Saturday, October 10, 2015

Notions on Lotions and Potions

I. hate. lotion.

I hate the greasy, slimy, nasty feeling of lotions on my skin. I hate the smells, the itches, the sheens they create. I hate buying them, hoping that I will magically stumble on The One, the miracle lotion that I don't hate, but then reality crashes down and I am, yet again, a disappointed, greasy, slimy, nasty-feeling person. I even tried making my own homemade potion out of shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter, but it was horrible and greasy.

My dermatologist, however, doesn't seem to care. I went to visit him recently for a minor skin condition on an arm, and he proceeded with a full exam (my arm is fine). He started asking questions about so-called dry patches, itchiness, and redness. He stared at my face and hands with seriousness. He pointed to my thumbs like they were diseased, "You have eczema!"

"I have a habit, not eczema." I informed him. "I pick at my cuticles, always have. What you see is not eczema, just me being me."

He stared at me again, slowly repeating himself, "You have eczema. On your face. On your hands. On your elbows. All over."

Say what? "I have oily skin, not dry skin. I use products to help me control my skin, to get rid of the build-up, to stop being so oily. I use foaming hand soap made from Dawn and water: it's so gentle, they use it on animals after oil spills!"

My dermatologist looked horrified. The nurse, also in the room, stifled laughter. I was indignant. It turns out I do have mild eczema, thus the source of my cuticle picking.

We discussed my super-sensitive skin, my pale complexion, my abundant freckles and red hair. And then the dermatologist handed me a list of lotions and potions that were going to "fix" me. Ha, right, not happening.

He admonished me again for my choice of hand soap, "if it strips baked-on lasagna out of a pan, what do you think it is doing to your hands?!" The nurse handed me a bag of free samples. I was sent on my way to go learn about the world of lotions with one important note: "use them."


When I got home, I emptied the bag of freebies. Vanicream, Cetaphil, CeraVe. Weirdest names I'd ever heard. The creams and goopy goos had no smells, no colors, nothing to help me resist them at first sight. I reluctantly squirted a bit onto the back of my hand and smeared it in. It disappeared instantly.

Hold. The. Phone. This isn't the usual tube of ick. This... this stuff is nice. I rubbed a bit more on my arm. It also disappeared quickly without any trace of smell, color, or grease. I tried out some of the other products on my arms and legs. I used creams and lotions. I was a big creamy, lotion-y mess. Except I wasn't! I wasn't a mess! I was hydrated but not greasy!


Long story short, I am now the proud owner of CeraVe lotion and cream. I use it every day. Sometimes twice a day. I wear it under makeup. I put it on after shaving. I don't mind it at all!

The only caveat right now is that regular CeraVe contains parabens. Once I use up the stuff I have, I'll switch to the CeraVe Baby formula as it is paraben-free. Vanicream is paraben-free as well.

What is your favorite lotion or skin potion?

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