I went 24 hours without lotion just to see what it felt like. What a terrible, terrible idea.
OPINION: My situation was not moisturized and I have no understanding how those of you who don't wear lotion make it through the day. You all are martians.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Have you ever told yourself that you had a good idea only to regret executing it almost immediately? That was me recently when I decided to see what it would be like to go a full 24 hours without lotion. Now, I didn’t do this on purpose — at first. I just couldn’t get the last little bit out of my Palmer’s cocoa butter bottle — those bottles really are impossible at some point; I’ve probably tossed out gallons of cocoa butter simply because I couldn’t get to it because of the bottle design. I said, you know what, I probably don’t even need lotion. I’m good. I said to myself, “Self, I wonder what would happen if I just didn’t put on any lotion, at all, for like a day?”
My self is an idiot.
Let me tell you how I know. So I discovered that I didn’t have any accessible lotion right after taking a shower and washing off the sweat and outside on a recent super warm Washington, D.C., day. I hopped out the shower, dried off and got dressed. I looked at that lotion and let it know who was boss by tossing it across the room into the trash can. Swish. Ballin’. Ugh, I’m so awesome.
Almost immediately, I knew it was about to be a problem, which was a surprise to me. I lotion religiously and abundantly. My lotion regimen covers my whole body and a I lather up, fam. My situation stays moisturized. My atoms are hydrated. I just assumed there’d be some residual skin-hydration occurring. I was wrong. Almost as soon as I started trying to engage in the activities of daily living, I felt my body starting to feel itchy. And then that itchy feeling extended to my entire body and I just needed to scratch. The problem with scratching is that I’d exacerbated the ash that was causing the itch. So not only could I not scratch, I had to endure. And we’re a solid hour into these shenanigans.
As you can imagine, it got no better. Let me also point out here that nobody asked me to do this, and I wasn’t about to change society. In fact, I was not about to neither heal the world nor make it a better place, not for you or for me or the entire human race. The results of my experiment wasn’t about to be cataloged. The point I’m pointing out is that I had no truly good reason to be trying this. And especially no reason to be enduring top shelf potential ash. I wasn’t actually ashy; my skin just felt super dry and uncomfortable. I’m not one of those people whose skin gets so dry that it starts to look like a photo-negative road map of New York City. And when I don’t have lotion on, I’m typically not a gust of wind away from being admitted to a hospital for pain. I feel bad for those folks whose skin is so dry sans lotion that it actually makes life difficult.
Me, naw, I’m just uncomfortable and the length of time of said discomfort was what I was testing. So let’s get back to these results.
As it turned out I was able to dull some of the itchiness with sleep. But when I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was jump in the shower to give myself a reprieve. Also, I knew I had to drive to the store to get some more cocoa butter, so I could see an end in sight. The fact is, I just spent a whole 17 hours (I slept for seven) in a tremendous state of itchiness. Apparently, my skin’s response to being supremely dried is just intense and neverending desire to scratch. Luckily, I didn’t look like what I was going through so you’d be able to tell that I wasn’t moisturized. I walked through a Target to the aisle with the Palmer’s with nary a person being the wiser. Nobody looked and pointed — my biggest fear — and I was able to purchase several bottles of Palmer’s unencumbered by society weighing down on a brotha.
So yes, this was pointless and I’m currently exceedingly moisturized. But I also just saved 15% by switching my car insurance to *CENSORED* and you just read about 750 words about me not using lotion.
Nobody won and everybody lost. Use lotion, my friend. Don’t be like me.
Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said: “Unknown” (Blackest).
Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.