Winter is coming. While it is absolutely my favorite season, full of hot chocolate and snow and wrapping my whole body in multiple blankets before leaving my dorm room, my yearly battle with dry skin has returned with a vengeance.
It begins innocently enough. My lips are chapped 90–99.99999 percent of the time regardless of temperature and humidity, but as the cold encroaches, the average number of chapsticks I carry around increases from two to 4.76 tubes per pocket. But perpetual lip greasing is just the start. I have moisturizing soap, sufficient for most of the year, which I supplement with a post-shower lotion, and problem areas in the corners of my mouth and the sides of my nostrils are slathered with the heavy-duty protection of a goop made from sheep’s wool and often recommended to breastfeeding mothers with cracked nipples.
This year, however, things are changing. I began my campaign against dry skin in mid-October as usual, but every time I went to put on more lotion, it appeared the lotion I put on previously remained on my skin. Some places were even still shiny with freshly applied moisturizer. This felt like a victory: Finally, I’d vanquished my winter nightmare of peeling and flaking.
Last week, I began to notice a white, fragrant ooze collecting around my elbows and knees–two problem spots for my dry, itchy skin in the winter time. Since it smelled like lavender and oatmeal, I decided it couldn’t be anything too harmful. In my experience, most bad oozes don’t smell like lavender. And while the goop did leave greasy stains on my jackets and pants, nothing was hurting or itching. So I ignored it.
But the ooze kept coming. Over the ensuing week, the Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk hand cream I use began collecting on my hands. I started scraping it off, thinking I’d followed the instructions to “apply liberally as needed” a little too carefully. Maybe in my overzealous quest for moist, soft skin year round, I’d left huge splotches of lotion just sitting on my hands. Moments later, however, even more would collect on the surface of my skin.
I decided globs were getting a little out of hand when I climbed out of bed and immediately slipped on my floor. It was as if a whole bottle of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Yogurt Lotion: Apricot and Honey with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 had burst all over my feet and ankles. Only this time, no matter how many paper towels I used to wipe it off my feet, it kept coming.
Unsure if becoming a blob of my own lotions would actually count as an excused absence from class, I decided to risk going to Baldwin. Despite the pleasant smell and rejuvenating quantities of moisturizer pouring off of my skin, it seemed rude to walk all over campus dripping with lotion, so I slipped and slid my way from Cushing to the student health center. After asking if I was pregnant, the staff at Baldwin gave me some ibuprofen and sent me on my way.
Becoming a human bottle of lotion hasn’t been all bad. While I have had to dictate this article for fear of ruining my laptop, I no longer have to walk anywhere on campus. I can just sort of slide wherever I want to go. And it’s way easier to get the sushi bowl you want from the Retreat when there’s only two left and a line of 12 people in front of you when you can distract people by hurling globs of moisturizer at them. Being an oozing mass of thick liquid clears out a room fast. People don’t really want to hug me or sit next to me in class, but when it comes down to it, I’d much rather be a puddle of lotion than deal with a little dry skin. For me, it’s a win-win.