Monday, December 14, 2009

Help for cracked and bleeding hands

I learned a few things while working for USPS: Handling all that paper dries out your hands. Mail is dirty, even when it looks clean, and newsprint will turn your hands black rather quickly, then smudge any other paper you handle, so I found myself washing my hands a lot. When you spend a lot of time outdoors in all weathers, you hands get even drier.

I tried every lotion and hand cream I could find. The most effective cost about $12-15 a jar, and all had one thing in common: they listed petrolatum as the active ingredient. That's right, good ol' Vaseline. I can get a small jar of the off-brand petroleum jelly for $2-3 or a big jar for $4-5. Dab a tiny bit as needed, just to the areas that need it. Gently spread it, just enough to cover the area. Don't try to "rub it in." Lotions and hand creams don't "moisturize". The most effective ones don't contain water. They seal in the water that is already in and between your skin cells.

Generally, my hands are driest on the backs, especially around the joints. When they are dirty, the dirt is mostly (sometimes entirely) on the palms. Focus your scrubbing where the dirt is. If you have a smudge on your thumb that you're trying not to spread to other papers, just wash that smudge. There will be time for a thorough cleaning later


Blogger Arby said...

I have a tin of bag balm that works amazingly well...when I remember to use it. As painful as my dry, cracked skin is, I frequently forget to moisturize. I'm kinda dumb that way.

December 14, 2009 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Mama Bear said...

"they listed petrolatum as the active ingredient. That's right, good ol' Vaseline."

You are so right. I have five creams, in my med cart at work, all have the same active ingredient Vaseline. Some of these are very expensive creams. I think we need some Vaseline at home.

December 15, 2009 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Arby said...

May the Peace, Love, and saving Grace of our risen savior Jesus Christ be visited upon you now and always. Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009 at 10:39 AM  

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