Wednesday, December 9, 2009

comfortable in my own skin

For a couple of years now, I've had horribly sensitive skin and I'm not quite sure why things changed so drastically. My mother tells me it happens as you age (thanks, Mom!) but its onset also coincides with an allergic reaction to a spider bite. Either way, it seems lately that every little thing either makes my skin red and itchy or dry and itchy. Clothing feels like it's made out of steel wool, lotions give me hives, soap leaves my hands raw, and I have scratched hard enough to leave bruises without realizing it. And on top of all that, Ohio winters! Dry heat, icy winds...a tender hide can really make a person miserable.

So in an effort to remain itch-free, almost every product I use is something-free: fragrance-free, preservative-free, SLS-free...and, oh, whatever they put in practically every single soap nowadays to make it "antibacterial"? That stuff is the absolute worst. Might as well just rub myself with nettles. Anyway, I've whittled down my beauty products. I use sensitive skin baby wash, a shampoo and conditioner from Trader Joe's (which is, according to the ingredient list, is an exact duplicate of a much more expensive brand), Dove sensitive skin deodorant (do you know how hard it is to find unscented deodorant?), and...olive oil.

Yep, I found a terrific, all-natural, moisturizing lotion in the grocery store, right next to the Crisco. A little bit of light olive oil rubbed in after I get out of the shower and I've got a perfect buffer between me and a very prickly world.

37 comments:

Joe Huffman said...

I question the wisdom of creating a public image of your entire body rubbed with olive oil.

Not that I mind, but the result may not necessarily be what you intended.

;-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I had a patch test done some years ago, and the only positive was for fragrances. "Fragrance Free" is what you want, not "Unscented" as that might mean they used a masking scent.

My daughter in law doesn't use baby oil, she uses olive oil on the little tyke's behind.

Anyway, sounds like you're doing all the right things.

Hank

Rustmeister said...

Maybe a Claritin a day would help? You can get the generics at any drug store for cheap.

I had an allergy doc suggest that to me for some sensitivity issues I was having.

8Notch said...

Surely the Gauls will fear your legions, Breda!

Robb Allen said...

See, yet another reason to forgo pants!

Breda said...

Joe Huffman - you just *had* to go there, didn't you?

And I suppose since I'm of northern European stock, I should probably be using butter anyway.

Alan said...

Joe said it so I didn't have to.

West, By God said...

the greek market up the road from me has a wide selection of olive-oil based moisturizers/lotions, if you are interested, i'll grab you a bottle next time i'm at the market

Robert Langham said...

Plus, you go well with antipasto and a Martini!

Dr. Feelgood said...

My wife passed the same trait on to all four of my children. I actually can bathe with steel wool and fiberglass without ill effect, but if one of my housemates touches a regular bar of soap his/her skin will turn to molting dragon flesh and begin scaling off into little piles. We use -free everything, and we even make our own laundry detergent. For personal care items the Burt's Bees stuff has been a Godsend (No TJ's nearby, pity).

I also run a humidifier around the clock at home. Don't use the warm-mist ones in winter though, since they can cause mold issues in your walls.

Mike W. said...

I wonder how Crisco would work if the store was out of olive oil?

Jay G said...

That's good information to know. I'm glad to know Breda won't stick to my pasta...

DixieLaurel said...

Breda, now ready for sauteing.

Anonymous said...

A very trusted friend of mine swears by coconut oil as moisturizer. Her skin glows.

I'm going to try it very soon.

Tennessee Budd said...

I'm going to be delicate (for once in my life), and just mention that the GF & I discovered some time ago that olive oil also has certain...romantic uses as well. Much better than synthetic products.
Ahem.

Aaron said...

Popeye's girlfriend was named Olive Oil and now we know why.

nbc said...

Being of Northern European extraction I'd recommend you try lard, it will also keep you warm.

Mike W. said...

Breda,

Make sure you stay away from hungry, canniballistic Italians.

Eyehaightewe Gofuqurcelph said...

I have severe allergic reactions to all chemical fragrances and dyes, in addition to having eczema. Life in my skin is not fun. Co-workers wearing excessive cologne makes me break out in hives.

A&D usually works really well for me, but during the winter and allergy-ridden summer months I am unable to use it. My skin lights on fire and goes straight into hives when applied.

Aveeno has a colloidal oatmeal baby lotion (Aveeno Baby) that is fragrance free has never ever hurt my skin. Its water based, but still has petroleum jelly in it. I swear by the stuff. It does wonders with my eczema and leaves my skin very very soft.

Being a cataloger though, I cannot use A&D or olive oil at work. The Aveeno Baby stuff allows me to work with books minutes after application, because its so non-greasy, which is very nice.

Breda said...

Yep - I use the Aveeno Baby as hand lotion, olive oil everywhere else.

Changing what I wash my clothes with, and getting rid of fabric softener has helped immensely too.

