cracked fingertips

Phaedra Geiermann

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I am the kind of person who can't endure a little bit longer fingernails; that means I prefer to cut the nails short. The weather here is quite dry (but I guess the heater that is on all day in winter also counts), and I always get cracked fingertips after some intense garden or houseworks.

Lotion or Vaseline work ok for the hands, but it's much more difficult for the fingertips. Do you have any advice?

I wear gloves sometimes, but gloves cause other issues, too. :(
 
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digitS'

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Umm, would you believe that I am a believer in the value of gloves, Phaedra?

The neighbor had some recent yard work done and one of the landscaper's guys was working with gravel with no gloves. I thought that doing so was just crazy ;)!

If you were here in the states, I'd recommend O'Keefe's Working Hands. It needs to be something other than simple Vaseline. Moisture should be added because, likely, you are washing your hands, often. Mud is an enemy and I don't just mean psychological; it dries out the skin.

Steve
 

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I second trying to find O'Keefe's Working Hands or a similar product if it’s not available. If there’s nothing like that available try getting some very strong lotion and putting a large amount on and then putting on medical gloves and leaving them in there for a while. Basically soaking your hands in the lotion. Sort of like you would a hair treatment. Part of the problem is probably that you are rubbing the lotion off those areas before it gets a chance to soak in good.
 

flowerbug

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i wear gloves most of the time when gardening because of the constant small nicks and cuts that can come from it. it also helps keep blisters from forming or making callouses worse.

the best gloves i like to use are washable light cotton gloves, if you can find hemp ones perhaps those would be better but for now also maybe more expensive. we have some other more waterproof and more flexible plastic coated gloves that i wear for messier work and harder work. both types of gloves help. i don't really like the smell of the plastic coated gloves and eventually they get stiff and hard and cracked and we have to discard them. cotton gloves can end up as worm food. haven't seen hemp gloves here yet. some day... i rarely use the thin nitrile or other types of examining gloves. they don't hold up very well for the kinds of tasks i often do.

i have heard of various lotions and greases that help (bag balm i think was one term used, but udder balm perhaps since those who hand milk would use that). in some cases cracks can get so big and painful that you can glue them back together with superglue. so far i don't need lotions to keep my skin from cracking. i try to drink enough water and i eat peanut butter a lot, no i don't know if either of these actually make a difference or it is just genetics. Mom has troubles with her fingernails cracking. so far that's not been happening to me.
 
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Ridgerunner

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I wear gloves for some things but that's usually leather gloves to protect against blisters or bleeding when pruning, digging, using heavier tools, or working with wire. I've tried cotton gloves for light work but for anything that requires any dexterity they come off immediately. I hardly ever bother with them any more.

My problem is not so much the skin as the fingernails. When I'm playing in the dirt the fingernails break off, leaving sharp jagged blades that can cut and snag. Seems like I'm trimming some fingernails every day. I don't let them get that long to start with. I think the older I get the worse this problem becomes. If it bothered me enough I'd probably try something in my diet or even soak my fingernails in something regularly, but it's just something I live with. To me it's not a big deal, just a minor aggravation.

I don't mind getting dirt under my fingernails and cuticles all that much. I wash dishes in hot soapy water so my hands get clean. I don't wear gloves when washing dishes either, that should also lead to the hands drying out and cracking. I seldom have that problem. When I do, I rub a little hand lotion on them. The dry cracked hands are almost always in the winter when the weather is cooler and the humidity is low. It is humid here. Dew points below 70 F (21 C) are not considered that bad down here in the summer. I think that makes a difference, especially if you spend much time outside away from the air conditioning.

I think genetics has something to do with it too. My skin is naturally very oily. My wife was horrified when she learned that I wash my face with soap every day that I can. If I don't, even at my age I can wind up with blackheads and pimples, specially around the nose.

Phaedra, I don't have any suggestions for you. I imagine you are already using a hand lotion regularly. As much as you cook you have to have your hands in warm soapy water a lot unless you wear gloves when washing dishes. And you are talking about your fingertips, not your hands in general. Is there some activity where you are jamming your fingertips into dirt or some medium that might cause the dirt to get packed under your fingernails? Do you use a brush or certain cleaners to help get the dirt out from under your fingernails and cuticles?
 

Phaedra Geiermann

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Umm, would you believe that I am a believer in the value of gloves, Phaedra?

The neighbor had some recent yard work done and one of the landscaper's guys was working with gravel with no gloves. I thought that doing so was just crazy ;)!

If you were here in the states, I'd recommend O'Keefe's Working Hands. It needs to be something other than simple Vaseline. Moisture should be added because, likely, you are washing your hands, often. Mud is an enemy and I don't just mean psychological; it dries out the skin.

