Hand-washing to avoid picking up a cold or flu virus is sound advice any time of year, especially during the winter. The one drawback is that soap can strip the skin’s natural oils and dry it out.
Many people’s hands become chapped, with red knuckles and sore fingertips that have split open.
Cracked fingertips can make it difficult to button a shirt, type on a keyboard, or handle a sewing needle, paintbrush, or screwdriver. Moisturizers may help, but they need to be reapplied every time your hands are washed.
Dermatologists often recommend applying the greasiest product available, such as plain petroleum jelly, and then putting on lightweight cotton gloves for an overnight treatment. Such gloves are available online.
People who prefer not to use petroleum products on their skin can substitute coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, and especially popular as a moisturizer. Olive oil also has its fans.
Surprisingly, some solutions for dry hands and cracked fingertips are acidic. One drugstore moisturizer that many people like is Acid Mantle.
Other readers find that vinegar is less expensive and just as helpful. Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar have been found to alleviate dry skin. However, applying even a diluted vinegar solution to skin that is cracked or split can be quite painful.
Some readers have found that sealing the splits in fingertips speeds healing. Many use lip balm, such as ChapStick, as a portable, temporary fingertip moisturizer. Others go for a more long-lasting fix.
Many people report that instant glue works very well to seal cracks and speed healing. An alternative in pharmacies is a liquid bandage product that has been formulated for use on the skin. It is much less likely to be irritating.
Many folks find that an antifungal product can be helpful. Tea tree oil is one favorite ingredient, as one reader, Jerry, attested: “At night, I put tea tree oil on any cracks and cover them with a smear of Aquaphor, Vaseline or ChapStick, with a bandage over that. By morning those sore cracks are very much improved.”
Joanne prefers Gold Bond hand cream: “My daughter and son-in-law mentioned using Gold Bond hand cream. I had tried many different hand creams in the past to no avail, but I decided to give it a try. I got marvelous results for my cracked, painful fingertips.
“The aloe in the healing lotion was wonderful and the shea butter keeps the hands smooth. I am taking care of my 6-year-old granddaughter and my 10-month-old grandson, so hand-washing is top priority this winter.”
Even Vicks VapoRub has its enthusiasts, perhaps because it combines petrolatum with anti-fungal herbal oils.
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