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dry cracking hands

898 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  BabyBumblebee
My hands are super dry and yet not dry. I had to take off my wedding rings because I was getting really rough skin under the bands that was starting to break and ooze. I have small cuts all over my hands even though I don't remember doing anything to cause them. The other day I felt an irritation on my thumb while I was playing a video game (not something that could cause an injury of this type) and looked down to find my thumb covered in blood. There was a crater of missing skin in my thumb.

I'm not sure, but I think I may be developing excema. Its really common in my family, but I've never dealt with it on my hands before. I am going to go see a doc eventually, but frankly, I'd rather just try to solve the problem since the wait to see a dermatologist is long.

Can anyone recommend a really good moisturizer?
Does anyone have experience with skin that is cracking and/or sloughing off in little patches?
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If you are experiencing it on your hands only, you probably don't have eczema, but a fungal infection and/or contact dermatitis.

My hands used to do that a little, and it's because I had fungal/yeast infections and contact dermatitis on my hands from harsh cleaners and perhaps, old rubber gloves that harbored some mildew (from water getting into it). It doesn't help if you are allergic to certain chemicals or molds either. Contact dermatitis can look like little blisters that pop and ooze watery fluids. The blisters can be tiny like pin-heads, or large.

You may try wearing new, dry gloves without latex when you clean, and switching to vinegar and baking soda. Try remembering to wear gloves when you dust, and do the dishes or put away dishes in the dishwasher. You may even need to wear gloves when chopping veggies and fruits, especially acidic ones like tomatoes, oranges, peaches, etc.

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap if you're poking around in areas that haven't been touched lately - like old boxes, dusty cabinets, or the like. They may have some mold spores or dust on them that you're allergic to. If you use baby wipes on your child, try switching to an alcohol and scent-free type and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning your baby.

If you can switch to perfume-free, dye-free products, start doing so.

Purchasing some anti-fungal creams used for jock-itch or other fungal infections can help a lot. Try Lotrimin or Tinactin.

Also, fungal infections can be cured using tea tree oil and/or apple cider vinegar. It'll probably sting because you have open wounds, but perhaps you can dilute the oils in a lot of water at first and soak your hands in them a little bit at a time or dab the oils diluted on a cotton ball and apply it to your hands until the open sores heal.

To keep your hands moisturized, buy some Palmer's Cocoa butter (in a jar), or Shea Butter. It'll form a breathable barrier on your hands that will seal in some moisture, but will shield it from everyday hand washing.

Cracked hands hurt like a bitch, I know - I hope it gets better.

You can try these remedies before going to your doctor. You may not only need to go to a dermatologist, but you may need to see an allergy specialist as well.
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I get a rash like what you describe under your ring, my doctors have told me it is excema. Mine does not respond well to being heavily moisturized, gloves over moisturizer isn't an option for me. My doctors used to give me a cream and tell me to apply it then glove or bag the hand - worst idea ever! Holding in the dampness makes it worse.

Avoiding the triggers in the first place has been my best strategy to deal with it but for the inevitable breakout under my ring, unrefined shea butter is the most helpful thing I've used.
It sounds like contact dermatitis to me. I've had it forever. It actually can come on and be made worse by too much water. I used to be a pastry chef and it was just horrible because I had to wash my hand so much. I didn't wear rings for several years because my hands were so bad. You really need a prescription for it. It is pretty much the only thing I go to the doctor for. I also use a good lotion like Eucerin at the same time. (natural oils or moisurizers don't work) If I see a small patch coming on I go like crazy with lotion before the bumps form and start to ooze or the skin cracks. It sounds like yours is out of control and you need medication. I tried the other options that have been reccomended thinking it was fungus, nope, tea tree oil, nope, (although I do use this on my feet and it's great) I did all kinds of stuff in nutritional healing but the prescription is all that works. You can take benedryl if you have the opportunity to help manage the itch and discomfort(kind of hard with kids to take care of). You really don't need to see a dermatologist, any doctor can write a script. It's betamethasone dipropionate cream. One tube lasts forever. If it comes with re-fills you only have to go the the doctors every year or two.

