Itchy and scratchy

Can I talk about my epidermis for a minute?

Lately, I’ve been feeling like this:

Crocodiles rock??

For the love of butter, it’s not even that cold here.  But for some reason my skin deems it necessary to freak out and dry up like we’re in the futhermucking arctic circle.  I have very dry skin, and it happens every winter.  It sucks.

Picture this: a perfectly lovely evening of laying on the couch watching recorded episodes of Jeopardy on the DVR.  (Shut it.)  You feel a little itch on your calf.  And then one on the back of your knee.  And then your left buttock cheek.  And then your back…right in the middle of your back….oh dear God, not the back!  Just kill me now!

Next thing you know, you feel like your whole body has been crammed into a brittle skin-suit that’s two sizes too small.  You shift uncomfortably and writhe awkwardly, trying to reach each itchy patch in sequence.  You consider filling your bathtub with olive oil and immersing yourself in it, but then realize that even Costco doesn’t sell the stuff in that size.

What does this have to do with running? Very little, I suppose.  Except that the itchy condition seems to be aggravated slightly by exposure to cold air.  And that running on the treadmill with my flaky, pasty legs exposed is rather embarassing.

So, riddle me this: does anyone else have this problem?  Do you get dry, itchy skin in the winter?  How do you get rid of it?

I think I drink enough water (I have a 20-oz tumbler that gets refilled several times a day).  I try to avoid super-hot showers.  I’ve tried lotions and potions and creams at just about every price point.  Right now, I’m using this:

It works okay and is very inexpensive.  But the second I start thinking about dry skin?  THE ITCHING.  IT RETURNS.

Maybe the problem is…in my head?

Someone, please slap me if I start talking about stalking and killing water buffalo and gazelle.

Today’s EAT: I had chicken fingers tonight.  Sometimes I eat like an adult; sometimes I eat like a toddler.

Today’s DRINK: The very last bottle standing:

Bottom-shelf Trader Joe’s swill, and yes, this Purple Moon Chardonnay is kinda bad. Not quite toss-it bad, though.  It’s a little sharp, but marginally drinkable.

Maybe if I drink more wine I’ll forget about my itchy back??

Time to restock the wine rack.

Today’s RUN: Not wanting to deal with freezing drizzle and slushy sidewalks, I borrowed a treadmill workout from Steph in lieu of my regular Tuesday speedwork.

The assignment: 10 min easy, 10 min medium, 5 min, hard.  Repeat: 10 min easy, 10 min medium , 5 min hard.  10 min cool down.  60 minutes total.

The results:

10 min – 1.11 – 6.7 mph (8:55 pace)
10 min – 1.32 – 7.9 mph (7:34 pace)
5 min – 0.70 – 8.4 mph (7:08 pace)
10 min – 1.13 – 6.8 mph (8:50 pace)
10 min – 1.34 – 8.0 mph (7:24 pace)
5 min – 0.72 – 8.6 mph (6:50 pace)
10 min – 1.13 – 6.8 mph (8:50 pace)

(All at 1% incline and with extra effort required to shoot my don’t-f-with-me glare at the dude who was using the elliptical next door and wanted to chat.)

What I liked about this workout:  It broke the dreadmill drudgery in to bite-size pieces.  It focused on three distinct effort levels, each of which feels very different.  It was time-oriented rather than distance-oriented, which encouraged me to just dial in a pace and stick with it, instead of allowing myself to bump the speed up in hopes of finishing sooner (and then inevitably crashing because I went out too hard).

What I didn’t like about this workout: It’s an hour on the treadmill.  But I guess that’s kind of the point, right?

Overall, I felt like it was a solid effort and while I wouldn’t say fun, it was at least more interesting than a plain-old steady-state treadmill run.  I’m calling it a win for a day when I could have easily bagged off and taken a rest day, especially with team workout canceled.

Today’s QUESTION: Do you get dry skin in the winter? Any product recommendations, home remedies, or magical fixes?


