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All Hail Curel

By Amalah

This is an emergency! I swear!

I am having some serious issues with a little problem I like to call SWDS (Severe Winter Dry Skin). It has gotten to the point that I have tons of cracks and very scary looking dry patches all over my hands.
I work in a health services related field, and so I am constantly washing washing washing my hands. I am also quite the little germaphobe, which doesn’t really help my seemingly lost cause since that means I wash my hands 50 gazillion more times when I get home from work. I don’t always have time to moisturize right after washing my hands, but I usually try to get some lotion on them whenver I can.

I am at a loss. I have tried many lotions…and have many 3/4 full bottles of lotion sitting around just mocking me.

I am looking for a good quality (and preferrably fragrance free) lotion or some sort of treatment that you could possibly think of to combat the harsh antibacterial soaps I am required to use at work, and also the incredibly crappy weather that Minnesota dishes out this time of year. HOLY RUN ON BATMAN!
Anyhow, since I know for a FACT that you are the goddess of all that is beauty supplies I guess I was just hoping that you could help my poor little dry self.

-Freezedried in MN

I know, I know. I kind of addressed this topic already, but now that we’re in the thick of January and (at least around here) it’s actually SNOWING and stuff instead of being 70 degrees, I think it bears repeating.

Plus, this time I have testimonials! Look!

curel.jpg“The Curel lotion is the best. I have infuriatingly dry skin and the Curel is the answer. Thanks Again — Melissa”

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I love Curel! I have always had dry, flaky, yucky skin. I would have never tried Curel, but when I saw it on the Smackdown, I thought, what’s the worst that can happen…I waste $7 on top of the $100+ I’ve spent on other lotions that haven’t worked. And then I found it for $4.50 at Target. Thanks! (I’ve used it on my son, too, and he says thank you.) — Lisa”
“I just wanted to say thank you for cluing us in to Curel as a cure for eczema! Our son has suffered from horrible eczema since he was only a few months old-itchy, blistering eczema. We used to have to touch up pictures of his face online because it was so bad. We tried every ointment, cream, lotion, oil, prescription hydro cortisone, anything that people and Dr.s recommended. He itched his way through 3 years! But the Curel has kept the nasty stuff at bay so far even in the dryness of Santa Fe, NM when we visited my parents for Christmas. The Curel folks are really missing the boat by not marketing constantly to moms and pediatricians, this stuff is a miracle! Honestly, I can’t thank you enough! — April”

“Amy, Thanks so much for answering my question about perfume and recruiting two others to help, too! You all gave me great ideas and in fact, I bought some Amazing Grace and put it with my Curel in the blue bottle (also thanks to you!) and it didn’t bother me at all! Awesome! Jae”

Our entire household has switched to Curel this winter, and using it just once a day (after my shower) has kept the winter flakiness at bay. I’m not ripping stockings with the sheer force of my snaggy, crappy skin. Jason isn’t itching like crazy. And Noah’s eczema has reared its ugly head exactly once, and that was my fault because I got selfish and tried to make him smell like flowers.

I have no idea why Curel works so much better than the average drugstore or specialty lotion. But it does, and since (as April pointed out) the Curel folks aren’t marketing the stuff to the skies like they really should, I’m going to do it for them.

Published January 22, 2007. Last updated October 11, 2017.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Sara

    January 22, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    I also really love Alba Botanica’s Very Emolient lotion. Although it’s lighter, it does a good job without being heavy or oily. It comes unscented and is great as a daily body lotion.

  • mdvelazquez

    January 22, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    How did I miss the Curel recommendation the first time around?

  • aly

    January 22, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    ok, i cannot testify to curel BUT! my husband has horrible, dry, irish skin. now combine that with the fact that we live in buffalo ny (although temps here have been downright WARM lately– 26 degrees today! wow!) also results in the horrible cracks in his hands (ow ow ow) and dry, scaly patches of red all over his hands. i’ve managed to convince him to rub his hands liberally with vasoline before bed and then encase his hands in cotton gloves overnight(or in his case, clean cotton socks). he HATES this, but at the same time his hands are MUCH MUCH better. no more dry patches! no more cracks in his hands! also, burt’s bees hand repair creme is a good product.

  • sacajawea

    January 22, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Do you have a fragrance free alternative to Curel? I’ve been using Aveeno, which I like but it’s not all that. Eucerin is WAAAYYY too greasy.

  • leahkay

    January 22, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Neutrogena has some medical-grade no-frills stuff that smells like nothing. My dad swears by it.

  • andrea0418

    January 22, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Yep, I have been using the fragrance free Curel as my facial lotion everyday for…gosh, years now.
    It doesn’t cause breakouts, is non-greasy and sinks in and lasts.
    I was worried when they changed the packaging that they had changed the formula, but it appears not!
    Oh, how I love my FF Curel!

  • sacajawea

    January 22, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Fragrance Free Curel! Thank you Amalah.

