My skin is my true barometer of when winter hits where I live. I can always look out the window and see snow or rain or clouds or sun. I can always look at the calendar and see dates – days, weeks, months. I can always look on the television or the computer and see temperature and wind chill. But, once my hands start to crack and bleed – I know, gross and probably TMI – I know winter is here.
About a month ago, I noticed my heels getting rough. This roughness is usually what I experience in the summer as I wear Birkenstocks most of the summer. I also have issues in the winter when my feet get dried out. Why do they get dry in the winter? It is a combination of things. The air is dryer in the winter here in Upstate New York. I tend to get more easily dehydrated as I drink less water in the winter. I try to compensate by drinking more herbal teas but this does not always help. I also neglect my feet as they tend to be in “something” – socks, slippers, shoes, boots – all the time. I put moisturizer on them after showering but that is not enough in winter.
Yesterday, true winter hit with the first hand cracking. I have always had issues with the skin on my hands – thanks, Mom! When I was diapering with cloth two to three children a day, I broke down and went to the dermatologist. The doctor was a wonderful man and after two visits, I had a diagnosis. He diagnosed me with contact dermatitis. In looking back, I am not sure this was a correct diagnosis but he mixed me up a salve that the pharmacist had to spend a couple days on and my hands did improve slightly.
Every since that time, I have had very little issue with my hands except in winter. I keep them in gloves – non-latex to be safe – when doing dishes. I have white cotton gloves that I use when cleaning the house to prevent irritants from coming in contact with my skin. I do my nails but not often to prevent irritation from both polish and remover.
So yesterday I ran outside in rather cold, snowy weather. I got back to my car – yes, I had to drive to a trail to run as the roads were too dangerous – and took off my gloves. My right thumb had cracked and my left one is looking to follow soon.
Now, what do I do? Many things are now on the help list. I will make a conscious attempt to drink more water as staying hydrated will help. I will be sure to apply some lotion on a regular, many times a day basis. I will drag out the Bag Balm and wear cotton socks or gloves to bed at night with Bag Balm on my hands.
I will get my hands back in shape. They are probably the body part that most shows my age and I would prefer they don’t.