Basically, when you start the treatment you need to soak your hands, dry them very well, put the cream on your areas - just a very little bit goes a long way- and moisturize like crazy. It takes a while for the treatment to work because it takes the outbreak through it's paces so it get's worse first and then it get's better. This is why I moisturize like crazy to avoid having a full blown outbreak - it's a pain in the rear. You have to be very diligent. It can help to wear cotton gloves if you can find them. Always wear latex or other kind of rubber gloves to clean and wash dishes. (wear them OVER the cotton gloves if you can.) If anyone ever watched me they would think I were the most disgusting person in the world but once I'm moisturized I will not wash my hands unless I have to. Personally I think all the hand washing that goes on is out of control to begin with and we are more than capable of dealing with germs! (obviously I couldn't do that when I was a professional chef)
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You're right, it's awful having the little oozing blisters. Mine went away after I changed out all the gloves in my home (I think a few had some tears and water could leak a little in them - causing bacterial growth) and I quit touching the wipe-rags Pledge and Windex on them with bare hands when I cleaned.
If you want to avoid petroleum based products, you can try slathering your hands with olive oil.
I totally recommend the Body Shop's Hemp stuff -- my mom has really had cracked hands, and ecxema and this totally cleared it up. Not the most natural stuff on the planet, but better than some.
My hands get super dry, they have never actually bled but it looked like they would any second. My last 3 fingers on my right hand get so wrinkly that you can't even see my finger print (they couldn't get my print at the last job I had
). I also get cracks in my thumbs, actually, they are there right now errrr. I have never been to a dermatologist, I hate dr's and they will just give me some chemical to put on my skin, ick
Lately i've been putting lanolin on my skin to soften it up a bit. I'll be peeking in to read others responses!
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I've had excellent results from using Crisco. I wash and don't dry (just sort of shake off the excess), slather on Crisco and rub until it feels dry-ish. Then I put on a covering (cotton gloves or socks) overnight. In the morning, my skin is all soft.

Crisco is easier than oil to me - easier to deal with, since it's not liquid. And I feel better about using it than any petroleum product.

Originally Posted by CarolynnMarilynn
I totally recommend the Body Shop's Hemp stuff -- my mom has really had cracked hands, and ecxema and this totally cleared it up. Not the most natural stuff on the planet, but better than some.
Oh great. Body Shop is now owned by L'Oreal which is 33% owned by Nestle. Now I have to find an ethical substitution.
Sorry to hear about your hands.
Mine are pretty dry too, and I have a couple patches of itchy, angry skin that develop when I don't dry my hands well enough. They seem to be particularly itchy as an allergic response to something environmental (exactly what I'm not sure, but I'm allergic to trees, mold, dust, pollen, etc....). One has since healed (for the most part), but seems to have left almost a scar behind. Now I have one on my other hand.

I've tried taking homeopathic sulphur in pellet form and also slathering some Burt's Bees Hand Salve on the patchy parts. These things have helped somewhat. They're not cures, but they do help alleviate some of the discomfort.
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I have psoriatic exzema, most obviously on my hands, and although I do have to resort to high % h/c cream in the winter this is what works for me the rest of the time.

I exfoliate my hands daily by pouring a tbs or so of sugar and a good dollop of EVOO (enough to make a liquid carrier for the sugar) and just *gently* massaging it over my hands, concentrating on any areas that have been particularly crocodile-ey! It's great, because it takes the scales off, but really moisturises too. Then I just rinse my hands with warm water, and pat them dry - no soap. If you can do this before bed, and then put some light cotton manicure gloves on it wil help to seal the moisture in.

Also, definitely avoid too-hot water, detergents, and make sure that when you are using soap on your hands that you are rinsing really thoroughly, especially between your fingers, and on your wrists.

If you can get some, beeswax makes a really good salve for the deep cracks too.
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