Take it off! It burns us, it does!
April 18, 2006 2:47 PM   Subscribe

I've been cursed with very dry skin.

If I don't apply moisturizing cream immediately after showering the texture of my skin starts to approach that of paper. During cold and windy weather it even tends to flake off, as if it were sunburnt.

Currently, I'm using Nivea Showering Oil, Nivea Creme for my face and Nivea Body Moisturiser for the rest of my body. I wonder if there are products that would be more effective than the ones I use now. Additionally, I'd appreciate any other suggestions on how to minimize the discomfort dry skin entails.

Also, I ocassionally experience an extremely unpleasant sensation in the skin all over my body, and I think this might be related to its dryness in general. The sensation often occurs when my body is overheating. For example: it's very cold outside, I'm dressed nice and warm, but after entering a building I need to take the stairs to floor eight. At a given moment I get a crawling, burning, itchy feeling all over my body that is worse than pain. It is truly maddening; it takes immense willpower to stay calm in such a situation. Oddly enough there are no other symptoms, except for the feeling itself, and no other effects after it has passed. Does anyone know what this is, and how it can be avoided?
posted by koenie to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a mild case of ichthyosis, and what really works on my body is cetaphil, right after I shower and then a light coat before I sleep. Also use the cetaphil cleanser, or some other soap free cleanser to wash. Avoid anything that has sodium lauryl sulfate in it. This book has helped me a lot with my own dry skin problem.
Also, I once tried Nivea and it gave me a rash. I have a lot of sensitivities to fragrance. Maybe your sudden itchiness is related to fragrance in your moisturizer, or in your laundry soap. I'd recommend switching to fragrance free laundry soap and cutting out fabric softener altogether. Good luck!
posted by Sara Anne at 3:05 PM on April 18, 2006


Cheap wonderful solution.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Works wonders.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 3:10 PM on April 18, 2006


I've got fairly dry skin, and I've found that non-petroleum-based lotions seem to work best. I'm particularly keen on Papaya Moisturizing Lotion from Nature's Gate. Maybe you should try this one.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 3:11 PM on April 18, 2006


Have you seen a dermatologist?
posted by docpops at 3:46 PM on April 18, 2006


Have you seen a dermatologist?

Yes, quite a while ago. She advised me to bathe with oil and to make sure the water was not too hot. That was about it though.
posted by koenie at 3:59 PM on April 18, 2006


I've got very dry, sensitive, skin. Therefore, I would suggest that you take tepid showers (hot/warm water dehydrates skin) and gently cleanse yourself with Aveeno Moisturizing Body Wash by lightly scrubbing with a mesh body sponge. Don't use a wash cloth, it will irrate your skin. Afterwords, don't towel dry, just apply Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion and let your skin air dry.
posted by lola at 4:04 PM on April 18, 2006


I second the Cetaphil, and also use Neosporin to soften up dry spots like my elbows.
posted by gilsonal at 4:14 PM on April 18, 2006


I use the Aveeno Shower & Bath Oil before I towel off; that eliminates the need for me to keep going back to the lotion bottle three or four times after my shower.
posted by stefanie at 5:23 PM on April 18, 2006


I found Aqua Glycolic (Merz Pharmaceuticals) to be a godsend. It's got a higher concentration of AHA than most moisturizers, and as such is sold in the annoying "order from the pharmacist but no prescription needed" method in the US. It's easier to order it directly from Merz.

Cetaphil didn't do much for me (though based on the endorsement above, I may give it another try!) Nivea irritated my skin as well.

The itching-crawling thing happens to me to, though it seems to be tied not only to my dry skin but how well my notoriously poor circulation is holding up.
posted by desuetude at 6:19 PM on April 18, 2006


I've got me some dry skin also. I've found what works best is to use Curel Extreme Care Moisture Therapy Lotion on my arms and legs (and other spots, as required), right after I shower. For my face, I use a cleanser in the shower, a toner right after, and then a moisturizer about 5 minutes after that. I'm not sure why, exactly, but my skin gets all dry and uncomfortable if I skip the toner stage, so you might try it.

