By September 2020, I’d run out of things to talk to my dog Mars about. He cares very little about skin care, my only passion next to him, and is covered in a thick layer of coarse black fur. So I set up a date with my dermatologist to discuss my worst pandemic skin problems: my knuckles bloody from all hand sanitizer, my forearms scalded by hot water, my scaly wrists from it all, and sleeve rubbing.
She told me to wash my hands with Avene XeraCalm AD Cleansing Oil. That’s a bit of a misnomer: it’s not actually an oil, but a silky, soap-free gel that is washed off in water with no residue or stickiness.
First I parked the bottle by my sink and then it went to the bathroom and then to my shower where I started using it as a hand wash, face wash, and body wash. Even if I don’t burn my fingerprints in hot water to lull myself into a false sense of control during an unprecedented global pandemic, I tend to run dry. Avene Xera Calm is hands down the best all-purpose body cleanser I have ever used. This formula contains no squeaky cleanliness, no sting, no flaking after showering. It’s just smooth moisture that envelops the entire body. I think this is what beauty bloggers are talking about when they talk about acid mantle restoration. (Plus, it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association, which means it’s free of potential irritants.)
I would never deign to use a scented face wash or hand cream, but using a non-perfumed body wash took some getting used to. How did I know I was clean, especially during the Covid era when I didn’t have a comic strip of coriander, cedar, hinoki, and other earthly elements behind me as I walked? But now I’m a total convert to Xera Calm’s neutrality. You don’t need a fragrant body wash anyway. And the dog certainly doesn’t care.