But one really important facet of daily life with ichthyosis that I haven’t mentioned are the kinds of cream I use.
My “everyday” creams are Jergens Ultra Healing lotion (the one with the yellow-orange stripe) and Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy.
Jergens is my “everyday carry” lotion. Ideally, I am never out of reach of a bottle of this lotion. I have a large bottle in my desk at work, and I carry a 10 oz bottle in my large purse / laptop bag. There’s a bottle in my car. There’s a bottle in almost every bathroom at home, as well as on my home office desk, in the kitchen, and by my bedside table. In the winter, I sometimes even carry a separate bottle in my coat pocket.
After my morning shower, I apply a layer of Jergens on my hands, feet and face. A layer of Eucerin goes everywhere else. I used to use the Jergens all over, but the Eucerin provides an adequate layer everywhere except the hands and feet. And because of the Beiersdorf Aquaphor program, using the Eucerin lotion that way is a little more economical.
Upon arriving at work, after responding to the first round of morning emails, I will usually put a giant glob of Jergens in my hands and spend about five minutes rubbing it in while reading news articles or other things on my computer monitor. (I put a paper towel near my mouse so I can switch articles without sliming up the mouse, or so I can grab the phone receiver in the event of a poorly timed incoming phone call.) Days with morning meetings which prevent this routine are days during which I get cranky and uncomfortable!
The additional cream comes out throughout the day, as necessary – at least once during the afternoon, sometimes more frequently. Whenever I need to wash my hands, I really need to do the routine twice – once immediately afterwards, and a second layer of cream about an hour later, although sometimes things get too busy to apply the second layer (and then I notice how uncomfortable I am a few hours later and by then it’s too late).
In the winter months, during the day, I’ll also occasionally pull off my shoe at my desk and will rub in a layer of cream onto the soles of my feet.
I remember that I was once self-conscious about creaming my hands in front of people. It’s not a factor anymore.
I’ve been using the same kind of lotion (Jergens), religiously for about 25 years now. There are almost certainly better ones out there, but at some point, I am too much of a creature of habit to change my routine too much. Some of the creams and lotions which are unquestionably “better” for my skin are also at a much higher price point, or have a consistency that just doesn’t feel “right” for me. So for instance, good old Aquaphor Healing Lotion, while great for creating a nice barrier, also makes me feel like I’m leaving a trail of slime on everything I touch.
It’s interesting comparing creams and lotions with other people who have ichthyosis. We have one friend who swears by Lubriderm’s shea butter flavor. Others can’t stand it or say it does nothing for them.
Every now and then, a relative or friend will hand me a tiny tube of something-or-other to try. For about a third of ’em, I try a dab and come to the conclusion within about 15 seconds that it’s crap. For maybe another third, I rub it in, and some alcohol or fragrance in the concoction makes its way into an open crack on my hands, causing instant pain. And for that last third, it might be something I like. So far, I haven’t found something at a price point that’s palatable for regular, high-volume use, or with significant enough marginal additional benefits to overcome the inertia I’ve built up from using the same product for 25 years now.
So…what creams, lotions and other gunk do y’all use? In the comments, if you name any particular products, please identify the specific type of icthyosis you have, if you know.