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Help My Hands!


jgarner53
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Since I've started pastry school, and been washing my hands so often in the kitchen, my hands have started to get really dry, mostly around the knuckles. They're dry, red, and itchy! I put lotion on them all the time when I'm not in the kitchen, but I don't want to make lotion-flavored pastry. What's a PC to do? Rub my hands with butter?

Outside the kitchen, what can I do to help my hands?

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Since I've started pastry school, and been washing my hands so often in the kitchen, my hands have started to get really dry, mostly around the knuckles. They're dry, red, and itchy! I put lotion on them all the time when I'm not in the kitchen, but I don't want to make lotion-flavored pastry. What's a PC to do? Rub my hands with butter?

Outside the kitchen, what can I do to help my hands?

before you go to sleep, slather them in either vaseline, olive oil or shea butter and put mittens on.

as for during work, slathering them in butter might actually be a good idea.

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Ditto the Vaseline; it really is excellent. The only thing I would add is, you may want to smear it over wet or damp skin. That seems to help.

I used to throw pots and the clay would dry my skin out terribly. Everyone I knew at that time, used the Vaseline on wet skin method. Forget fancy and expensive lotions, except for times when you're not working and having greasy hands would be unacceptable. For those times, I recommend Lubriderm; if you can put it on about every 30 minutes or so, so much the better.

And while at work, I think butter, indeed, would be a good idea.

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Origins Make a Difference Hand Cream is great to use at night. Also, bliss spa (www.blisspsa.com) make great gel-lined gloves that you use with this very rich hand cream. You'd use this is you really want to heal your hands. You put the cream on and wear the gloves for about 30 minutes or more and your hands are restored. FYI, this glove cream combo is pricey (about 40 bucks, I think) but it's worth it. A little goes a long way! Both creams have a lemony scent. For the daytime, Herbacin from Germany (available at Whole Foods Market and Ulta Cosmetic stores) is great - glycerin based and not greasy at all!

Vaseline works well, too.

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This works for me. Not while in the kitchen, of course.

I do alot of gardening, cooking, etc. and my hands look and feel like hell. But this stuff works pretty good.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I would also add cocoa butter, but not from the drug store. If you are going to slather your hands with something, a dairy product may not be the best idea...

Pure aloe is safe as well.

food grade cocoa butter is a great idea.

better than butter for work time.

well unless you're working with butter.

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It was suggested to me by a doctor that I slather my feet and lower legs with Crisco :unsure: (I have issues with them due to bad circulation and type 2 diabetes) Maybe if you used Crisco on your hands overnight and wore plain white cotton gloves?

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Pure Rose Hip oil. I've just started using it and it is pretty incredible. Otherwise, try and find a balm that has a base of 100% pure beeswax and uses carrier oils like Calendula oil, avacado oil, jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil, etc. The beeswax will actually protect your hands throughout the day and good cream should not leave them greasy and shouldn't wash off. I don't know any brands because I make my own (Sensitive-paininthe ass skin) I gave up trying to find something in the stores. Good luck!

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I have another, related one. What do you all do for burns? I got a nasty one last week from a sheet pan on my wrist. My husband bought some ointment in Japan for burns (at least that's what he says it's for - all the writing is Japanese!), that I've been putting on daily, and I have some Mederma once the blistered part heals. :sad: I know enough to go straight for the ice water, but obviously, one can't stand around the kitchen with one's hand or arm in ice water. Do you just learn to tough them out? The fingertip ones don't bother me much. This one's just a dilly, though, about an inch and a half long, and a quarter inch wide at its widest point.

Maybe that Origins cream/glove combo can be a late addition to my wish list, or I can use my inevitable gift cert. from Dad for it.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Burns. Ouch. I'd go to a Chinese herbalist (if you live near one) and ask for something. I'm sure there's a nice salve available. However, growing up in my dad's Chinese carryout, you just tough that s**t out. Ah, sweet and sour sauce burns. Just don't pick at the scab...

Origins does have unlined gloves where you can slap on the Make a Difference hand cream and put your hands in the gloves. bliss spa is the one with the gel-lined glove and hand cream combo. Bath & Bodyworks might have something similar for a bit cheaper. If you have an event you need to go to and want instant relief, try a paraffin dip at a nail salon/spa. Elizabeth Arden's manicures are known to do wonders.

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for burns i use pure aloe - either from the plant itself, or i keep an emergency aloe gel stash, that's 99% pure aloe gel.

it eases the pain of first degrees, and some mild second degrees, and dries them up and flakes them off in a couple of days.

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There's some good advice here.

I sympathize with you, Jgarner. I used to get very dry hands when I worked at the hospital, a combination of wearing powdered latex gloves and washing hands between every patient interaction. Even applying lotion after every hand wash I'd still have red irritated hands.

