Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lotions and Creams

I've had the driest skin since day 1 and thus have been slathered in lotion my whole life. My Mom put Keri lotion on me when I was small and used Alpha Keri in my bath, but now of course I have a whole arsenal of creams in my bath cabinet. I remember visiting a friend in Vienna for Christmas while I was in college; he was watching me unpack and laughed as I pulled six, seven, eight bottles of various lotions and potions out of my suitcase. (Since the new TSA regulations came out, I can never fly carry-on only because my ointments would never fit in a quart size baggie [Do we still have to do this??].) Then, when I was first married, my poor oily-skinned husband was horrified when I'd come to bed with my face covered in petroleum jelly.

Now, the upside to dry skin is that I've never suffered from acne, but in daily life it's a pain. I often wonder if I would have killed myself had I lived in the Dark Ages where my only moisturizing option would have been unrefined lanolin or whale blubber or whatever they used back then. For instance, I MUST apply lotion to my hands after every washing. I can't just leap out of the shower, dry off and pull on clothes; if I don't moisturize I become a prune within minutes. (I've given up camping...aside from the hard ground as a bed, bathing is just way too inconvenient.)

Anyway, since we're in the absolute depths of winter here on the Prairie and I am clearly an expert on the subject, I thought I'd share a few tried-and-true products for my fellow dry skin sufferers out there. Some of these are not for the fainthearted! I no longer use straight petroleum jelly on my face but at least one of the following products are pretty darn close. So, let's start with a good body lotion.

As you might expect, I've tried a good number of body lotions, including the famous Kiehl's Creme de Corps, but my favorite is Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Lotion. It also comes in a cream, which is probably even richer, but I opt for the lotion because I like having a bottle dispenser. (The cream comes in a tube.) Not only is this moisturizing, but the alpha hydroxy helps eliminate flaky skin. And, it's available at any drugstore.

Before I get out of the bath, I like to apply Neutrogena Sesame Body Oil. If I do this while my skin is still damp and then use the Eucerin afterwards, my skin seems to hold the moisture longer. Plus, it feels nice. A cheaper but as effective option is generic baby oil (mineral oil).

I use a 30 SPF on my face all year round. Right now I have Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Sunscreen. It's okay, but when I've finished I'm going back to another drugstore favorite, Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Moisturizer. I think it moisturizes better than the Lancome and it's certainly cheaper!

During the winter, I love using Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream under my 30 SPF moisturizer. I think you can only love this product if your skin is normal or dry: it's thick and greasy which I adore, but my husband would break out just looking at it on me. Eight Hour Cream is basically a more finely textured petroleum jelly (in fact it's main ingredient is Petrolatum), but it makes my winter skin really happy.

The best eye cream I've ever used is Bobbi Brown's Extra Eye Repair Cream. Extraordinarily moisturizing, lovely texture and application. It is thick--you need to dab it gently into the skin under your eye and let it soak it. I don't think this is a product that will help under-eye circles, but its moisture and line-diminishing qualities are remarkable. And my concealer flows nicely over top. Unfortunately, it costs $65.

I just discovered this wonderful cream for night, although it's not new: Clinique Repairwear Intensive Night Cream: Very Dry Skin Formula. I think the name says it all. Sephora stocks it (of course). I use my Bobbi Brown eye cream at night, too.

For lips and general dry skin patches, you must have a tube of Aquaphor Healing Ointment nearby.

For cuticles (hands & feet, as well as cracked heels), I like Solar Oil. You can find it at Ulta and CVS, among other places.

I have an expensive hand cream option and a cheap one. I keep the cheap one in my drawer in my office and in my purse; I use the expensive cream before I go to bed.
Any reader recommendations? I have my favorites but I love to try new products!