Wisconsin winters can be pretty harsh. The frozen temperatures and dry air can create an exceptionally annoying amount of static that makes you afraid to pet your cat or turn off the lamp in your bedroom. Hidden below those minor annoyances is something far worse that affects people with sensitive skin (and can be dangerous for those with fragrance allergies).
I'm talking about dry skin. It hurts. It's itchy. It can flake unattractively especially around the nose when you have to blow your nose eight billion times an hour. If you have a skin condition such as eczema (which is a fancy way of saying you have chronic dry skin or your body doesn't produce enough oils naturally - but don't worry, eczema is not contagious) it becomes harder to care for. Everyone likes staying out of the hospital for silly reasons like, "I scratched so much that my damaged skin became infected with ew."
Not that anyone really wants to go to the hospital... But that's why skin care is important, and why it's really nice to have options! But when you go to a store, there are always so many lotion options to choose from and you don't always want to pick the cheapest, nicest smelling bottle you can afford. Maybe some people can buy their lotions like that, but I can't because I have eczema and a skin allergy to most fragrances. This means that I've had to try tons of lotions and if they don't work, I pass them to someone else (and they usually wonder what's wrong with the lotion that I'm giving it to them). With dry skin, my allergic reaction to fragrance is worse.
So, through trial and error, I've come up with a list of four lotions that I've found to work for me. I hope this list will make it a little less intimidating for you when you enter the lotion aisle at the store.
- Eucerin Eczema Relief body creme
- this lotion has oatmeal, ceramide-3, and licochalcone. I can't say I know what those second and third items are, but when the back of my hands were itchy and and dry, I put this stuff on and it has an effect similar to putting on cortisone cream. It relieves the itch, adds moisture to your skin, but doesn't last long before you find yourself needing to apply it again after an hour or so. Regardless of how many times you might need to reapply it, it is fragrance, dye, and steroid free. Those of us with allergies have a reason to thank Eucerin for this lotion. I know I find it very frustrating when I go to put on lotion for a bit of relief and less than a minute later my skin is all red and feels like it is on fire.
-This lotion can feel sticky on the surface of the skin for a while, but you get that with most of the eczema cremes that I've tried. The scent of this lotion can be described as clinical.
-Note that while this is a body creme labeled specifically for eczema, you should still see a doctor if you have a skin problem because you might require a medicated creme.
- St. Ives Naturally Soothing Body Lotion, Oatmeal and Shea Butter
- This lotion is hypoallergenic and designed for dry and itchy skin. It does have fragrance in it, but I found that this lotion works for me as long as I keep up with my skin care. I can typically use this in the summer time when my body manages to produce more oil on my skin and my skin is less sensitive to fragrances.
- This lotion goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly which is one thing I like about it. It smells nice which is always a plus.
- For those who prefer to support U.S. made products, this lotion is made in the U.S.A. and the bottle is made of 20% recycled material.
- Udder Butter
- I know what you're thinking... "Udder Butter? What the heck..." But if it's good enough for cow nipples, why not try it out? I used it for a very long time and at first I had the same hesitations, but it was developed originally to keep cow nipples from becoming cracked, irritated, and infected from frequent milking. People all over the world now use it for dry skin. It can come with fragrance or unscented (unscented is a little more expensive).
- This lotion goes on smoothly, but has a moderate drying time. It won't discolor your skin or be overly greasy or sticky.
- Guess what, U.S.A. supporters (and cows)? This lotion is made in the U.S.A.! So if you've got U.S.A. nipples that believe in supporting American products, and you aren't silly enough to fall into the mind-trap that believes animal products and human products must remain separate, then this is the lotion for you. (And once you try it, you will be satisfied, even if you don't like advertising the name.)
- Hand-made lotion by (YOU)
- All natural, 100% made in the (insert your country)
- This lotion requires very minimal effort on your part, but clean up from the project can be tedious.
- 1 part* cocoa butter**
- 1 part shea butter**
- 1 drop Vitamin E oil (add more vitamin E if you are making more than 6 ounces but don't add too many drops because too much will prevent the butters from solidifying)
* a part refers to a ratio. So if a recipe calls for 2 parts total and you use 1 ounce of butter, then your next part would be 1 ounce.
**can be replaced with mango butter, avocado butter, coffee butter, or any kind of lotion making butter (these butters are not the same as the kind you put on toast)
Use a double boiler to melt your parts of butters until they are fully liquid. Add your vitamin E and stir it up. The Vitamin E adds a nice scent to compliment the butter smells, and also adds additional moisturizing power. Once stirred in, pour the mixture into molds of your choice and let it cool and harden into soap-bar like bricks. Pop the bricks out of the molds and store in air-tight baggies when not in use. Give extras to friends and family, or sell them if your jurisdiction allows it.
To use, hold bar in hand and let your body heat melt it as you rub on your skin.
- For purchasing lotion making supplies, visit your local crafting store or visit websites like Bramble Berry.
Do you agree with this? How about disagree? Did you find something here interesting? Have you found different lotion that works? Why not tell me about it in the comments! I'd love to hear different viewpoints.