Steve
Thanks Steve, I tried Working Hands and it's quite heavy. And you are right, I also wash my hands quite often. I should find it and try again. :p
 

Phaedra Geiermann

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i wear gloves most of the time when gardening because of the constant small nicks and cuts that can come from it. it also helps keep blisters from forming or making callouses work.

the best gloves i like to use are washable light cotton gloves, if you can find hemp ones perhaps those would be better but for now also maybe more expensive. we have some other more waterproof and more flexible plastic coated gloves that i wear for messier work and harder work. both types of gloves help. i don't really like the smell of the plastic coated gloves and eventually they get stiff and hard and cracked and we have to discard them. cotton gloves can end up as worm food. haven't seen hemp gloves here yet. some day... i rarely use the thin nitrile or other types of examining gloves. they don't hold up very well for the kinds of tasks i often do.

i have heard of various lotions and greases that help (bag balm i think was one term used, but udder balm perhaps since those who hand milk would use that). in some cases cracks can get so big and painful that you can glue them back together with superglue. so far i don't need lotions to keep my skin from cracking. i try to drink enough water and i eat peanut butter a lot, no i don't know if either of these actually make a difference or it is just genetics. Mom has troubles with her fingernails cracking. so far that's not been happening to me.
Hemp gloves! I have to get them and try!

So far I use leather ones for weeding and pruning roses, some mixed plastic and cotton. As you said, the plastic-coated areas always cracked and have to be discarded eventually.

There was a while I used those examining gloves with Latex...oohhhhhh...I didn't realize that can cause allergies. Now I changed to nitrile ones, much better, but they are fragile, too.

Sometimes (if I remember) I used band-aids on my fingers and then wearing gloves before some gardening works as a preventive means. At this moment, three of ten fingers have cracks. :hit

Bag balm and udder balm - I will also find some, thanks! And more water and peanut butter :D :D :D
 

Phaedra Geiermann

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I wear gloves for some things but that's usually leather gloves to protect against blisters or bleeding when pruning, digging, using heavier tools, or working with wire. I've tried cotton gloves for light work but for anything that requires any dexterity they come off immediately. I hardly ever bother with them any more.

My problem is not so much the skin as the fingernails. When I'm playing in the dirt the fingernails break off, leaving sharp jagged blades that can cut and snag. Seems like I'm trimming some fingernails every day. I don't let them get that long to start with. I think the older I get the worse this problem becomes. If it bothered me enough I'd probably try something in my diet or even soak my fingernails in something regularly, but it's just something I live with. To me it's not a big deal, just a minor aggravation.

I don't mind getting dirt under my fingernails and cuticles all that much. I wash dishes in hot soapy water so my hands get clean. I don't wear gloves when washing dishes either, that should also lead to the hands drying out and cracking. I seldom have that problem. When I do, I rub a little hand lotion on them. The dry cracked hands are almost always in the winter when the weather is cooler and the humidity is low. It is humid here. Dew points below 70 F (21 C) are not considered that bad down here in the summer. I think that makes a difference, especially if you spend much time outside away from the air conditioning.

I think genetics has something to do with it too. My skin is naturally very oily. My wife was horrified when she learned that I wash my face with soap every day that I can. If I don't, even at my age I can wind up with blackheads and pimples, specially around the nose.

Phaedra, I don't have any suggestions for you. I imagine you are already using a hand lotion regularly. As much as you cook you have to have your hands in warm soapy water a lot unless you wear gloves when washing dishes. And you are talking about your fingertips, not your hands in general. Is there some activity where you are jamming your fingertips into dirt or some medium that might cause the dirt to get packed under your fingernails? Do you use a brush or certain cleaners to help get the dirt out from under your fingernails and cuticles?
Thanks for your sharing. :D

One friend who has worked in the lab reminded me that I should never wear those examining gloves for more than 30 minutes, and I should always wash my hands after taking them off. I used to wear them for a pretty long time in the past and never washed my hand after using them. Later my husband told me the same thing since many nurses in the hospital he worked in had similar issues (allergy reactions and super dry skin).

I did a lot of daily household cleaning and didn't wear gloves until I felt guilty about my skin, usually too late (I hate wearing anything on my hands, yes, including the wedding ring :lol:). I will apply a thick layer of Vaseline and then wear a pair of thin cotton gloves to sleep - this usually has a magic effect within one to two nights of intensive care. But fingertips are much more difficult to rescue; the crack is already quite obvious when pain appears.

Maybe I should develop a 5-minute fingertip care routine. Only when the cracks happen, you suddenly realize how often you need to use them in all kinds of activities. :p
 

meadow

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so far i don't need lotions to keep my skin from cracking. i try to drink enough water and i eat peanut butter a lot, no i don't know if either of these actually make a difference or it is just genetics. Mom has troubles with her fingernails cracking. so far that's not been happening to me.

Actually, cracked fingertips was a complaint on a private low-fat vegan forum I belonged to for a time. The program was meant to have less than 10% of diet be in the form of fat, but some people (including moderators) began to strive for 0% fat. One of the results was extremely painful cracks forming on fingertips.
 

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