As for your crawly itching burning feeling: I also have that! I get it when I step into a really hot shower, or in any situation where a rapid temperature change occurs. I have no solution, though, except offering you the mental security of knowing that you aren't the only one.
posted by Drunken_munky at 6:20 PM on April 18, 2006


Slather yourself with vaseline.

Medications may cause this, as well as probably some thyroid dysfunction.
posted by gramcracker at 6:21 PM on April 18, 2006


As for your crawly itching burning feeling: I also have that! I get it when I step into a really hot shower, or in any situation where a rapid temperature change occurs. I have no solution, though, except offering you the mental security of knowing that you aren't the only one.

Great, we're not alone :) Do you also experience it when the temperature changes from hot to cold?
posted by koenie at 6:30 PM on April 18, 2006


I have super dry skin, and I use Jergen's Ultra Healing Lotion after every shower. It works as well as anything I've ever tried.

Some other tips: only use soap in your armpits, private parts, and feets. The rest of you doesn't need soap (unless you're covered in dirt or something), and even the gentlest soap dries out your skin. You can also slather your hands and feet with lotion and cover up with thin gloves and socks to sleep -- they'll seal in the moisture, and you'll wake up with super-moisturized hands and feet.
posted by equipoise at 6:41 PM on April 18, 2006


We should form a club. It would be callled club Awesome. I would have to be President, though.

But no, I don't get it if I shift from hot to cold. When that happens, I have a short bout of the sniffles, along with a fit of uncontrollable sneezing. Ever sprint on a hot day into a heavily air conditioned lecture hall full of people? It's a bad scene.
posted by Drunken_munky at 6:46 PM on April 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Medications may cause this, as well as probably some thyroid dysfunction.

I'm not taking any medications at the moment; I've had dry skin for as long as I can remember. Still, I do have a few matches on the list of hypothyroidism symptoms...

Slather yourself with vaseline.

Great, I'm going to try that. I've heard other people recommend it as one of the cheapest and best moisturizers available.

Some other tips: only use soap in your armpits, private parts, and feets.

I try to avoid soap altogether, using oil when I can. I have yet to test Bighappyfunhouse's olive oil suggestion though.
posted by koenie at 6:51 PM on April 18, 2006


I have very dry skin as well, it's terrible in winter and mostly tolerable in warmer months - My favorite potions are the Aveeno and Curel - both absorb well and protect without being greasy. I'd try and get the smaller travel sizes of a bunch of different ones to experiment with. What works for you might not work for us.

For really bad spots that need a little extra TLC, I use Bag Balm. Yes, it's for livestock (keeps cow's udders from cracking ;-). My sister-in-law's pediatrician recommended it - kind of like uber-vaseline with lanolin. Super thick, so I wouldn't use it on my face, but when things like my feet and/or hands get really dry and cracked I'll slather it on before bed and leave it on overnight (with socks and gloves). The difference in the morning is amazing.

Yep, I'm quite a sight sometimes...
posted by jalexei at 6:54 PM on April 18, 2006


We should form a club. It would be callled club Awesome. would have to be President, though.

Make that A.W.E.S.O.M.E. And I would be first tiger primate in command.

But no, I don't get it if I shift from hot to cold. When that happens, I have a short bout of the sniffles, along with a fit of uncontrollable sneezing. Ever sprint on a hot day into a heavily air conditioned lecture hall full of people? It's a bad scene.

Wow, our symptoms match up completely.
posted by koenie at 6:57 PM on April 18, 2006


Makeup Alley is always good for comparing products. Here's their list of body lotions and creams, ordered by number of reviews (you do have to sign up for a free account to view the product reviews). Some people there are pretty knowledgeable so it might not hurt to ask for advice on the skin board.
posted by granted at 7:07 PM on April 18, 2006


Some people have said to make sure you're drinking plenty of water. Others say drinking water doesn't help. I can't offer any personal experience on this because I've never paid attention to how much H20 I get, and I only know that it's never enough.