37 responses to “Itchy and scratchy

  1. I get the absolute worst dry skin on my knuckles. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I wash my hands constantly and I use anti-bac. I always need to have lotion with me.

  2. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps is the only thing that works for me. I have dry skin to the point that I end up itching in my sleep until I bleed. Gross.

  3. Go to CVS. Or Rite Aid. Or wherever you get stuff like this. Get a cream (not lotion) that has cocoa butter in it. Get a moisturizing body wash. Get a bath poof. Take a shower and exfoliate with a bath poof. Get out of shower. Dry yourself. Slather yourself in the cream. Never ever shower again without moisturizing your whole body afterwards. Thank me later.

    • Do you exfoliate every day? I have a poofy thing but I’ve heard that using it every day can do more harm than good. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Yeah, I definitely need to get better about the full-body slather-down after every shower! 🙂

      • Oh! Hmmm, I don’t know. I usually use the bath poof (or whatever it’s actually called) and a moisturizing body wash everyday. But then we ran out of body wash. So I’m using soap and my skin looks gross. So maybe you’re not supposed to because then your skin develops a dependency on it. Like heroin.

  4. Dude, I really need to work on my “don’t f with me” glare, because those mid-workout gym chatters seem to flock to me like flies!!! (My strategy for dealing with them is to increase my theatrics factor by trying appear extra breathless/sweaty/important. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work.)

    Sorry about the dry skin — blargh! I’m somewhat of an Aveeno lotion devotee, myself.

  5. i like kiehl’s lotion as well (the one that says it’s not greasy — although it kind of is, i still like it!). for me, my biggest problem is my HANDS – they crack and bleed and it’s just disgusting.

    i LOVE that kind of workout. i am going to admit that i am jealous of it and would go to the gym and bust a similar version out if it weren’t for stupid running restrictions.

  6. Do I ever get dry skin in winter. I think it aggravated by being outside nearly every nice feeding calves in the cold and continually getting my hands wet and re-wet doing various chores.

    Currently, my hands looks a bit reptilian, but the rest of me isn’t terrible. I use Eurcerin and sometimes even Vaseline at night if my lips and nose are really chapped.

    • Um- hello typos. Anyway, just wanted to add that I love your crocodile art. I also agree with the comment to moisturize everytime you get out of the shower – it can definitely help.

  7. Purple Moon is the one wine at TJ’s that I refuse to even give a second chance- it was that bad. Bleh.
    I keep Target in business because of my stocking up on various lotions throughout the winter months… it’s bad. You’re not alone.

  8. Vitamin E is really good for your skin. Swallow some capsules and actually cut some open and put it directly on your skin. It’s greasy though, so plan ahead. I also use a skin, hair & nails combo from Walgreens that’s pretty great. Good luck!

    • I’ve heard that “greasy” goes well with “unkempt hair” and “old hooded sweatshirts” – in other words, I think this is a look that I can own. Thanks for the tip!

  9. I mentioned this (briefly) in my post last night, blog twin! Aveeno has this skin relief moisture cream that I would do murder for. Its the only thing that works for me.

    I’ve had the Purple Moon shiraz a bunch of times and its fine, but always turns my mouth purple.

  10. Umm, I have eczema, a beautiful skin condition that you are supposed to shuck as a baby, but I have had it for years! Anyway, it is dry skin taken to 11. I essentially spend all of the cold-weather months with bandaids covering up split-open knuckles, cracks on my feet, and my favorite, the ankle-rash. It’s pretty gnarly.

  11. Winter skin is the WORST. Curel is pretty good, but I have yet to find one that works wonders.
    Great run, sister!

  12. I’m having a similar problem, especially on my back. It’s at its worst when I first get in the shower and the hot water hits it. I can barely reach to scratch it, so my back ends up looking like I was attacked by the time I get out. It’s gross. I’ve been trying cocoa and shea butter shower gel to see if that helps (it hasn’t yet). Same with those ingredients in the moisturizer (hasn’t helped yet either). Hoping someone else has a good solution!

