View Full Version : Dry cracked knitters' fingers

01-02-2006, 09:32 PM
My pointer and middle fingers on my right hand are SOOOO dry....Im starting to get little cracks that actually catch on my yarn sometimes! OUCH!

I HATE using lotion, because then my yarn doesnt slide nicely through my fingers.

Any favorite products, tips, etc??

01-02-2006, 09:37 PM
Try using lotion at night? That way it has a long time to soak in. I'm fond of Aveeno, some sort of heavy duty stuff. I have the same problem, but it's really bad - I'd post pictures but as a rookie on this board it won't do to scare people ;-)
Another trick that sometimes works is to make sure you're hydrating enough throughout the day - make an effort to drink a lot of water throughout the day for a few days and see if that helps.

01-02-2006, 09:43 PM
Try some Bag Balm at night--designed for sore udders, but it's supposed to work wonders! This (http://www.bagbalm.com/) is what it is, but it's available most places around here, anywah.

01-02-2006, 09:48 PM
Ouch! I've had jobs in the past that required lots of time in gloves, which also creates rough, cracked and painful hands. (I can only wish I'd been getting in as much time knitting as you!)

My favorite way to fend off the nasty hands is to apply a really lovely thick goopy hand lotion right before putting on (cheap) gloves to start my fifteen minute drive to school. By the time I arrive, even the thickest cream that I could never use any other time is all soaked up by my thankful fingers and I'm set for the day. To repair hands already cracked and painful, try this each time you're driving and also right as you go to bed. And take advantage of the focused treatment to really use something thick and healing, not some wimpy greaseless fast-absorbing lotion. I'm addicted to real plant oils like shea butter, apricot kernal oil, and sweet almond oil. These lovely natural products may be too messy to use when at work or puttering around the house or knitting. I've heard (though never experienced) that one can find raw wool with the lanolin still in, which sounds like it would be a nice hand treatment but messy and difficult in every other way.

Good luck!


01-02-2006, 09:51 PM
Working in a thick cream like Eucerin at night and then wearing gloves on your hands while you sleep is really helpful. You might also rub a little Aquaphor over any places that have been, or are close to, bleeding. I have eczema on my right hand, and the above is a nightly ritual for me.

For daytime, try Udderly Smooth. It's non-greasy and won't stain your beloved yarn!

Edit: I forgot to mention that Udderly Smooth dries quickly, so it doesn't stay greasy for long at all--maybe a minute or two with vigorous working in. And, a little dab'll do ya!

Jan in CA
01-02-2006, 09:53 PM
I hate Bag Balm because it's too greasy, but if you use gloves at night it might be okay. I use Lubriderm and yes it does make the yarn hard to slide so I just rub it in really good before knitting again. Don't use too much at a time either.

01-02-2006, 09:58 PM
I get that way year round.

My Tips:

1. If you use an antibacterial pump soap or purell-type product frequently during the day, STOP. They contain ingredients which hasten drying of the hands, and really shouldn't be used by folks with sensitive skin. Switch to a natural bar soap that contains glycerin, or use something like Dr. Bronner's for a pump soap (also veg glycerin) - it's extremely gentle.

2. Be picky about your lotions. Lingering slickness not only makes your hands feel gross when knitting, it may be a sign your lotion contains ingredients that are actually *drying* to the skin (they do this deliberately, so that you'll buy more). Stick with lotions that are thick, yet absorb cleanly. Eucerin is a good one, esp. if you have sensitive skin. Avoid things with heavy perfumes, because they will contain excess alcohol which = drying. 3M carries a brand called Cavillon - fragrance free, hypoallergenic. It's used alot by EMTs and health workers because it won't cause latex gloves to disintegrate (CHG compatible). The only lotion that has worked better for me than Cavillon was one I made at home. Best thing: available in small bottles, so you can stash one in your knitting bag.

3. Softening rough hands. You want to exfoliate the snagging skin, but you don't want to damage it more with ingredients it doesn't need. Skip anything containing alphy-hydroxy.

My recipe: take 1/2 cup of granulated (table) sugar, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (I like using jojoba, but your mileage may vary). Olive oil is a good choice, corn oil notsomuch. Mix it together, scoop it up with your fingers and rub it through your hands as though you were washing them with soap. Do this for a minute or so, then rinse off under warm water (do NOT use soap). Gently pat dry, then seal the moisture into your skin with your hand creme.

That recipe can be used on feet, hands, face and body. And it works, trust me. I wouldn't be able to survive winter flareups of psoriasis without this regimen! It works better than Gardner's Hand Therapy by Crabtree & Evelyn, and is tons cheaper.

01-02-2006, 10:11 PM
I like Wyn's recipe! You can cheat and buy some at bath and body works... but don't get the salt kind!