  • suziwon

    January 22, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I work as a chemist for a water reclamation facility. It’s not as gross as you might think, however, it does make one wash their hands far more than most. I use lotion regularly, and still find myself with chapped, cracked skin. When it gets to this point, I usually use a round or two of Aquaphor at night. For those not familiar with it, it’s the consistency of vaseline, which makes it less than plesant for daytime use. However, since it heals the cuts and chapped skin, I’m willing to endure it on occasion (about once or twice a month). A coworked also discovered a trick…after applying the Aquaphor, use a kleenex on the palms of your hands to get rid of the worst of the residue.
    If the Curel doesn’t work, I’d recommend doing a couple of applications of the Aquaphor, and then give the Curel another go.

  • Sally

    January 23, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Does this advice also hold true for the “Ultra Healing” version? I bought this one by mistake the last time I was in the States and am just about to start the bottle – also, confusingly, blue!

  • Mary Ross

    January 23, 2007 at 7:02 am

    I have to second the recommendation for Aquaphor. If you use just a tiny bit when your hands are still damp from washing, it will moisturize like crazy and won’t be too greasy.
    That said, I do also love Curel and have a tube of the Ultra Healing on my desk at work.

  • kaitkait

    January 23, 2007 at 9:14 am

    I’ve been using Eucerin and Aquaphor interchangeably, but I hate both. They’re way too goopy for me to handle, especially at work, and I can’t use either on my face! I work with paper all day, and the paper cuts between my fingers are really starting to take their toll. I’ve been hunting for a proper substitute. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Suzy Q

    January 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    OMG! I was SO going to send you an email about how much I love, love, love this stuff, Amy! But I am a lazy-ass procrastinator. I am a whiter-than-white natural strawberry blond living in Miami, where you might think the constant 110% humidity would give me soft, moist skin. You would be wrong.
    I tried oh-so-many lotions for my dry, dry skin. And then I saw your recommendation for Curel. Having nothing left to lose but a few more bucks, I tried it. And holy hell, it works! WAY better than the other more-pricey ones, too. I’m still sort of in shock every time I use it.
    Truly, if it works for me, it’ll work for anyone. Ok, I’ll end my testimonial now. LOVE!

  • TheHolls

    January 24, 2007 at 9:44 am

    A quick plug for the Cetaphil cream in a tub… I just wrote a story on what dermatologists use for their own skincare regimens, and that one came up again and again, along with the Cetaphil cleansers. A tip that’s been recommended to me is to make sure to use your lotion of choice ASAP after you shower, while your skin is still somewhat damp. I guess it helps with absorption.

  • Virginia Gal

    January 24, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I’ve noticed that my skin will absorb a lot more lotion (of whichever brand) post-shower in the small bathroom of my ski condo than in my large bathroom at home. The small bathroom gets really steamed up. The bathroom at home doesn’t steam up, ever. Without the steamy bathroom, my skin dries out in the short time it takes to put in my contacts post-shower. Thus, I use different lotions – a heavier one at the condo because my skin will absorb it, and a lighter one at home that doesn’t leave me feeling greasy the rest of the day.

  • Lost in D.C.

    January 24, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I’ve had scaly skin ever since having my kid a year ago, and nothing — Eucerin, Lubriderm, Gold Bond — was working. I bought Curel after reading this, and this is the first 48 hours I’ve spent SMOOTH in months. Too bad it’s not shorts weather! Maybe I can get my husband to take me out to some place where I can wear a semi-whore-y skirt this weekend.

  • Susan

    January 25, 2007 at 12:42 am

    I love the Curel year around, but in winter I tweek it a little. I pour out as much of the lotion as possible into large baggie and add small jar of vaseline and a small bottle of vitamin E oil. Squish it around and cut off tip and put back into bottle.

  • Kate

    January 25, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I just bought some Curel the other day and have been using it on my face. This stuff is the best. Even in 19 degree weather, my face is soft and not tight at all. I should note,though, it seems like all varieties come in a blue bottle, at least around here.

  • Lena

    January 25, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Curel has an Ultra Healing lotion just for Winter out right now (has snowflakes on the bottle – is cute). It ROCKS my scaley legs.
    Can’t believe you didn’t mention it – bad smackdowner.

  • Mindy

    January 26, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for the advice. I’m a Saskatchewan prairie girl who’s lived with cracked, dry, and bleeding hands (and now palms too) for my entire life. Summer isn’t so bad, but since our winters last about 10 months of the year… well, it’s just not good. I’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to make even the slightest difference. This lotion worked immediately, and the effects last! Even after washing my hands. I can’t stop looking at and touching my hands. Next stop – my snakeskin legs!

  • *Otter *

    January 26, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I’d like to add cradle cap to the things that Curel clears up. My three month old had lizard scalp prior to reading your post and I figured I’d give it a try. It’s gone! (Um, not the scalp, just to be clear here, lest you think that the lotion has hydrochloric acid in it or something.)

  • supa

    February 5, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I bought a sample size of Curel during a Target binge this morning (remembering this post) and I am, a mere two hours later, a raving convert.
    I can’t wait to go home and slather it all over my kid and see if it does equally marvelous things to his skin as well.

  • wiz

    December 11, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve been a broken record for years about the amazing powers of Curel for dry skin and eczema. I ditto all the other praises on here.