To dust you shall return: winter skin edition
November 13, 2017 7:39 AM   Subscribe

It is coming on to winter where I live, and in keeping with annual tradition I am now doing my best CryptKeeper impression with the skin all over my body turning to dust.

Dry, flaky, itchy, the whole deal. Lotion would be the obvious solution, but I really hate putting on body lotion. What I would really like is a body wash that is super-moisturizing. I lot of them SAY they are super-moisturizing, but I don't feel moisturized after I step out of the shower. I am looking for recommendations for the most moisturizing in-shower products that you know of. Please help me not turn to dust this winter!
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a humidifier? I, too, am lazy when it comes to lotion, and I solved this problem by getting a big humidifier for my bedroom and a $20 travel humidifier for my office.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

from one cryptkeeper to another: I will be watching this thread, but I am pretty sure nothing that you rinse off is going to really help. I mean there's stuff like Dove wash, but in my experience it can't really stand up to cryptkeeper weather influence. When I reach my scaly breaking point, I start spraying myself with body oils (I like the body shop ones that smell good) IN the shower, right after I turn off the water, while I'm still warm and steamy. Yes, this makes my towels disgusting but my skin is grateful.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:51 AM on November 13, 2017 [9 favorites]

I wash with coconut oil when my skin gets dry and scaly in the winter. (I still use soap on my pits, feet, etc., but the coconut oil does a great job of emulsifying dirt.)

Be careful not to slip.

Also +1 for humidifiers, and I also make an effort to drink more water in the winter to combat dryness.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:58 AM on November 13, 2017

Not a direct answer to your question, but if you have a partner and they're ok with it, you can ask your partner to give you a massage with lotion occasionally after a shower. This removes the sensation of sliming yourself (if that's what you don't like about the lotioning) and replaces it with a massage.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:01 AM on November 13, 2017

What is it about lotion that you don't like? I try to use ones that are fast absorbing, lots of 'moisturising' lotions are just greasy. I'm currently using Kiehl's Creme de Corps and I'm liking it a lot.

Would you consider a "dry" oil? I really like Caudalie Divine Oil. it's a bit spendy but there are other options for argan oil at lower price points. I like to rub it into my legs and forearms right before bed, very pampering! I've also used Nars, which has a nice vanilla scent.

I also religiously use a body scrub in the shower to keep the scales at bay. I buy a bunch of Soap & Glory tubs when they're on a 3 for 2 sale (Flakes Away is my favorite scent).
posted by like_neon at 8:08 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

So this is kind of on the edge of putting lotion all over your body, but I used to use Neutrogena Body Oil at the end of my showers and it is magical stuff. Basically, you put it on while you're still damp (I used it more like body wash, but in smaller quantities and I wouldn't rinse it all off) and then let it soak in for a minute and then dry off like usual.
posted by cooker girl at 8:12 AM on November 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Hello, fellow cryptkeeper! Humidifiers really help in our crypt, as does not cranking the shower super-hot, because hot water tends to dry me out much more.

For everything else -- squalene is not really a lotion, and for the face, it's a really fucking good replacement for natural human skin oils that cryptkeepers like us lack. (Like, shit is life-changing for me, a lifelong cryptkeeper who lives in the land of central heating/steam heating on blast. So I slather it on, and then, once it's soaked in, if I'm super-dry, I seal with a layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline. It doesn't feel like lotion, more like a fancy serum I use on my face right after taking a shower and before blow-drying my hair.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:13 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know what part of lotioning is unpleasant to you, but in-shower lotion exists. It's not as good as regular outside-shower lotion though, but doesn't do a bad job.

Sugar scrubs that are essentially coarse sugar+oil+nice smells do a great job moisturizing, to the point where I don't need lotion afterwards.

There are also solid lotion bars that are sorta like giant, harder chapsticks that you rub on yourself. This link is to a random Etsy page, but there are many, many many out there. I like these for travel especially.
posted by Fig at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bodywashes won't really give you the combination of "I feel clean" and "I feel moisturized," but there's plenty of middle ground. Gentle washes like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser aren't stripping like a bar soap, and they don't leave you feeling mopped in lube. Neutrogena's Body Oil is already mentioned, and it's quite nice, but it will take a bit of getting used to in terms of how it leaves skin feeling (I quite like the stuff, especially paired with Neutrogena Rain Bath). Lush makes a shower gel called The Olive Branch that's maybe 1/6th olive oil. It's quite nice, too. My dermatologist also suggested occasionally slathering up with petroleum jelly a few minutes before showering from time to time. Since then, though, I've kind of fallen in love with the feeling of having petroleum jelly on my skin after a shower, and that, really, is much more reliable than wanting a shower product to do that kind of heavy lifting.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:20 AM on November 13, 2017

