Oh, the Ashiness of it All

Camille Osumah

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Being of my skin color in South Windsor I have been the source of many revelations and cultural knowledge for many of my friends throughout the years. However, every now and then my friends teach me something. Their relationship with lotion, or lack thereof, is one of those new lessons for me.

It was only just this past week I realized the great lotion problem. In actuality, my friends have already made fun of me for how disturbed I was by the facts I’m about to tell you, but hey it was a big thing for me personally.

Lots of people, especially those with less melanin in their skin, do not wear or at least consistently apply lotion to their body. And I’m not talking about that watery lotion people put on their hands every now and then. Or facial moisturizer you apply. I’m talking lotion, body lotion you put on one to two times a day. On your legs, your arms, and feet.

Never in my life had I realized that not everyone uses lotion like I do. In my family lotion is a crucial part of hygiene. For as long as I can remember my parents were either rubbing me down in lotion or constantly reminding me to put some on before I go out. The same story goes for many of my friends. Really, my basepoint of understanding white people came from my childhood friend. To me, what she and her family did was what must be typical for all white families. Her family was as much of a moisturized family as mine was. From there little kid me deduced that everyone’s family must be like this. Up until now I had never questioned that.

And then it happens, while comparing what lotions we use and carry in our backpacks, my friend questions how I can tolerate lotion and it’s “greasy” feeling. Immediately confused, I asked him how can he not be used to lotion if he wears it everyday. He looked at me, straight in the eye and told me that he doesn’t wear lotion at all. Now, from this somehow minor fact to him my mind was blown. My mouth agape my fellow lotion enthusiast explained to the dry boy that lotion is very important to us and what exactly to be ashy meant. Despite the cultural differences and appearance of our skin when dry there are so many benefits to lotion. To name just a few: you are more likely to develop wrinkles when you opt out of moisturizing your skin, dry skin aggravates acne and can cause irritation that makes you itch.

So, despite your skin color. Please, wear lotion. Not only is scientifically proven to better your health and appearance, but personally I just feel better with it.  The saying is that “Black don’t crack”. But maybe, just maybe it’s more of the fact that the majority of Black people use lotion and that healthy habit reduces the stereotypical signs of aging.

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