Anonymous said...

see a dermatologist.
I just got some new stuff called Epi Ceram and my hands went from literally cracking and bleeding despite every otc cream I tried to being fine within 2 days of this stuff.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

This would be why I have no dryer sheets, and fragance- & dye-free laundry detergent, as well as the eternal hunt for a better bar of soap & bottles of shampoo & conditioner, much less dishwasher detergent.

Of the few lotions I can stand, besides some burt's bees, the rest are local Alaskan mixes - and no few have olive oil as a base. It's not odd at all, when you start looking at the ingredients list on everything.

Humidity helps, too - it hasn't been nearly as miserable in Louisiana (for my skin, at least) as in Alaska.

Eyehaightewe Gofuqurcelph said...

On a Wing and a Whim -

I know for a fact that Wal*Hell sells fragrance-free dryer sheets, that are actually quite inexpensive (I was surprised to see them half the price of the generic stinky kind).

Your clothes won't smell like anything, but at least they'll be soft and static free!

TheOtherLarry said...

Try Coconut oil. Not only is it a good moisturizer, but you'll smell like a macaroon. Really!

Mad Saint Jack said...

I agree with Rusty. Ask your doctor about Claritin. I use it when my skin feels itchy.


(FTC disclaimer: I was not paid for this product endorsement.)

reflectoscope said...

I was going to mention laundry soap, but I'm not surprised someone beat me to it. That change and getting rid of the dryer sheets made a world of difference for me.

Jim

bogie said...

I have had sensitive skin forever. Not only is most soap "antibacterial", but it (and everything that ever touches skin) also has "aloe" - that is the stuff that really bothers me!

It only took me 47 years to think of olive oil (I must have been channeling, I just thought of this a couple of days ago).

Kristopher said...

Ignore Joe.

Confident bloggers do not fear the spectre of an oiled up Breda.

TJP said...

Most lotions have alcohol in them, so they make dry skin problems even worse. Eucerin isn't perfect, but it's better than most, and works best when applied right after a shower.

Ditto on the fabric softener. I'd rather rub my skin with the chemicals I use to develop film. The original softener formulas contained olive oil--surprise, surprise.

Ed Skinner said...

Dare I ask, Extra Virgin?

Ruth said...

I turned 30 and developed a massive allergic reaction to my antipersperant (the same one I'd been using for years....).

Mitchem makes a sensitive skin ladies gell that looks clear though it doesn't quite dry clear, and Almay makes a trio, one stick, one gell, & one roll on, these have turned out to be the only things I can use on my underarms. I can't tolerate any more any of the scents OR whatever it is that makes deoderant/antipersperants "clear" or "invisible".

I've always used all free/clear laundry detergant. The only soaps I can tolerate any more are Dove & some privately made soaps made by a friend of mine in her home. Body wash is made by a company called Avalon Organics in teh pepermint scent & is the only one I've found that doesn't irritate my skin. For lotions I can usually tolerate the Aveeno brand lotions, and will often use grapefruit oil on my body as well.

Nice to know I'm not the only one!

Ruth said...

that should be grapefruit seed oil....

Lil said...

The best thing I've found for chafed/irritated skin -- especially in the winter -- is Bag Balm. I've used it for 21 years, since my oldest was a baby and developed diaper rash that wasn't helped by any ointments, not even prescription ones! I used it with every diaper change, and she never had the slightest rash again! I have mild eczema, and it clears that up in no time also. As long as you don't use it on broken skin, it's great for any kind of skin problem.

Bob said...

I'm amazed you aren't using bacon grease

Cpl Mongo said...

And here I would have thought you would use CLP or at least Rem oil.
You are everyday revealing yourself to be the perfect woman I have long sought after:
Beutiful, brainy, a shooter, and smells like Pizza!
Lucky man your Husband.

GunGeek said...

Don't know if they still do, but way back when Mary Kay Cosmetics had a really great policy concerning people with reactions to their products.

Basically it was that if you had a reaction, they would figure out what caused it and make that product sans the offending ingredient and give it to you for free for life. Unless they already had (or later came out with) a version that was okay for you to use in which case the freebies ended since you could just buy the new product.

In addition to makeup, they have lotions and probably soaps as well. Might be worth calling your friendly neighborhood Mary Kay lady.

GunGeek said...

I'll also second Ruth's recommendation for the Almay antiperspirant/deodorant. I use the clear gel and it works and doesn't have any of the sickening scents in it. I have reactions to a number of fragrances (it's as if I have a really bad case of the flu) and this stuff works.

I noticed that it also has something like 50% more of the sweat stopping ingredient in it compared to most products, so it's also pretty effective. It has gotten a bit hard to find lately. Seems all the big stores no longer carry it. Any of the drugstores (Rite-Aid, Walgreens, CVS, etc) still seem to have it. I think I'll find a discounted online seller and stock up.