Winter sucks. It takes my best features--my legs--and turns them into my worst. In the summer I love to show off my legs with short hems and high heels, but in the winter I feel compelled to hide them even from my boyfriend.
A combination of very dry skin and sensitivity to shaving gives me irritated legs every winter. Angry, red bumps form, ingrown hairs run amok, and most of the time, my legs are incredibly itchy and flaky.
This is the first winter that I’ve decided to actually do something about it. A combination of exfoliation and lotions, as well as following a few simple rules, has made my legs improve already.
In case some of you are in the same boat, I thought I’d share my tips.
1. Don’t shower every day.
This might be gross to some of you, but I refuse to shower every day in the winter. A hot shower wreaks havoc on my skin, and there’s no way I’m taking a lukewarm shower in the winter.
I don’t exercise or even go into work every day of the week, so for me, it’s enough to shower every other day and use scented wipes on the in-between days.
At the very least, keep your showers short!
2. Limit shaving.
I only shave my legs once a week at the most during winter (usually when I know I’m going to see my boyfriend). When I was in college, ha--forget it! I could go months without shaving my legs because nobody was going to see them anyway.
I’m not in a long-distance relationship anymore now, but I still don’t worry about a little bit of stubble. It’s more important to me that I keep my legs free of irritation. I’d rather have some temporary hair than permanent scars.
3. Exfoliate before showering.
You can easily exfoliate with a DIY combination of brown sugar and coconut oil, but I have two specific exfoliation products that I love.
One is my Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish. I got the small $5 tin from Sephora, but I’m excited to purchase the large $20 tub when it runs out. It smells amazing and does a good job of exfoliating without irritating skin.
My other favorite exfoliator is my Yardley Oatmeal & Almond Naturally Moisturizing Bath Bar, which I randomly found at CVS for about a dollar. It’s in bar-soap form, which can be kind of annoying, but it’s worth it. It’s moisturizing, the natural oatmeal soothes your skin, and it has little beads that gently exfoliate as well. It comes in other scents (such as Lavender and Almond Buttercream) and each one smells better than the last. Best of all, their bars of soap are free of parabens and are not tested on animals. It’s a great company.
I actually use both of these in the shower, on my legs and all over, before shaving, and so far, it’s made a huge difference. My dry flakes are gone and I get a much closer shave.
And remember, when you do shave, don’t use the cheap disposable razors. I’ve been doing that for ages and after getting tired of millions of nicks, I finally got my act together enough to get a fairly decent men’s razor. The next time I shaved, I exfoliated and used my men’s razor and plenty of shaving cream, and voila--no more blood.
4. Use lotion daily.
This one is so hard for me. I moisturize my face twice a day, but I usually only moisturize my legs after showering… if I’m lucky. I’ve been trying to be better about it.
My two favorite lotions are Eucerin Intensive Repair for Very Dry Skin and Burt’s Bees Radiance Body Lotion. The Eucerin is great because it’s extremely moisturizing and is completely scentless. It’s the best no-fuss choice for hardcore dryness. The Burt’s Bees is the fun choice, since it has a strong (but pleasant) scent and subtle shimmer.
I tend to rotate them, as I like them both equally. The important thing is that you like whatever lotion you choose, since you’ll be more likely to want to use it then.
5. Avoid picking and scratching.
One day, I started to examine my legs close up, which of course led to picking at ingrown hairs and red bumps. In the end, it just made things worse.
Don’t waste time examining every imperfection in your legs; just treat them with care and let them heal in their own time. And if your legs are insanely itchy, put some lotion on them instead of scratching like a maniac--chances are they’re just dry.
Is anyone else struggling with extreme leg dryness this winter? Is there anything else that you do that helps?