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