In the winter try using a humidifier. Or, if you don't like humidifiers: put out a bunch of jars/tubs/whatever of water which will add more moisture to the air.

I'm fourthing Cetaphil. However, I absolutely adore Avon's Moisture Therapy Hand Cream. It's thicker and more emollient than Cetaphil. I get the tubes but they come in tubs of less moisturizing body lotion, too. It's hand cream but I use it as a body lotion sometimes. I wouldn't use the hand cream on my face, though. Cetaphil is great for the face. Also, a friend of mine breaks open a caplet of Vitamin E and uses it on her face every night.

Oh, and I think trying a fragrance free laundry detergent is a great idea, too. A note: I've had no luck with Arm & Hammer's Free version.

Good luck with this.
posted by moonshine at 7:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Also, if you're having problems with itchiness, try a lotion called Sarina. It's kind of pricey, but it really works. My dermatologist told me to get some after I had an allergic reaction and broke out in hives. It's wonderful at "numbing" the itchiness.
posted by moonshine at 7:25 PM on April 18, 2006


Try taking vitamin E.
posted by bh at 7:29 PM on April 18, 2006


If you're going cheap and cheerful, you'll have better longterm results from a vegetable oil like olive oil than from a petroleum-based product like Vaseline. Long term mineral oil use can actually make dry skin even drier.
posted by flabdablet at 7:29 PM on April 18, 2006


I have the same problem, and the best thing I've found so far is St. Ives collagen elastin lotion as soon as I get out of the shower, and then Curel super extreme formula (or whatever it's called - the most "intensive" one you can find) shortly thereafter. I could be wrong, but it seems like the collagen-elastiny stuff in the St. Ives helps in a way that other lotions don't.
posted by flod logic at 7:58 PM on April 18, 2006


Have you talked to any medical professionals to see if this might be something nutritional? Various deficiencies in B vitamins and in essential fatty acids can cause dry, sensitive or flaky skin.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:06 PM on April 18, 2006


Aveeno 24 hour with the menthol in it is really good at keeping you hydrated and calming the skin. I use the version in the tub as opposed to the bottle.

I see a fancy-pants dermatologist, and when I had a chemical burn healing on my arm (it was pretty light), I used Neutrogena's Norweigian Formula Hand Cream all over my arms. My derm was pleased with this, and it did well in healing the burn.
posted by oflinkey at 8:07 PM on April 18, 2006


i have very dry skin and sometimes eczema. i use Moisturel twice a day.
posted by brandz at 8:19 PM on April 18, 2006


Not only do I have dry skin but I have a reaction to most all the lotions listed here. I find that eating things like avocados, flax oil, fish oil (and actual fish) and olive oil help the most. The only skin treatments I use are clique conditioner (the yellow tuff) cocoa butter (Ponds or the pure stuff) and Bag Balm. I mix pure Vitamin E oil in with the conditioner.
posted by fshgrl at 8:20 PM on April 18, 2006


I use the Neutrogena hand cream -- the thick stuff, not watery lotions or generic substitutes. It's the only thing that works on my dry skin.
posted by mothershock at 8:26 PM on April 18, 2006


Vaseline is the best thing for extremely dry skin - during the winter, i coat my legs with it after the shower. If you vaseline-yerself-up before you go to bed, thats very helpful too, since your body does a lot of its 'healing' while you sleep. Keep your skin nice and moisturized while you sleep, and the cracks and lizardiness will improve a lot faster than if you just moisturize in the morning.

Also, the Body Shop's hemp moisturizer, the one in the metal tube, is great too. (But you might not like the smell, to be honest. But very effective!)
posted by Kololo at 10:04 PM on April 18, 2006


At a given moment I get a crawling, burning, itchy feeling all over my body that is worse than pain. It is truly maddening; it takes immense willpower to stay calm in such a situation.