What Cooker Girl said! Body oil might sound counter-intuitive if you're grossed out by using lotion, but the application process is totally different. Keep it in your actual shower stall, and slather it on over wet skin (this is crucial) as soon as you've turned off the water, then you just towel off as usual. No slime, no left over grossness, but it does wonders for dry, crispy skin.
posted by nerdfish at 8:35 AM on November 13, 2017

I often put hair conditioner on my skin in the shower than rinse it off (this is after I've washed). It's not as moisturizing as lotion or oil, but it's better than nothing.
posted by OrangeDisk at 8:41 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can try using just strait mineral oil while you're still damp after a bath. It'll dry down quickly and is an effective humectant. Above, squaline oil sealed with aquaphor is mentioned, and that is what I do too.
posted by elke_wood at 8:54 AM on November 13, 2017

I know, I know, you said in shower, but using Cerave moisturizing cream (in the jar) has saved my life. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so good you don’t even have to use it directly after showering (although it’s best then). I have some prescription stuff but if I use the Cerave regularly I never need it.
posted by kerf at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really like any shower gel that has aloe vera as the first ingredient, I find it doesn’t strip my sensitive skin of oils. John Masters Organics and Deep Steep are both great brands.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but this chemical body exfoliater (like an gel acid peel for your body) keeps my skin from being dry in winter.
Lush makes in shower body conditioners, this king of skin solid body butter you swipe in after washing and rinse off, and this creamy body conditioner you use like a body lotion while skin is still damp and rinse off.
Oh, if you don’t exfoliate already, using a scrubby mesh cloth like this Salux cloth with shower gel is a great way to get rid of dry skin
posted by Champagne Supernova at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2017

I've got really dry skin too, particularly on my legs, and I've found 2 things are crucial, one of which seems somewhat counter-intuitive.

1) Using a body brush. If you look at directions or sites talking up its virtues, they tend to talk about "moving your lymph" or some other kind of homeopathic remedy. I don't know about that, but body brushing sure gets rid of that dry skin in a way a scrub or loofah doesn't. I tried it out after seeing the benefits of using more hardcore exfoliating tool (a foot shaver) on my super dry ashy feet, and fell for it immediately. Occasionally I even do it twice a day - once before my shower and once before bed. (You might notice a slight tingle, but if it hurts, you're doing it too hard.) I'm guessing you can't moisture your skin if all the dry flaky skin is in the way. I super seriously love it, and have soft skin for the first time in my life since I started doing it regularly. And there was a noticeable difference the first time I used it. It's helped get rid of a lot of bumps and skin pimples, and I could almost swear since I started doing it some of my scars look better, too - perhaps the brushing helps stimulate skin cell growth or something (I really don't know, and trying to research it just turns up things like "it gets rid of cellulite!" which, you know. . . B.S.)

(I think you can get the same benefits from a stronger washing implement, like a natural sponge, but I like the body brushing because I can do it without getting wet.)

2)A body wash that is more organic, without all the foaming sulfates or petroleum based ingredients. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those ingredients not only make dry skin worse but also create moisture barriers that work in the opposite way. It seems like there's some good recs here; I like and use Desert Essence Organics.

I don't like lotion much myself. I still use it - but it's easier to use it a lot more when I actually like touching my skin. And seconding kerf on the Cerave.
posted by barchan at 9:28 AM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's old fashioned, but Avon's SkinSoSoft is amazing. I use the light-scented one. Especially good is to put a handful of Epsom salts in a bowl, pour oil over it, and use as a body scrub. My skin feels wonderful afterwards. After a regular shower I use Lubriderm Advanced Moisture Therapy, and sometimes mix a little SSS oil in with it if I feel in need.
posted by Enid Lareg at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I realize this is not for everyone but it you feel like it could work in your life, try showering less often. start out trying every other day and see how that goes. washing with soap every day can really strip your skin of whatever oil it is producing. also (as mentioned) take as not-hot a shower as you can tolerate.

an occasional treatment thing that can really help: put about 1/4 cup olive oil in a hot bath. soak at your leisure, do not shower afterwards!!! just towel off (and then wash the tub so no one dies from slipping) its like a deep-moisture treatment for you whole body.
posted by supermedusa at 9:41 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


You can also get shower oils that you wash with in the shower but that are basically a moisturizing oil. Nivea makes a good one.
posted by wwax at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like the Aveeno body washes when I'm itchy. The St. Ives oatmeal scrub is a a gentle way to exfoliate. And lotion or body cream with Shea butter.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:57 AM on November 13, 2017

I use the Neutrogena body oil, decanted into a travel spray bottle. I spritz my hands and apply all over as soon as I turn the shower water off. It's the primary thing that keeps me from turning into a snake. You can use jojoba or macadamia or whatever oil(s) you want, I like the Neutrogena fragrance, but put it in the smaller plastic spray bottle because it makes it so much easier to use and harder to drop.

