I often refer to myself as "The Lizardwoman," a term that I think comes off as tongue-in-cheek and vaguely humorous. But while I'm a huge fan of self-deprecating humor, I have to be honest: I'm not joking. I really do have some of the driest skin on the planet, especially during the past two years when my body apparently decided to stop producing sebum (bar the tiny oases on my nose and eyelids). After speaking with several of my doctors, the most plausible conclusion we can come up with is that a medication I use has sucked my pores dry. But since I'm loath to give that medication up, I'm constantly hydrating instead.
I know there are other people who deal with scaly skin and intense itching, particularly in these winter months. So I decided to make a little mini-guide for the three body creams I've been relying on the most. These are what have worked best for me, but if you have a favorite of your own, definitely let us know about it in the comments!
Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
When the Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter I normally depend on (and mention down below) was out of stock for nearly 6 months, I grew desperate and began asking for recommendations on several forums. Vanicream was the most-mentioned product, but I really dragged my feet on it. It just seemed so...medicinal. And in fact, that's what I'd call this product: an effective but very medicinal-feeling product. It has a watery texture, and it feels a little sticky during and shortly after application. This does eventually soak in, though, and provides a decent amount of hydration without causing me any irritation. I like to use this product when my skin is at its most sensitive. Not surprisingly, this product is recommended by many dermatologists for people with allergies and skin conditions.
Cost: $13.99 for 15.9oz at Target
Scent: none added; has a vague "plastic" smell that fades quickly
Texture: watery gel-cream
Best For: extremely sensitive skin; moderate hydration
Not Recommended To: those who prefer a more cosmetically elegant product
Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter
Mathematically, this works out to be a damned expensive product...but ugh, I love it. A dense body butter, this cream soaks mostly in to my skin while leaving a very slight residue for about an hour after application. Now, some people will find that gross, but I'm so dry, I welcome anything that feels even vaguely greasy. (You can also cut down on the residue by using a very tiny amount.) A little goes a long way; I use an amount about the size of a quarter for my entire body. This is also my favorite product to use after shaving my legs. The only thing that sucks about HoG's Pumpkin Butters is how often Aether, the fragrance-free version, goes out of stock.
Cost: $10.00 for 6oz at HausOfGloi.com
Scent: wide variety available, including seasonal scents and a fragrance-free version (Aether)
Texture: rich, oil-based cream
Best For: very dry skin; post-shave cream; intense hydration
Not Recommended To: those with less dry skin and/or people who dislike any sort of residue
Kiehl's Creme de Corps
I almost never buy this product because it's so pricey. So just imagine my squeal of delight when a friend of mine, visiting from New York City, showed up at my door clutching a Kiehl's bag. Such a sweet gift! This body cream is a cult classic for a reason: it's very hydrating, yet it has a light, fluffy texture. I find that this soaks in to the skin relatively quickly while still providing plenty of moisture. You can sort of "layer" this product, if you want, to get the level of moisture you want. I also love the scent, but it does linger, so those who are funny about fragrances may wish to proceed with caution. I personally will only use this as night, since I apply perfume most mornings and don't want my body cream to interfere.
Cost: $48 for 12oz at Kiehls.com
Scent: "soy milk and honey," supposedly, but everyone around me thinks it smells like pudding
Texture: whipped mousse
Best for: any skin type; moderate to intense hydration
Not Recommended To: those who dislike fragrance and high price tags