I used to get this on my forehead during high school—weirdly, it occurred when I would laugh really hard. So I'd be laughing like crazy, and then suddenly cry out with itchy forehead pain, and then laugh even harder when my friends made fun of me for it...etc. Must have been something to do with the sudden temperature change stemming from a rush of blood to the head.

I eventually figured out that this mainly occurred when I already had dry skin, and started using moisturizer under my makeup every day. I've only had it occur once or twice since then.
posted by limeonaire at 11:37 PM on April 18, 2006


I have very dry skin too. Olive oil has helped me, but even better is argan oil if you can find it.

Also, I have to keep switching moisturizers because my skin seems to develop a resistance if I use the same one over and over again. At the moment I like the Body Shop's cocoa butter cream, and I don't hesitate to use stuff that's meant for the body on my face - I never use anything that's very highly perfumed, anyway.
posted by hazyjane at 12:39 AM on April 19, 2006


My brother was a swimmer back in the day, and the chlorine in the water dried the skin on the soles of his feet and on his fingers so badly that it was cracked and tight and extremely painful.

His doctors recommended applications of Eucerin to help with this problem.

Also, if you can, sleep with socks/cotton gloves on to trap the moisturizer overnight, no matter what one you use.
posted by anjamu at 2:43 AM on April 19, 2006


Instad of soap or oatmeal-based body washes (both of which cause my skin to freak out like crazy), I'm a big fan of just using oatmeal. Buy a thing of the one-minute kind (it works better), put it in the shower in a cup or bowl or something, and just use a handful each time. Perfection. (Though it can cause people to think you're a little weird.)

For creme, when my eczema was at its worst, I just used straight shea butter. I could apply it twice a day and be fine the whole time. You can find it on the internet usually, from wholesale places. I've rarely seen it in stores.
posted by dame at 6:12 AM on April 19, 2006


I noticed someone had already mentioned vitamin B deficiency. If you go to the other end, too much vitamin A is a major cause of dry itchy skin. If you are the kind that takes extra vitamins (and it is not hard to OD on A) or drinks a couple of carrot juices a day, you might consider this as a possible source. Not saying you have to stop with the vitamin regimen, just keep the A below, let's say, 5x the daily requirement.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:22 AM on April 19, 2006


Horribly dry skin here too.

Have you tried Aquaphor? Its the heaviest dutiest creme that I've found, and I've tried them all, including all of the ones mentioned in this thread. Aquaphor is made by the same folks who bring us Eucerin and Eucerin Plus. Aquaphor is about 10 times stronger than Eucerin Plus. Its so thick that it feels like wax until you warm it up between your hands. I've only been able to find it at certain stores though.

I apply a thorough coat of Aquaphor once a week (only once a week because it costs $16/tube and you will be greasy for 8 hours after using it, stick to the sheets time). The rest of the week I do a daily coat of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion. This keeps me mostly itch-free and burn-free.
posted by BigVACub at 6:49 AM on April 19, 2006


I second Sara Anne's endorsement of Cetaphil. Aquaphor is petroleum jelly with a bit of lanolin in it . . .not bad per se but it IS greasy.

My dermatologist took one look at my skin and gave me a coupon for Cetaphil. . .for after bathing. It has made a big difference.
posted by Danf at 11:50 AM on April 19, 2006


Thanks everybody for the suggestions!
posted by koenie at 12:20 PM on April 19, 2006


I get really itchy in the winter, and Gold Bond triple action is the best. I know Gold Bond sounds gross, like something for a grandpa's crotch, but it has this neat cooling feeling and makes my skin tingle. Seriously, the feeling after using it is like the exact opposite of itching.
posted by audrey the bug at 1:38 PM on April 19, 2006


A friend of mine has very dry skin, and her doctor recommended using a thick cream that contains lactic acid (one brand is called Lacthydrin). This is apparently the type of lotion that pharmacists use when mixing medicine with lotion, so to get it you have to ask the pharmacist. It is very thick, and does a good job of moisturizing, but doesn't leave a thick greasy layer like Vaseline does.
posted by medusa at 5:40 PM on April 19, 2006


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