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How Are We Dealing With Our Gross Lizard Skin This Winter?

Photo: Uriel Soberanes (Unsplash)
SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

I have a gross personal hygiene question that honestly I’m too embarrassed to take anywhere else: In the winter when I get out of a shower/bath, and I dry myself off my horrific lizard skin creates these gross gray stringy bits. I use the wash cloth technique with bar soap in the shower but honestly I’m probably not as good at moisturizing as I should be. Is this an exfoliating problem or a moisturizing problem? Maybe other people have gross lizard skin in the winter? Can you help?

Quick note as we head into a new Squalor-y year: You can always send your gross personal hygiene questions my way! Also this isn’t even that gross, you’re being too hard on yourself!

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Lizard skin is a super common problem, and actually right now I’ve gone about half lizard — though fortunately I’m not molting just yet — so I’m right there with you in the struggle. Here are some things I’m doing to keep myself from going full reptile by April.

Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

Our LW is already doing the sloughing bit but for the uninitiated, the idea of using a washcloth to scrub in the shower is that it will remove dead skin better than soap or body wash alone.

In terms of soap, a mild, moisturizing soap is going to be the best bet for dry skin; bear in mind that soap, generally, is drying for skin so don’t overuse it and make sure to rinse the sudsy residue off well.

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Another way to level up your moisturizing post-shower or -bath is to apply lotion when you’re still fairly wet. This Jergens lotion is designed for use on wet skin, but you can also use a regular old moisturizer for the job.

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One last thing to bear in mind: Hot water can be very drying, so avoiding overly hot showers and baths can help reduce the appearance of dry skin.

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Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

Dry air and diet can also exacerbate dry skin issues. A humidifier can help to replenish moisture in the air that’s been sapped by heating systems and general winter air dryness.

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A large capacity humidifier is going to be the best choice for most people but smaller humidifiers are great for use in offices, dorm rooms, bathrooms and other small spaces.

As a person who is not great about drinking water, I want to preface this by acknowledging how annoying this next piece of advice is: Stay hydrated.

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Even if staying hydrated means drinking a lot of hot tea rather than cold water.

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Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

Mild scent- and dye-free lotions will be the right choice for most people to combat dry, winter skin — provided you use them regularly. But if your dry skin is still a problem even after implementing a regular moisturizing routine and adding a humidifier to the mix, you may need a specialty cream. Look for a lotion that contains the ingredients lactic acid and/or urea.

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And, it’s worth saying, if you try all of this and are still experiencing problems with dry skin, go see a dermatologist to discuss further treatment options.

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person