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My hands start to crack every winter from our dry air, often having them in water. Hand lotion does not seem to help. I remembered how well Boudreaux's Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment worked for my babies so I thought I'd try it. It really works well to help my skin heal and prevent more cracking. Try it overnight with cotton gloves on your hands for best results.
Source: Trial and error
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What works best for very dry cracked hands?
By Donna from Foymount, Ontario
I use "Bag Balm" (it is used on cows' udders when they are in the cold all the time - sounds gross but works like you wouldn't believe!) and either cotton or latex gloves - whatever I can get my hands on (no pun). Just put the balm on and cover it up overnight. After a couple of nights, my hands and cuticles are incredibly soft and there's no more cracks! I use it on my feet, too, with a pair of socks. (My husband didn't like the idea of socks and gloves but when he saw the difference, he changed his mind.) You don't need to do this every night for the rest of your life.
The little green metal can will last for a long time since you only need a little bit each time. You can find it in drug stores, farm supply, pet stores.
If this doesn't sound so appealing, you can also buy a bottle of grapeseed and/or avocado oil and massage onto your skin, you don't need much but these oils are more expensive. These work much better than most oils because they absorb better and offer healing properties not found in other oils. Watch out for lotions with mineral oil because surprisingly that dries the skin - maybe to guarantee continued use?
I worked in a warehouse (very cold) and tried many products. The best thing that I found was a product used for very dry and very cracked feet. It comes in a stick form.
I've taught high school pottery for 30 years and also throw during the summer. The best way to exfoliate is to put a teaspoon of sugar in your hand and squirt a bit of soap on top. Scrub all over and between fingers without water. Wash the concoction off. Hands will be smooth. At night for dry hands and feet, slather Vaseline and put white cotton socks on your feet and cotton gloves on your hands. The next morning, you will be rewarded with smooth skin. I've never had dry hands and I work with clay with students 7 hours a day!
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My hands and feet get very dry and ashy despite putting on very good quality creams. Any tips to get these areas smooth and soft? Thanks.
I am in love with aloe vera gel. I have recently changed out the products I use that rate poorly at the skin deep cosmetic database. Check it out at :
I use aloe vera gel as my only moisturizer, shave gel, and leave in conditioner. When I shave using aloe gel my legs are so soft I have no need for additional lotion. I love that when I use it for a hand cream it seeps right into my hands leaving them soft and silky without that clogged, greasy lotion feel. I like to use Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Gelly. Make sure you by aloe that is alcohol free with no added dyes or fragrance. I hope you find something that works. (08/02/2007)
My dry skin and hands are related to removal of my thyroid and diabetes. I have used many of the methods listed, but I continually fall back on plain olive oil. I keep a small amount near where I sit at my table and when I notice or scratch on goes the oil, just a small amount. It absorbs completely without greasiness.
I concur completely about lotions with alcohol and alcohol type ingredients, all of which dry skin.
I also use hand soap with Shea butter at the kitchen sink. I love it.
So, that's my two: olive oil and Shea butter in hand cleaners.
Good luck. (08/03/2007)
I have very dry skin also, I have lymphedema in one of my legs and it causes the skin to be extremely dry, I use Gold Bond lotion, it has medicine in it to help. This stuff is really good. (08/03/2007)
Something I like to do is really buff my hands and other areas really good. You can buy sugar scrubs, but I usually will whisk an egg white just until it's not all bubbly. Then I dip my hands in the egg whites and rub together really well, then dip my hands in sugar, and rub vigorously. I will repeat, not rinsing in between, and then if I have time, I'll let it sit on my hands for about 5 minutes. After that, I wash my hands well with warm soapy water, and then apply a good moisturizing hand cream.
I use Avon Moisture Therapy Intensive Hand Cream For Extremely Dry Skin. That's what it's actually called. And if you bathe, rather than shower, put a little Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil in your bath water and just soak in it.
Vaseline on the hands with socks or gloves on your hands is a good tip, too. I saw that mentioned. But I toss and turn, and even with socks or gloves, the Vaseline gets on my face and in my hair.
I've tried the Crisco, and I didn't like it.
Hope you find something that helps. (08/05/2007)
Try this recipe. It works wonders.
This is such a simple way of making your hands (and anywhere on your body) soft, silky and smooth.
These techniques will make your hands noticeably soft, smooth and gorgeous; I use this "routine" once a week to keep them looking nice and feeling soft. Also, at night, you could apply a thick layer of EVOO to skin and wear cotton socks/gloves while you sleep to make them silky and moisturized in the morning. (09/01/2007)
I had dry skin all over my body due to an under active thyroid, and I tried everything on the market, and the doctor ran out of ideas too, then someone suggested one part glycerin to three parts water, in a spray bottle.
Now my hands, that were so dry they cracked and bled daily, are smooth and soft, and I don't have to even use it every day. (despite doing the washing up by hand.) As for the rest of me, well let's just say my skin looks about 20 years younger than I really am.
I really wish I had heard about this years ago, as I would have literally saved a fortune. (09/01/2007)
When you put some cream on your hands your body thinks it is living in a "greasy" environment and doesn't need to add any softening stuff from the inside. That's why your hands get dry.
Instead you should do nothing, and let your body adapt to the environment you do live in. It can be a good idea to try not to wash your hands at all for 12 hours each day (say, seven in the evening to seven in the morning) to give your skin some "rest". Also, avoid soaps with "moisturisers", as this is just a stealthy form of skin cream.
On cold winter days you should wear gloves, preferably of the kind where the thumb is in one "pocket" and the rest of the fingers in another "pocket". They should be made of a material that doesn't let the wind through, e.g. leather or nylon. Avoid knitted gloves. Put on the gloves every time you go out, as soon as you get out, even if it's just to put a bag in the trash. If your hands feel a little sweaty when you take the gloves off then you are doing it right. The sweat contains softening chemicals, and since that sweat comes from the part of the skin that needs it your body won't misinterpret it.
Also, make sure to drink water, because if you're dry on the inside you'll also end up being dry on the outside. I've seen that happen to somebody, and after she started drinking properly the problem disappeared.
My mother-in-law was diabetic, and she used Cornhuskers lotion. It is a clear thick gel, but it worked great. I have also tried Mane and Tail hoof cream. It was originally designed to keep horses hooves from splitting. It works great for my feet, especially my heels, and my hands. It is also great for those that have dry brittle fingernails. The only drawback is that it isn't all that great smelling. Maybe mixing it with a bit of scent would help that. Never tried to do it though. I'm just glad I have something that works for my dry skin. (09/09/2007)