Help, I'm murdering my fingertips (need lotion/cream recommendations)

I spend probably 70% of my typical work day as a chemist. That means in the lab, wearing nitrile gloves. The other 30% is at a keyboard, typing madly.

Every time I exit the lab (maybe 5-20 times / day) there’s a hand-washing. And this is not OC paranoia, this is for any chemical residue that I undoubtedly pick up. I don’t want to be ingesting PBQ with my coffee.

I seem to sweat unusually heavily from my hands when wearing gloves. As in - I wear the gloves for more than 30 minutes, when I take them off there’s a significant amount of sweat in them. Gross? Yes. Sorry, TMI. I don’t observe this with my co-workers. Some of my asshole work friends have commented on this :smiley:

I do change gloves (they’re disposable) probably every 30 minutes. The nature of my work is that I get my (gloved) hands dirty. Very dirty. So I’m repeatedly peeling off one pair for a clean pair when in the lab. Whatever the case, it’s murdering my hands. They’re constantly dry, red and peeling. My fingertips are the worst - they look like a battlefield. Lateral trenches. I’m not sure I have fingerprints anymore.

Anyone know a good product to use to help ameliorate this? Currently I use Neutrogena hand cream every time I’m back at my desk. It helps, a little. Probably 40% of what I want with the dry skin on the back of my hands; very little on the fingertips which still suffer.

Try putting on the hand cream, then dusting your hands/fingers with baby powder, then put on the gloves. The cream will moisten and the powder will prevent chaffing and cut down on the sweating. You could also try a medicated foot powder that helps with sweating as well.

At night, slather your hands in cream and put cotton hand cream gloves on. I’m actually wearing mine as I type this.

Creams and lotions work best when the skin is somewhat damp. It’s best to apply lotion right after you get out of the shower, or after you wash your hands with warm water, and have patted the skin almost dry.

My apologies if you already know this.

I have very dry skin on my feet and legs, and right now I’m going to physical therapy/rehab, and I’m using A&D ointment on them. This might be too heavy for your hands, though. My legs are getting wrapped in 3 or 4 layers of this and that and the other, and the first layer is always a knit cotton tube, to help keep the moisture in.

Try something with shea butter in it. I’ve used the one from L’Occitane and it kept my hands ridiculously soft.

When I’m doing a lot of painting or other messy things, I wear disposable gloves too. Where my fingertips tend to crack and split around my nails, I use (don’t laugh) Carmex lip balm. It soothes and moisturizes the skin and usually keeps the cracking to a minimum. YMMV.

A silly question, but do you have cotton glove liners at your disposal? Many laboratory folks use them so they can keep changing gloves without that annoying powder drying out their hands after three hours.

Of course, then the cotton liners get kind of damp, but at least the sweat is not pooling in the fingertips and then running down your arms when you raise your hands above your shoulder.

(I was a nuclear power laboratory technician in the Navy—nothing like performing chemical analysis with sweat-filled gloves and all while wearing a gas mask in 120F temperatures because they shut down the engine room ventilation after an air particulate detector went off. The gas mask gets a nice sweat-seal after about ten seconds and when you lean forward a quarter inch of sweat puddles in the face mask.)

I’ve switched to Cetaphil instead of soap, and it’s been very gentle on my easily-cracked hands. Dunno if it’s effective in cleaning off the sort of chemicals you work with, though.

Badger Balm is good stuff. Check out their other products.

Looks interesting. Does it leave your hands sticky/greasy/anything?

Or you could try Bag Balm, I have found it extremely useful for so many things such as you describe.

I wear gloves and work in a lab, too, though my hands never got quite as bad as yours. The product that has done the best job for me is the Body Shop’s Hemp hand protector. It really does last through washing, which is vital for me. It smells kind of funny if you don’t like patchouli, but it certainly did the trick.

I have very dry skin, and use a blend of beeswax and olive oil. It keeps my hands soft and crack-free, and my nails seem to be in better condition than before (not that I pay much attention to them). My brother-in-law uses it on his hands for his eczema, and seems to like it too. Beeswax is also an effective barrier, so it may help with the washing/changing gloves damage too.

Bag Balm :eek:

Hmmm… What could that possibly be?

I learn something new every day!

My advice, from my 12 years in biomed lab work:

Try powder-free gloves. The powder itself gave me a rash; even if that isn’t your problem, it will irritate and aggravate any broken skin, including cracks.

Try the cotton glove liners already mentioned.

Take a pair of the glove liners home and wear them to bed, first coating your hands with a good cream. It’s messy and inconvenient, but wearing lotion and gloves to bed is the only thing that really works for irritated hands IME. It’s like bandaging; you have to cover the area and protect it, or it has no chance to heal. It’s also the only way to keep cream ON your fingertips.

Eucerin skin cream (or the CVS store brand equivalent, if you have a CVS near you). The dermatologist I saw about my glove rash recommended this, and it works. Greasy stuff–save it for wearing to bed–but very soothing.

I tried Bag Balm; it stung my hands, and it stinks to high heaven. Some swear by it; I swear at it.

I like Udderly Smooth by Reddex. Unlike Bag Balm, it’s unscented lotion and it sinks in quickly. Plus, I can usually find it at Dollar Tree or Big Lots or WalMart.

I assume you are using nitrile because they are appropriate for the chemicals/solvents you are handling? Not all gloves protect the same way, and so it is worth verifying whether nitrile gloves actually protect you from the chemicals in your lab. It would suck if your chapped hands were due to chemical exposure! This webpagehas links to some glove compatibility charts - perhaps another glove type could suit your needs and your hands would dry out less. If you aren’t exaggerating about the extent of damage to your hands, this is, IMHO (and IME, Quebec and Ontario) a health and safety issue, and your company should be able to accommodate your request for another brand of gloves.

(And if your company hasn’t already done so, as long and tedious and never-quite-done a project as it is, it might be worth it for your Health and Safety rep/committee to establish guidelines for employees on appropriate gloves for the work done in your lab).

Though if your company is way ahead of the curve and has all this covered already, then I’m afraid I don’t have any advice!

I just want to add that Bag Balm and Udderly Smooth both contain lanolin. Quite a few people react adversely to it. It is my case.

As one who battles constantly against psoriasis and various allergies, I’d like to add my support to the suggestion that you buy cotton glove liners and that you use a cream like Cetaphil when you’re at home-- or keep a tube in your locker/desk at work.

No, I use the Unscented Healing Balm, and only a very small quantity is needed. The beeswax keeps it from being greasy, and it absorbs very well. They have a lot of products I can’t use, what with the allergies (lavender/eucalyptus/rosemary are migraine triggers for me, plus I’m allergic to grapefruit), but some of the lip balms are very nice.

ETA: I, too, use cotton glove liners: I got them at a music store. Bandsmen wear them in cold weather.

Heel Rescue Foot Cream works very well. I used to use Udderly Smooth, which is great, but we think this is better. You can find it at Wal-Mart.

Back in my pottery days when I would spend hours at a time on the wheel, my “go to” was Corn Huskers Lotion.