  13. STOP. DO NOT drink any more Purple Moon. Just seeing that bottle made me throw up in my mouth a little. Ugh. No. Just no.
    As for the dry skin. I could be cracking all over! I use Olay body wash with body butter ribbons (the purple one). Body lotion: just go to Costco and stock up on plain old Aveeno (they have one that is for itchy skin too). Apply am and pm. I always put it on right before I go outside for a run. It helps.
    I find that fish oil pill helps too.

  14. Dry skin is no fun! I am actually in the process of finding a great facial moisturizer. As for body, I just use stuff from Bath & Body Works. My dad swears by Aveeno.

    I am glad you some-what enjoyed the 1 hour treadmill work out. I like that it focuses on time segments too.

  15. What about coconut oil for moisturizing? My sister uses it (she also has VERY dry skin) and you only need a little for your entire body. I think I’m going to start using it myself .. but only because I love the smell!

  16. I had dry skin so badly once I went to the doctor b/c I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me…rickets, scurvy, etc. Turns out that you can truly rub your ass raw through dry skin and wearing thongs in the winter. She “prescribed” Eucerin cream, which is somewhat akin to vaseline in its unctuousness. Did the trick and I haven’t had it again, but I am pretty good about using Nivea super-dry skin lotion, true blue spa shea butter cream, etc etc. through the winter. Kiehl’s is nice if you are a millionaire. Do you have a humidifier in your place? That also makes a huge difference.

  17. I use a warm mist humidifer every winter at night, I have the same problem and it helps. Before I go to bed, I’ll apply lotion or baby oil, and then in the morning after I shower again with the lotion (Eucerin).

    I really need a treadmill!! Great run.

  18. I’m itchy after reading this post. I get so so itchy in the winter, no idea what to do about it. And the worst, if you scratch even a little the itchiness never goes away, it like intensifies by one million.

  19. Good to know about Purple Moon (especially after Lindsay’s comment!), I almost bought that on several occasions, but I knew that “La Granja” is way better-it’s the label with a floating pig on it, and they have another one with a rooster too!

  20. Firstly, your blog is pretty hilarious.
    Secondly, I can totally empathize with your situation. In college my itchy legs got so bad my roommates didn’t want me coming anywhere near their rooms in winter because they were pretty disgusted by my scratching. At any rate, for the last few years I’ve sworn by Eucerin. I recently learned a new trick (new to me, anyway): when you get out of the shower, don’t dry your legs (or other itchy areas) and immediately apply the lotion before toweling off. This will apparently lock in the moisture of the water. I’ve noticed even more improvement from this. I also use vaseline at night if my nose or lips get rough (especially if I’ve had a cold). Hope this helps!

  21. I’ve always had the nasty burning face on winter runs. I solved the issue with Vaseline. I look like a fool, but it works. Bonus, rinse face, lightly dry then add the Vaseline. Alos, I drink way more water than I used to which seems to have helped to solve my dry skin issues. Psychological? Maybe. Don’t care. It’s working!


  22. I get super itchy dry skin in the winter. Not only that since I’m a swimmer I also have itchy skin from the pool!!!

  23. In the summer I can only use cream, not lotion. I love the butter cream at bath and body works.
    BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. Thank you.

  24. I swear by Eucerin and/or Aquaphor in the winter. My mom recommended it to me after a kid in her pre-school class had success using it for eczema.

  25. Hi Shelby- Happy New Year! I have the exact same problem and the one thing that works is the Gold Bond Lotion. There’s one called “Healing Lotion with Aloe”. It stops the itching and it really lasts. Good luck!

  26. Three words: Lubriderm Advance Therapy

    After every shower. It is the only thing that keeps my skin moisturized. Ok, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter is pretty good in a pinch also.

  27. Fish oil and evening primrose oil capsules help me out a lot. It takes a few weeks before you notice a difference. My skin (especially on my face) gets so irritated/dry that I can’t use regular moisturizers (they sting), so I started using coconut oil before I go to bed.

  28. Aveeno intense relief. Red label or blue with menthol. I love it and frequently wake up in the middle of the night to attempt to scratch my skin off. This helps!

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