering on moisturizer. Coconut oil mixed with brown sugar makes a natural exfoliator that can be applied as you shower. Once you have effectively sloughed your arms, legs, and stomach of those dead skin cells, use coconut oil as a moisturizer to restore the skin and eliminate that itchy feeling.
- Treating Infected Skin – If you are already at that point where the skin has developed red patches or the skin has become inflamed, you will need to apply direct treatment in order to prevent any infection from spreading. Take a quarter cup of plain oatmeal and add a teaspoon each of honey and olive oil. This will create a paste that can be applied directly onto the inflamed patch of skin. Let this skit for five to ten minutes at a time before rinsing it off in order for the skin to heal properly.
Natural Dry Hair Treatments For Nurses
Winter-like weather can do a number on your hair too. Dry, damaged hair is a natural result of your locks being stripped of its natural moisturizers. This can lead to hair breakage and even loss if you don’t keep replenishing your hair. Pure coconut oil applied directly to the hair and scalp is one way that you combat dry winter hair. Allow it to sit for up to one hour with your hair wrapped inside of a towel for best results.
If your hair has worsened to the point where you have developed cracked or split ends, you may need a more aggressive home treatment. A hair mask of egg whites and avocado contains essential nutrients that will help to restore your hair’s luster. Leave it on your hair for up to 15 minutes and you will soon see a positive change in your hair’s appearance. Just be sure to rinse your hair out thoroughly afterwards so that no food particles are accidentally left behind.
Nurses are not immune to the common skin problems that people face in the winter. These home remedies provide you with a natural solution to keeping your skin soft and healthy, and your hair shiny and buoyant. Don’t let your dedication to patient care deter you from taking care of your own skin, lip and hair issues.