When one season changes into the next, the way we care for our decorations needs to change as well.
Here in the northern hemisphere, we are heading into cooler weather (well, here in southern California we aren’t, but our weather is well known to be weird). Does that mean anything different for a tattooed person?
In the colder months, many people’s skin gets dryer. We are not sweating and encouraging our natural skin oils to come to the surface as often. Dry skin makes a tattoo look dusty or faded, and the fine lines may appear less clear. Dry skin feels thinner and may look more wrinkled, if your ink is on a part of the body prone to wrinkling (and it’s not just your face–look closely at the skin on the back of your hands sometime).
The ads for moisturizing products are mostly aimed at women, and mostly aimed at de-wrinkling the face. Occasionally you will see an ad for body lotion, but those aren’t nearly as common as the “age defying” ads. I doubt anyone wants to buy one of those overpriced “age defying” products in the itty bitty containers, and slather it all over everything. 🙂 And of course just because the ads are aimed at women doesn’t mean that men don’t need dry skin treatments during the winter months as well.
Finding a good body lotion is often a matter of trial and error. Any time I go looking for something new, the first thing I do is take the cap off (in the store) and check how the stuff smells. Too strong, or too unpleasant, and back on the shelf it goes. (What can I say, I hate the smell of fake roses!) Manufacturers change their forumulations from time to time, and even if something has been just fine in the past, a sniff test wouldn’t hurt and might save you the time to take the smelly stuff back to the store. I suspect men would be much happier with an unscented lotion.
Are store brands worth buying? I don’t really know. I haven’t done enough comparison shopping. I tend to buy the name brand kind, because I have experience with the products and I already know what I like. With a store brand, it could be manufactured by just about anyone. I personally like the Nivea and Olay products and I have never had a bad experience with any of them.
Apply a good body lotion (also marketed as hand lotion–as far as I can tell, they’re the same stuff with different labels) to your ink at least once a day if your skin tends to get dry or flaky. Your ink will look better, even if it’s not out on display as much as it is in warmer weather. And yes, men, this means you too. Nivea makes a line of products especially for men, if you don’t want to be caught with a bottle of Jergens in your bathroom. 🙂
Buy small sizes. It may cost less per ounce to get the biggest one, but skin care products do not last forever. Check the expiration date and be sure you toss the container at the appropriate time. Expired products might work, but why take chances with your skin?
In the southern hemisphere, of course, you’re headed into summer. In warm weather you sweat more, your skin is oilier, and you need to bathe more frequently. Exposed areas of skin should be covered with a good sunscreen.
Buying a sunscreen is also a matter of personal preference. It comes in lotion, gel, spray-on and stick form. Unfortunately, most sunscreens seem to be fairly strongly scented, so the sniff test in the store is essential. Buying a smaller size is not so essential with sunscreen, because you should be using it pretty lavishly to make sure you’re covered, and reapplying it every couple of hours if you’re going to be out in the sun a long time. But sunscreen, like any other skin care product, doesn’t last forever. In our household it’s a constant battle between my husband’s attitude of “If we still have the bottle, the stuff is still good” and my “If it doesn’t have an expiration date on it somewhere and we didn’t buy it this year, out it goes.”
Sunscreen is another product that is available in name brand and store brand, and once again I have no real experience with store brands. I’m sure that if the sunscreen contains the proper chemicals and smells OK, it’d be worth a try if it saves you money. But try a small size first, just in case.
Try to use soap or bath gel that cleans your skin without drying it out too much. If your skin oils are depleted, the skin will just make more to replenish what was lost. If your skin tends to break out, the natural impulse is to scrub away all that oil with vigor, but that might not be the best course of action. Your skin is something that doesn’t need to be squeaky clean!
If you apply a moisturizer to your skin, do it with a lighter hand. A small amount usually goes a long way, and since your skin is producing more oil in response to the warmer air, you won’t need as much lotion to make sure your skin is soft and your ink is bright.
Do you have favorite skin care products you’d like to recommend?