Sunday, August 1, 2021

Old-Fashioned and Under-Appreciated

After my medical drama of last week, which I have recounted to everyone who would listen in my PTSD-ridden delirium, it occurred to me that over the course of my predicament, I was re-introduced to a number of somewhat old-fashioned but very underappreciated products. I don’t normally do product reviews, but I think this is an opportune time to remind you all about the utility of certain good ole’ goods that could be helpful to you should you ever find your skin on fire or some such. Warning: Things get pretty medical and gruesome here, so skip this post if you’re easily grossed out.

Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal Bath: Aveeno has been around for a long time and I’ve always liked and trusted their products. They’re a little pricey but they’re good quality and I believe they are mostly organic. I like their body washes—they are nicely-scented without being overwhelming or cloying, and their bath and skin products are high-caliber. I remember some years ago buying a packet of their Colloidal Oatmeal bath, but being annoyed with it because it clumped up in the tub. When Mr. Typist made one of his many trips to the drugstore during my ordeal, the pharmacist recommended Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal bath and explained how to put it in the water so it didn’t clump. And oh my gosh, it helped a lot. The box touts it as being good for: Prickly heat, Chicken Pox, hives, sunburn, poison ivy, sumac, insect bite and eczema. It instantly calmed and cooled my skin and soothed the pain and lessened the heat. Colloidal oatmeal is not new--it has been a known treatment for skin issues for centuries. It reduces cytokines and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It’s quite miraculous. I would recommend you keep a supply on hand for any kind of post-camping/post-hike skin irritation or the off-chance that you have a run-in with some poison ivy.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly: I was somewhat enamored of petroleum jelly as a kid, but as an adult, I’d completely forgotten about it, preferring to use lotion. The doctor recommended that I stop the prescribed antibiotic cream, keep the cut uncovered, and put petroleum jelly on the scabs to “keep them soft.” To my surprise, I found a container of Vaseline petroleum jelly tucked away in the far corner of my medicine cabinet. And I’m amazed at how well it’s worked. It’s very moisturizing and soothing and it has kept the scabs flexible so they don’t break and tear open. The cut is on the back of my hand, where the skin is being constantly stretched, and it’s a been a bitch to heal this thing because the cut keeps getting re-opened. Good old-fashioned petroleum jelly has totally done the trick and I actually see an end in sight now.

Eucerin Itch-Relief Intensive Calming Lotion: Another recommendation of the pharmacist, Eucerin Itch-Relief Intensive Calming Lotion was a God-send. I like Eucerin products because they’re very gentle and are good for my sensitive skin. This anti-itch stuff saved my sanity. I went through over a half a bottle of it in two days. It’s active ingredient is menthol, which I had forgotten was used to treat skin irritation. But then I remembered that as kid, I used menthol and camphor-based products a lot to soothe mosquito bites. (There were a lot of mosquitos in Alaska.) The lotion took the heat down and lessened the pain. I’m guessing it probably contributed to the speed of my healing once the antibiotic was finally flushed out of my system. Menthol—a great old standby with a proven track record.

Okay, this next one is gross and very embarrassing, but here goes: Suppositories. Those antibiotics did a real number on my gut-works. Things normally work pretty well for me in that department, but the medication really messed up my biome, necessitating the use of those horrible, humiliating little things to clear things up. I’ve never felt more like an old person in my life. But they worked as advertised and it was a relief when they did.

So, there you have it. Finely-ground oatmeal, petroleum jelly, menthol and the little glycerin pill that shall not be named—all great, underappreciated stalwarts of healing. 

If you’re still reading, enjoy this penny-whistle led version of Scarborough Fair:

 --Kristen McHenry


Dale said...

Something I use occasionally for skin is plain 'ol mineral oil, which is what they jellify (is that a word?) to make vaseline. It's the base of a ton of skin-care products, and I suspect that in most of them it's the only really effective ingredient. (But I'm a die-hard minimalist. Or, as we used to say, cheap.) I'm glad you're healing up! said...

A total reading remedy to everything this wek! :--)