Just my Thoughts

Winter Is Here

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.

15 thoughts on “Winter Is Here

  1. I have the same problem. Unlike you, I don not actively try help them. I am lazy like that. I slather on lotion whenever I feel my hands getting dry. Not that that always helps.

    1. Ambrosia – If I don’t work on my hands to start with, life gets unbearable. I can’t write as I can’t grip a pen or pencil.

      I am not ignoring your emails – especially the one – just formulating thoughts.

    1. I am sure yours are worse than mine were even during diapering years, Gary. It is all that in and out of being wet in the studio.

  2. My mother-in-law has the exact same problem. Ironically, she has had the best relief from the cheapest of sources – Silicone Glove from Avon. It is very inexpensive and if it doesn’t work, you haven’t lost much money !

    1. JenLo – I use to use that but didn’t find it worked much better than anything else. Gary should probably try it, though, as he always has his hands getting wet.

  3. Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I finally found a hand lotion that keeps my hands – washed at least 30 times a day with all the diaper changes around here – from peeling off entirely, but it’s a real battle at this time of year.

  4. Nicki, I’ve been getting caught up reading a bunch of your recent posts. I’m way behind! Maybe if I wasn’t always slathering my hands in gooey lotions I could spend more time at the keyboard!

  5. And all I can think about is what you consider cold! Forget the hands for a minute – my entire body would be a popsicle in your neck of the woods. If you could see me over the snowdrifts, that is.

    1. I have to admit I am rethinking what I think is cold. Today, I was not cold out on the run but I am still cold since getting back to the house. I am finding my re-warming is not as quick as it use to be.

  6. ARGH! I feel ya! My hands look like wizened, cracked claws. I wash my hands to much during the day that I just can’t keep up with the lotion.

    I currently have two cracks on one finger…and was brilliant enough to make a recipe today that requires the juice of several lemons…owwwwwwwwww.

    1. Oh TKW!!!! I can understand where you are coming from. I have these gorgeous navel oranges on my kitchen table and I look at them and think – nope, can’t deal with the pain. May change my mind by morning, though.

  7. Funny. I judge winter’s grip by the condition of my hands as well. Painful, cracking, bleeding. It starts with cuticles nearly as hard as my nails, and quickly worsens from there.

    I discovered Eucerin Plus last winter, and so far, so good. I will keep the Bag Balm in mind. Never thought about the reduction in water, I will try to watch that too.

    My heels are the same. Last year I started using a straight file with a grater-type (that sounds awful lol) blade similar to the PedEgg. Followed by an Epsom Salt soak. And the Eucerin. Huge difference.

    I do not wear gloves for dishes. No reason, other than they feel funny and I drop dishes. Found Dawn Hand Renewal made in partnership with Olay. GOOD STUFF. It does not have the grease cutting strength of the original blue, but it is not tearing my hands to pieces, even if I skip the after dishes lotion.

    1. Lisa – when I go out for dish detergent, I am going to look for the Dawn you mention.

      I have used Eucerin – the creme, not a lotion. Nothing helps. I just suffer through.

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