I've got prune hands

At the risk of sounding all girly, I have to say: My hands are a mess.
I always have dry skin and in the winters I have a painful and annoying problem - my fingertips will get so dry and chapped that they will crack. Owie. I work in a lab where you wear gloves a lot and then have to wash your hands with special strong soaps about 5 zillion times a day...(don't even talk about all the isogel crap we have to use) and with even more hours than normal with my MSc now that the worst of winter has hit my hands look like shrivelled old prunes. My main beef is not appearance - it just bloody well hurts. It's been happening a lot this year and just when one heals another cracks up. Currently I have two cracked fingers and a thumb on my right hand. Yes. Typing kinda hurts. And it's a contamination issue in the lab as it's technically an open wound.

The main cure for it is supposedly to crazy glue the cracks together (I'm not kidding - it's the only way to heal the bad ones -my doctor said to) and put lotion on all the time (which I do) and use super moisturizing stuff on your hands at night so they can heal. I try to do this but I can't seem to find something that doesn't feel slimy and super gross that will actually work. Stuff like glycosomed makes me feel like my hands are dirty...and I know I could rub petroleum jelly on my hands before going to bed but ew ew ew you can feel it and it's sticky and yucky and yes...I have tactile issues. It's tricky.

The other issue is the scent of some of these things. In the past my emergency remedy has been this hippy hand cream I found at the health food store - all natural stuff with extracts and cocoa butter and beeswax and it works sometimes, but smells strongly due to all the stuff in it. Nothing says sexy like going to bed smelling like a pinecone. Other pepperminty stuff I had that worked OK was vetoed by J as it made me smell "like a rancid candycane" (it really did smell horrid). Nevertheless, I think I will need to go hunting for something else because this hand cracking thing has got to stop. I have a lot of typing to do for my class. And it hurts.
I'm willing to try anything at this point. I may even get in touch with my granny side and hunt down some Gold Bond medicated lotion. (despite the fact that the thought of it makes me feel like I need dentures and bifocals...)
Anyone have any suggestions for cracked dry hands? I'm willing to try it. Especially if it's come cool make-it-yourself stuff...



Tux said…
My husband is an autobody mechanic and gets terrible cracks on his fingers. I have found Dermal Therapy product very helpful. We typically use the 15% urea formula, but your hands sound bad enough for 20%.

Good Luck.
the Bag Lady said…
I can definitely relate! When I worked as a dental assistant, I had the same problem (still do, but it was worse when I was wearing gloves and washing my hands so frequently).

The trick that works for me is to use a generous amount of Ozonol every night - I know it smells bad, but it really helps, and seriously, would you rather smell funny or hurt?

Believe it or not, I have found that using some types of lotions and creams made it worse! One of the best I've found is a London Drugs store brand "Oatmeal Moisturizing Lotion" - it seems to help a bit, doesn't have perfumes, which sometimes make the problem worse.

The type of gloves you use in the lab might have something to do with it, too. Using powder-free gloves helps. If they are nitrile, you might want to try vinyl.
Anonymous said…
E45 is the one we all talk about here... I kept getting dry patches on my hands, and regular applications of E45 seemed to solve it. Recently I went to doc with more dry patches on my hands and she prescribed something called Doublebase Gel... I think Mum said you don't need a prescription for it; perhaps it can be bought over the counter. That tends to have a rather sticky feeling too, as though it has put a light clingfilm on your skin, but I'm amused by the bottle it came in, with a wobbly white foam visible inside. I said to Mum it looks like Who medicine for folks living in Whosville. The dry patches went away anyway, and I hadn't used either the E45 or the Doublebase Gel... go figure!

But the doc said I was to get into the habit of wearing gloves everywhere (I tend not to). I used to think the dryness was due to central heating, but, come to think of it, it got very bad when we lost our heating for 3 days and nights, and the tap water felt like glacier melts... it was after the heating came back that my skin healed.

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