Do you have an entire drawer in your bathroom devoted to bottles of lotion?
Or maybe it's a section of your bedside table?
Somehow the minute you hit your teen years and happen to have breasts, lotion becomes the fallback gift.
Graduating from high school? You need a Bath & Body Works gift bag.
Promotion at work? How about a little pampering from Sephora?
Have a hangnail? A package from Victoria's Secret is on its way.
But here's where I give you complete and total permission to look a gift horse in the mouth. Or at least to regift with reckless abandon.
All those fancy lotions are doing diddly squat for your skin.
Trust me. I've had dry skin since childhood, the kind that on winter nights would force me to take off all my clothes and stand in the living room butt naked while my mom slathered me with lotion.
I was finally diagnosed with eczema shortly after my daughter was born 5 years ago, and the doctor filled me in on a little secret -- most of those fancy lotions, he told me, were just making it worse.
That's because they're made to smell nice, often loaded with alcohol (which dries out the skin) and fragrances that can bother sensitive skin. They also lack ingredients made specifically to moisturize.
If you're truly allergic to fragrances, there's usually no help for you. But the cheap drugstore brands do the trick for most of us.
I'm NOT a doctor, but these brands have proven to fight my dry skin -- and they have saved me big bucks:
1. Vaseline Total Moisture. My day-to-day standby, it's the stuff that ensures I get compliments at the pedicurist for how well I take care of my feet. I should note I wear flip-flops every day -- and there's not a crack in sight on my heels. Smooth, it soaks in quickly so I get the relief rather than it all ending up on my sheets.
2. Eucerin Creme. When the doctor indicated a creme is better for locking in moisture, I picked this up and use it usually when I've been a little lax and need a major moisture fix. I picked up a sample bottle of the new Eucerin Daily Skin Balance Body Lotion at BlogHer, and it's kept me from running to the store for my new bottle of Vaseline. It's slightly heavier than the Vaseline -- reminding me of the creme -- but it soaks in quickly as well. Take their Skin First Pledge (for free), and Eucerin is donating money on your behalf to HealthyWomen.org.
3. Lubriderm. This is the stuff my mom put on us when we were kids, and it's still one of my favorites today. Not as thick as either of the other two, it's a distant third, but if Lubriderm is on sale, Lubriderm is what I buy. They've got a $2 coupon on their site right now -- might be a good time to try!
What are you stand-by lotion brands?
Image via mecredis/Flickr