When I just think about walking around New York City in the winter, I can start to feel my cheeks burn. That’s usually the prelude to the red, dry, scaly situation that develops in November and lasts till spring. This winter, I’ll be trying a solution that has been tested in an entirely different climate—the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Aesthetician Sara Damelio originally developed Skincando Combat-Ready Balm for civilians with major skin problems like rough, dry skin; irritation and redness; and acne that scars. But when a soldier’s wife ordered some, and asked Damelio about shipping it to Iraq for the skin problems he was having, that made Damelio target the military. She quickly discovered that the salve was ammunition for soldiers fighting extreme sun exposure, sand-flea bites, and desert-dry skin.
She’s not capitalizing on the situation. A non-profit arm of Skincando called Operation Sand Flea allows you to purchase products at wholesale prices with free shipping to service people and troops. One more good turn: Unlike other hard-core creams, Combat-Ready Balm is made with all-natural ingredients like coconut oil, black tea, and shea butter. Skincando sent me one to try, and my hands immediately felt silky and nourished.
Damelio has reams of emails from soldiers telling how much it’s helped them, so I asked my Iraq-war-veteran boyfriend if he’d heard of it. He hadn’t, but admitted that he wished he had, as he dug into my sample. “I had horrible skin problems when I was over there,” he said.
If Combat-Ready Balm can take on war-torn deserts, we’ll see how it stands up to its newest enemy—50-mph gusts of icy wind rushing through the space between New York City skyscrapers.
-Lisa Elaine Held