My skin is troublesome. Ever since I was little my skin has been something I pay attention to, care about, and try to manage. Diagnosed with vitiligo at 4, I can confidently say that I knew more about sunscreen than the average grade school kid of the 80s. Then came keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs. If you don’t know what that is, just check out the freshly plucked skin of a chicken and you’ll have a good idea. Sexy!
As an adult, my skin seems to get more and more irritable the older I get. Itchy at the drop of a hat, glowing red from standing too close to who-knows-what, and blisters from thinking about wearing shoes. Let’s not even get into my scalp. Each season brings a new set of issues to worry about, but since we’re in winter, we’re talking flakes and peeling. Add in chlorine and more frequent showers, and it's been a tough season, epidermically speaking. I’m always on the hunt for the latest and great product that will work miracles.
My new obsession has been in-shower body lotions. The locker room at the REC is very humid, and regular lotions always seemed to stay sticky for way too long. Plus, I figured the in-shower lotions would be faster, and who says ‘no’ to shaving some time off their morning routine? All the products I’ve tried have been drugstore brands, and I really have no clear winner.
Nivea In Shower Body Lotion comes in four different varieties, of which I’ve tried two. The Nourishing one has almond oil, while the Hydrating one has sea minerals. They perform the same, but I prefer the scent of the sea minerals one. This is a fairly thick lotion that you apply to your skin in the shower, then rinse off before getting out. I like how easy it is to apply, and it rinses off nicely. It does leave the shower floor a bit slippery, so that’s less than ideal, but it is par for the course with these sort of products. After using the Nivea, my skin doesn’t feel dry, but it also doesn’t feel moisturized. It's sort of the “bare minimum” necessary. On a really cold day, I find I still need a second layer of standard lotion once I get to my uber dry office.
Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion was my least favorite. It's like the Nivea in that you apply while you’re in the shower and then rinse off. I’m not finding this particular variety in the drugstore anymore, but only online. On the plus side, it was a great value. Downside: not nearly moisturizing enough. It was more like a booster that worked well when layered with a regular lotion, but was not enough by itself.
Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer is different than the others. This is a runnier product, with a much higher concentration of mineral oil than the others. It is applied when your skin is wet, but it is not rinsed off. So far, it's my tentative favorite. I’m currently using the Refreshing Coconut Oil scent, which I’m not wild about, but was the only one in stock when I picked this up. I like it enough that I’m interested to see how I like the other scents. After application, I spend a little bit of time packing up my goggles and cap and stuff, and then pat myself dry with a towel. My skin isn’t itchy, and maybe even a little shiny? So nice! On the downside, if you spill even a drop of this on the floor, you are going down. Danger, Will Robinson!
An important note about all of these products is that if you’re avoiding petrolatum and mineral oil, none of these are going to be good matches. In fact, I didn’t see any limited ingredient or so-called “natural” brands carrying any kind of in-shower lotions. Some people have very strong feelings about mineral oil in particular, and those with oily or acneic skins often find that mineral oil is clogging. I used to be against mineral oil myself, but I can’t argue with these results. I haven’t scratched myself raw, so I’m a happy panda.
Maybe one day I’ll find a whole array of products that soothe and nourish my irritable skin. Until that day, I do enjoy trying new stuff out, so I’ll consider skincare my secondary hobby. I hope my new finds from this winter transition well into the spring!