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Rotten Hands.

This happens to me every winter:  I get to work, take off my gloves, log on to my computer, and then realize that a thin line of blood is smeared on my knuckle.  Softens hands, you know.Cracked and mangled, these little hands are.

My hands become so dry and uncomfortable during the bitter cold seasons.  Is it diabetes-related?  Or is it because I have sensitive skin and I wash my hands every 35 minutes?  Or is it just one of those Things?

My desk at work looks like CVS – I have more little bottles of hand lotion stashed in the drawers than I know what to do with.  Sometimes, I slather it liberally and put my gloves back on, though that makes all attempts at normal typing look like this:  lo’]po9ih32 klqj 49u dfa’’. 

I stay very hydrated (hence, the washing my hands every 35 minutes) and my blood sugars aren’t running high at the moment, so what gives?

I’ve tried everything from Johnson’s softlotion to a litany of Bath and Body Works stuff.  I smell gorgeous at all times, thanks to my rotten hands.  But they still ache.  And they look horrendous, like I’m the crypt keeper.  It doesn’t help that I’m back to biting my nails and chewing my cuticles, not to mention the hard pads of scar tissue on my fingertips from testing all day long.  I’m convinced that if I look closely enough, I’ll see a miniature tumbleweed roll across the desert that my knuckles have become.

My little hands are horrific at the moment.

I’m waiting for that moment when I stop my manicurist on the street and say, “Look Madge, I soaked them!”  Maybe Palmolive is the answer.  That’s one I haven’t tried yet.

Anyone have a remedy for this?  My hands thank you in advance. 

EDIT:  This Jergens stuff looks mighty fine to me.  Eh, John?


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My dad has the same problem.. possibly worse (he's got more than a thin streak of blood.. but I haven't seen your hands to compare) He uses some sort of Nutrigena lotion - I want to say something like "intensive therapy" or another extreme-sounding adjective laced tube.

In other news, you have a manicurist? :P

My hands get the same way during this time of year. My face is 35 and my hands are....85.

Since we started using humdifiers throughout our house, my hands have been in much better shape.

I would definitely recommend one for your apartment.

But since you're at work most of the time, putting on lotion right after you wash your hands while they're still damp will work nicely.

Also, maybe buy some of the antibacterial gel to wash your hands instead of soap and water.

I lied. He uses this stuff:


Yes. Apply liberally...


Oh yeah, at night before you go to bed, wet your hands and lightly dry them so that they're still damp, slather on Vaseline and put cotton socks on your hands. Sleep with them on.

It may not keep them soft throughout the day, but it will give your hands time to heal.

My hands were a mess last winter but for some reason they haven't gotten that bad this year (perhaps it's the lack of real "winter" weather we've had here on the east coast?).
My grandmother swears by "Pacquin Plus" lotion for dry skin. It's $5.79 on drugstore.com. Apparently the brand was created for the use of WWII nurses for use on their chapped hands.
This year I have been using Purell Hand Sanitizer Moisture Therapy lotion instead of washing my hands so often. (It kills 99.9% of germs) I put the stuff on constantly because subways? ewww....

I have the same problem every winter. I use Burt's Bees Hand Salve before I go to bed at night. It works great and you have a nice peppermint-y scent too!

Is that the Brad Pitt scent? If only my hands smelled like Brad Pitt. One can dream.

My wife has very bloody knuckles these days. She finds that complaining about it often helps.

Hi Kerri,

Living in San Diego and all, I don't have too much trouble with my hands... but my mom and others have sworn by this hand cream from Restoration Hardware (you may be able to get it other places, but this is where I know it from). Here's the link: http://www.restorationhardware.com/rh/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod1102006&navAction=jump

Good luck with your hands :)

I also have very dry hands. I've had good luck with Eurcerin Orginal. It's a think cream and although it is kind of greasy and thick going on it's helped my skin a lot. I've also resigned myself to putting on lotion a lot, first thing in the morning, before bed, after every hand washing, probably 6-10 times a day.

I use eucerin for this sort of thing. It works especially good for my daughter and her skin, which is so frail, sensitive and is prone to dryness and terrible flare-ups. For gracie’s skin sometimes I’ll do a hydrocortisone ointment, slather on eucerin on top of it, and THEN cover with a little glove or sock. That usually helps overnight, even if I don’t use a glove or sock.


I winced reading this post.

You see, since two years before his diabetes diagnosis, Joseph has had same this problem-- once the weather got cold, his knuckles would become dry, cracked, and even bleed if we didn't stay on top of it.

He still experiences this.

We've tried MANY kinds of lotions, and for a while, Eucerin was our best option.

But then we tried Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion.

This stuff is amazing-- and really, the only thing that actually healed his "cracked and mangled" knuckles literally overnight!