I don't have that problem today, but I still maltreat my hands in the kitchen. My right index finger looks like a wound-healing experiment gone bad, with two nearly-healed burns and a 1/2 inch incision from a glass that broke when I was washing it.

One thing that is good if you develop nasty, painful splits in your hands, is close them with dermabond skin adhesive. Its just like superglue, but more flexible. It prevents the split from reopening, allowing it to heal. It blocks bacteria from getting into your wound too, so, for instance, if you seal the split real good you can still do dishes and so on. You can use this stuff for abrasions too.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Definitely, you should always use antibiotic ointment to prevent a wound from getting infected. The exception being if you're going to use a liquid bandage. In that case, you should just wash and dry the wound and then apply the liquid bandage.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Oh yeah, since the burn (on the 5th day now), I had a huge bandaid over the burn with antibiotic ointment on it. I'll do another bandage before class tonight to keep it protected. I guess the good thing is that since it's in a place where the cuff of every sleeve abrades it, it forces me to keep it covered or else wince every time I move my arm.

The vitamin-E oil worked well for me in the past. In college I burned the back of my hand on the top element of the oven (ow!), and put the oil on it every day for months. I have absolutely no scar. It smelled kinda fishy, but I figured fishy hands were better than a big U-shaped scar.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I use olive oil on my hands while working with food. Not the XVO however.

For burns, I've read that if you can take asprin when they happen, it will help reduce the damage somehow. Eventually you'll learn to just tough them out. The backs of my arms always seemed to have welts on them. I was tasting wines at Ravenswood on vacation once with my arms propped on the tasting bar. The guy on the other side noticed the marks and said, "Let me guess, you're a chef, right?"

I was amazed and asked how he knew. Then he held up his arms and fessed up that he was a cook as well.

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For burns, I'm again going to say try Rose Hip oil. I burned myself quite badly last week while baking cookies and I had read somewhere that it was supposed to be good for burns, they were gone the next day. I was amazed.

And of course, have an aloe plant on hand too. I have one beside the stove.

Edited by peppyre (log)
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I learned a great tip for dealing with burns in school: when the burn occurs, immediately apply white vinegar to the area. Soaking a paper towel and holding it to the burn works well. No, it won't hurt or sting, believe it or not. The real pain (and scar) of a burn is when a blister forms and inevitably breaks open causing an open wound. The acid in the vinegar will actually etch tiny holes in the skin letting it breath and usually prevent a blister from forming. Unfortunately this treatment doesn't seem to work after the blister has already formed, but I promise that it will work for most minor burns you would get in the kitchen.

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Silver sulfadiazine cream is the generic form of silvadene, the gold standard in burn ointment. Next time you go to the doc ask for a prescription to keep on hand because of your profession. Or if you have a good relationship with your doc, phone & ask him/her to call the prescription in for you. I recommend the generic - the silvadene is very expensive.

Umm, You don't want to be using triple antibiotic ointment - you want to use bacitracin-type stuff. Triple will inflame the area after a few days of repeated use. It's good for one or two applications only is what my doc says and I know I have had spots that inflamed but I just thought they got a little infected y'know??

You maybe already knew that but...just wanted to be sure.

Umm, expensive stuff is really cool - I love it - but cloth gloves (or socks for that matter) and vaseline will have the exact same result as the forty dollah glovlies. I mean you're only going to sleep in them after all. Maybe ask Santa for something important like jewelry or cake toys, a gold handled rolling pin stuff like that... :laugh:

:rolleyes: don't mind me...

edited to say: PS. I use vitamin E oil too! Great stuff.

Oh and one more PS - I always put apple cider vinegar on sun burn, NightScotsman - I didn't know why but it never blisters!!! I gotta real sensitive redhead in the family. You smell like a salad, but it so works - then you can just rinse it off.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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Burns...impossible to do this while working, but cold water works! I got the most painful scald on my hand I've ever had a week or so back, and after a short attempt to chill it in slightly iced water, I was just gritting my teeth against the pain, assuming that I'd done all I could.

But then son1 arrived on the scene. Nope, Mum, you need to keep it in cold water UNTIL PAIN SUBSIDES, and he proceeded to enforce his advice for over an hour. The blisters went down, and by next day there was only some surface .

Handwashing - any way you can switch to a pure soap for this? Liquid detergent-based handwashes make skin and nails so fragile.

I've found animal fats such as lanolin (and in Japan, horse fat) the most effective for healing cracked skin, and the least likely to cause allergic reaction...flying in the face of the current popularity of vegetable oils, I know.

Biggest improvement to skin so far: "allergic" skin reactions and winter cracked fingertips and chapped lips disappeared with a moderately low-carb (moderate amounts of whole-grain foods, no sugars) way of eating.

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