I do also need to exfoliate in the shower at least once a week, but that is easy to do with a poof or loofah or Beauty Skin Towel, etc etc. We use Aveeno body wash for that, my husband has some skin issues and also loathes scent so this has been the product he's found acceptable from both angles and I really like it in the dry season, though I use something much stinkier the rest of the year.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:57 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Showers, less often, cooler water. Waxes like Burt's Bees to seal in moisture or Yes to Carrots (Vitamin A) or Aveeno (Oatmeal). Cover your skin with silk to keep it warm and hydrated.
posted by effluvia at 10:24 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you try all the other things but end up coming back to having to use *some* kind of lotion, I love and adore Cetaphil because it absorbs quickly and thus doesn't make it hard for me to hold things in my hands within a couple of minutes afterwards (comb, toothbrush, other bottles, etc).
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:25 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

The trick for moisturizing body washes with me is that the "moisturizing" part rinses off really quickly. I really like to stand under the shower feeling how warm and awesome it is, but then my skin is super dry. The best result I've had was to wait until I was ready to get out of the shower, slather the stuff on, barely rinse, and turn the water off within 30 seconds. Not as good as actual lotion, but good enough that I can get by without lotioning.
posted by aimedwander at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2017

jergen's wet skin moisturizer. it REALLY WORKS. i liked it so much i made a whole post about it on facebook. you put it on right out of the shower, then pat yourself dry. i still feel moisturized at the end of the day. i like the argan oil one; it has a not too strong pleasant smell.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2017

What is it about lotion that you don't like?

1. Lotion takes forever to rub in well into moist skin.
2. I have issues with my shoulder and both my hands that makes reaching and rubbing-in somewhat painful.
3. I stay warm and moist for a ridiculously long time after a shower, even if I make the effort to towel off thoroughly, and especially if I'm running around the house or locker room trying to get ready to go somewhere. I sweat with the lotion on me and it turns to slime. So gross.

I think the moist-slime thing is actually less of a problem for me when using oil in the shower, and spraying it on would cut down on the amount of stretching. I'd need to towel off but at least that would be pulling double duty by drying me and getting the excess oil off.

I marked some best answers with things I want to try. Probably going to start with finishing my shower with Neutrogena oil in a spray bottle, and once my current body wash is gone maybe experiment with some of the other washes recommended above. I keep meaning to start body brushing as well, so now would probably be a good time to do so.

Thanks for all the advice!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Nivea shower oil.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2017

Trader Joe's jojoba oil is great. Jojoba is apparently the closest in composition to your body's natural oil, thus noncomedogenic. I just went through a patch test because I'm reacting to something in one of my body products that left me shedding like a snake. Meanwhile, I'm using jojoba oil again, and it's great. My skin isn't reacting to it at all, and it even seems to be healing faster with it. I highly recommend this!
posted by limeonaire at 2:50 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I’m just going to throw this out there, because this was my skin exactly for almost my entire adult life until a year or two ago when I stopped eating wheat. After ~20 years of thinking my skin type was extremely dry, and trying every super-moisturizing product I could, none of which entirely made the dryness go away, I suddenly discovered that my skin type is normal. I still moisturize, because I prefer it. But i don’t need those heavy-duty products anymore, and if I skipped a day or 5, my legs wouldn’t itch so bad that I scratch them red, and my face wouldn’t peel off in sheets like a creepy snake-woman.

I know this is not the advice you asked for and the mods may delete it, but I sympathize with your skin issue so much and I wish someone had told me a long time ago that dry skin can sometimes be treated internally not externally, and that it can be caused by a food (or probably, other) intolerance.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 5:18 PM on November 13, 2017

I recently had this very discussion with my new dermatologist. According to her, lotions are useless. That pastey stuff in jars is the only solution. I bought aquaphor and another brand. They are very hard to spread, and take quite awhile to absorb into the skin. I am hoping she is incompetent because I hate that stuff. I'm using Aveeno body wash and may add the Jojoba someone mentioned up thread.
posted by cairnoflore at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer to your question, but a game changer for me was talking cooler showers. I tend to take long hot showers (especially in the winter), but I read it is dehydrating so I switched it up and noticed the difference immediately.
posted by moons in june at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2017

Try a non-soap soap. I've been using goat's milk soap lately and have even used it on my eczema prone face and it has been wonderful. Olive oil soap is also nice.

And maybe you're sensitive to SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). I am and it is an irritant for me no matter what it is in -- once I stopped using that kind of shampoo the flaky hairline went away. And this stuff is in everything (it makes things foam).
posted by evening at 5:25 AM on November 20, 2017

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