For maintenance, he puts it on in the morning and at night before bed.

I know YMMV, but it may be worth a try...

Good luck!

Hands and feet - and lips. I think I've tried almost everything and the best I ever had was Gene's Vitamin E Creme that I got for next to nothing at Sam's Club. Your post inspired me to search for it online and it is available, but not for next to nothing.

Sandra! I just found the Gold Bond stuff, too. It absorbs quickly and is not greasy. I tried the sample in O Magazine on my daughter's problem "spot" near her elbow and then ran out for a big bottle! Love it. You must try it, Kerri.


I have issues where the skin on my fingers during the winter months just peels off. While there are a variety of over the counter products, I have not found any of them to actually work (although I am partial to No-Crack hand cream sold at Restoration Hardware if I have to choose one).

However, I found that after seeing a demotologist, that the only real remedy is a steroid-based ointment or cream (BTW, steroids only impact blood glucose levels if they are ingested). They are meant to be used only for few days at a time (when your hands are looking really bad or cracked) and they do help accelerate the healing process. One of the most effective one's I've used is prednicarbate skin cream or ointment sold under the brand name Dermatop. It is a corticosteroid and is available only by Rx, but it works while nothing else I've tried does!

I made sugar-free "red" jello today in a red bowl and it made me think of you :)

Sorry, I don't have any miracle lotions for you (I use dove, but it's nothing special...)

I use generic(well,Walmart) brand Aveeno(oatmeal) lotion.So far,its the only thing that works.Its ridiculous when expensive lotions don't do any good at all..(other then smelling great)
Also some soaps are extroidinarily brutal on hands, more so then others.

Aquaphor! It's somewhat like petroleum jelly in consistency, but it rubs in much better. Not for after every washing, but definitely before bed and in the morning - it seems to last a few washes. For after every washing, I use Nightingale Natural Body Lotion - lavendar/tangerine but they have other scents. From WAl-mart, very good, but be warned, if you test before washing, it will report 10 pts higher BG!

I've been using something called "Crack Cream" which absorbs pretty quickly and works a lot better for my than Eucerin. Of course, I do have to put up with my husband laughing every time he sees the tube next to the bed....

My 7 yr. old daughter has the same problem every year. As soon as the cold rolls in her hands begin to look awful.

The best thing I have tried, and it really, really, really works is NEUTROGENA (NORWEGIAN FORMULA) HAND CREAM. It comes in a little white tube, with the norwegian flag sign on it. Give it about 3 days to notice a difference. I apply twice a day. It is truely great stuff.

I found this lotion to work the best for my daughter's and my dry hands. It also comes in a fragrance free variety if that is an issue for anyone. It is by Neutrogena.


Vaseline and socks... hmm... sounds like a dirty guy thing to me? Couldn't resist the comment.

Vaseline at night. Get a parrafin thingy and do a parrafin treatment once a week. I use Aveeno lotion all. the. time. It helps some. Eucerin is another good one, but I've found it too heavy to use during the day.

I'm going to try that Gold Bond stuff. My hands are also a mess and I don't have D. Just sensitive skin, 'cause I AM a delicate, fragile flower, dammit.

Working for UPS in the bitter cold of the prairies my hands are put through the most extreme conditions you can imagine.
So bad i would have to peel an orange with latex gloves, could'nt even make a fist, and even spring out of bed in the middle of the nite the pain was so bad.
one word for you...BARRIER!
You must have a moisturiser then apply a barrier to it. Glysomed is a really good product.
There are gloves you can wear to bed too after applying it.
Sorry if this was redundant but i didnt read your other comments yet.;)
Hope your hands come back!!!

With my daughter KayLee having diabetes, she is constantly dry,,,from head to toe. The only thing that keeps her half way smooth is the Johnson and johnson Lavender baby oil. It smells pretty good too!!

lanolin, lanolin and socks at night. You can get it in the breastfeeding section of the pharmacy as "lansinoh"

vaseline is a barrier but won't moisturise, lanolin will do both, and feels wonderfully soothing.

I just recently bought a product from Bath & Body Works called "look ma, new hands" by True Blue Spa and I love it so far. It is a softening hand lotion with paraffin and isn't heavy like others I've tried. The Neutrogena one is nice, but I didn't care for the scented version and it was too thick for my liking. I also am a big fan of C.O. Bigelow Lemon Hand Treatment which is available at C.O. Bigelow stores or Bath & Body Works. Good Luck!

Kerri, I've had the same problem for the past 38 years. Every winter I can count on seeing lobster claws at the ends of my sleeves. Lotions helped some, but nothing really cleared it up until my MD had me use prescription-strength cortisone cream.

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