Wednesday 21 February 2018

Chapped Hands

If you follow me on Instagram (Hello!) you'll know that I am a bit of a hand washer in times of anxiety and at this time of year that can lead to chapped hands which is incredibly painful. When this happened recently nothing was helping and I ended up with only two out of ten knuckles left unsplit. My husband was away in Washington so there was no chance of palming off any of the nappy changes or dog feeding to him so I just kept on washing and wincing. It has also been really cold here so with central heating inside and then walking the kids to school, back home to get the dogs on leads and then back out with the dogs to the park meant that my hands were being really affected by the weather as well.

Chapped handI spoke to the pharmacist about it when I went to pick up a prescription and now I feel like I really have the chapped hand survival (and hopefully prevention) kit completely sussed out. There's a very bad picture, taken from an InstaStory of my chapped hand. Just so you can sort of get the idea, split knuckles and raw rash all over backs.

Interestingly the pharmacist was a bit reticent to recommend any particular cream apart from Epiderm which I had tried and which wasn't really doing much. She said that anything with urea in it may exacerbate the problem as I've had eczema before, and that I should avoid anything perfumed - you'd be surprised at how many hand creams that actually rules out. I ended up getting the Norwegian Formula Concentrated Unscented Handcream. I'd used their scented one before - not actually knowing it was scented, it's just the one I'd seen in the shops with the blue rather than red lid and label - and their body lotion is the only stuff that works on the dry skin on my legs. Neutrogena are my go-to for dry skin problems.

Dermol Emollient HandwashI also bought Dermol Wash which is an antimicobial emollient and moisturiser which can be used as a handwash. Because I have two boys in nappies and we feed the dogs raw food I use an antibacterial handwash and the pharmacist told me to stop using it immediately, use the Dermol instead and use it as a moisturiser as well. So I used that and the Norwegian Formula.

My friend Florence came to the rescue via post and sent me her recommendations Goe Oil and Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. Both of which are fantastic as they provide a barrier and are slowly absorbed. If you are after a good fix-all cream then either of these would be great - I have a preference for Goe Oil as I much prefer the smell and it has slightly more slip than 8hr cream.

My regime of washing with Dermol then applying either Goe Oil or Elizabeth Arden and the Norwegian Formula when I needed something more quickly absorbed or to have in my handbag when I was going out. My hands visibly recovered within the first few hours and by the next day even the cracked knuckles were beginning to heal.

I think the main reason for the incredible turnaround was the Dermol. I know I overdo it but with my husband away I really couldn't avoid situations where I needed to wash my hands. The Dermol was much kinder to my hands than regular soap or antibac. Using creams afterward definitely sped the recovery but the main thing I'm going to try and avoid in future is excessive washing an anticaterial soap.

Then, my husband came back from his holiday, sorry his business trip, with some Keihl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve which really did the trick. This Ultimate Strength Hand Salve I've been basting on at night and after one use my hands were back to normal. The difference really was that even though the Dermol had repaired the sore spots and knuckles there were still areas that hurt though they looked fine and the Kiehl's salve sorted that.

Kiehls Hand Salve says it's for hands with 'severe dryness caused by heavy industrial work, manual labour, neglect or exposure' and I guess I count as manual labour with all the nappies I've been changing. In fact this hand cream was so revolutionary that I put it on my incredibly dry and, frankly, slightly gross feet, put my socks on as normal for the day and by bathtime I had feet like a baby. Like a baby. It's that good.

If you suffer from chapped hands get the Dermol and get the Kiehls Hand Salve (they do a handbag size 75ml if you want something smaller). If you want an all-round use-anywhere cream then get Goe Oil (such a useful all-rounder it's a washbag staple for when I travel) and if you want something for your handbag from the high street the the Unscented Norwegian Formula is fantastic.

Though I do use the antibacterial hand soap occasionally I try to stick to the Dermol and Kiehl's salve at night which seems to have been keeping any further problems at bay, despite the still pretty cold weather and the continuing nappies.

Chapped hand rescue kit


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