01-02-2006, 10:43 PM
I get patches of Excema on my legs in the winter and the only thing that has prevented THAT is Aveeno...but it doesnt seem to be working on my hands.

I do lotion & rubber gloves while washing dishes. Before I started knitting, that took care of the dry winter hands. The heat from the water has helped.

I think Ill try some of those cheapy cotton gloves & try Eucerin at night....I only hope it doesnt give me sweaty hands....I wont be able to sleep!

01-02-2006, 11:17 PM
I invariably end up pulling off the gloves at some point early in the night; they're always somewhere under the pillow, beside the bed, etc. But as long as they're on for an hour or two, they seem to do the trick.

01-02-2006, 11:40 PM
I put Neosporin(?) and finger tip bandages on at night and use Udderly Smooth during the day. Between knitting and handling money throughout the day, mine get really bad. They crack under the nail, ouch!

01-02-2006, 11:50 PM
With my job, I am constantly handling cardboard, and in this climate that leads to extremely dry hands very quickly. I actually develop a lot of calluses due to the dryness, pulling stock on a jack, and such. I can't handle working with gloves on, so I'm stuck with lotions. The best one I've found for soaking in quick is Keri Fast Absorbing. I buy it in the big bottle and have a small travel size that I keep with me everywhere I go and refill from the larger bottle. I also keep a lotion bottle by the kitchen sink since that's where I wash my hands most often at home -- wash, dry, dab of lotion. It really does soak in fast, as I can put the lotion on, make a cup of coffee, go back to my desk and start knitting again with no residue at all left. In fact, I've dropped my coffee cup due to slippery hands with other products, not this. My at night {actually at day since I work nights!} cream is the Vaseline Renew & Protect. It helps my hands and my fingernails. When I remember, I also do it to my feet since I wear steel toed work boots.

01-02-2006, 11:56 PM
Trader Joe's has a Gardener's Hand Cream. It's thick, but it absorbs really quickly and leaves your hands sooo soft. I keep some in my car so that I can spread some on while I'm waiting at a red light or something.

When my skin gets really bad, I rub olive oil on my hands before going to bed.

Hope you find a cure for you gnarly fingers, kel! ;)


01-02-2006, 11:57 PM
Oooh, I've never heard of Keri Fast Absorbing...I might have to try that!

01-03-2006, 12:46 AM
If it comes down to a choice between hand creme and foot creme, choose the stuff for feet. It's always stronger. I don't think the lotion companies realize how much people use their hands (esp. us knitters). Personally I use Bath & Body Works i love shea foot cream for my hands and their look ma new hands cream for my feet. :roflhard:

01-03-2006, 12:59 AM
I'm in love with Olay Quench lotion -- I'm normally not a lotion user at all, but wow, this stuff is great. Nice clean smell, too, not perfumey at all (which makes me gag!). I just timed it -- put it on and in less than 2 minutes it was completely absorbed and my hands feel sooo lovely. It's fantastic. :thumbsup:

01-03-2006, 01:07 AM
My best friend swears by the stuff! I just have so much lotion already...even got some as a gag gift at Christmas (can't remember what it is, but I like it). I'm not much into smell, either...gives me a headache. That's why I use cetaphil--no smell at all! Just creamy goodness. :inlove:

01-03-2006, 10:01 AM
If you want to heal your hands I highly recommend Lansinoh (yes the same cream for breastfeeding mothers) I haven't breastfed for oh 3 years now maybe 4, can't remember. Anyway, we have used Lansinoh on all kinds of boo boos. Lansinoh is purified lanolin (sheep's wool oil) and has great healing properties. I'd put it on like others have recommended at night and then a pair of inexpensive cotton gloves. It's great for scaly elbows, knees and feet. If I get a paper cut or scrape, I put lansinoh on it. 2 years ago I fell and caught the ground with my face (don't ask - it's why I don't knit and walk at the same time) My face was all scraped up. I put the lansinoh on it and in 4 days my face looked fine again.

01-03-2006, 10:09 AM
Wow, Michelle, that stuff sounds amazing! Where do you get it?

01-03-2006, 10:14 AM
YOu can get it lots of places. Target, Walgreen's, CVS, I'm sure the evil W carries it in the baby care aisle. It's usually with the breastpumps, breastpads, or bottles. It's comes in a purple box. Lansinoh. We have 3 "creams" in our house. Itch cream (for bug bites - my son is horribly allergic), boo boo cream (Lansinoh) and bump cream (arnica flora for bumps and bruises). Seems like there were a few years when I was smearing one cream or another on one of my kids at any one time.

01-03-2006, 10:18 AM
:roflhard: :roflhard: Or all of them at once!

Thanks for the locator info. It would never have occurred to me to go to the baby/mum-care aisle!

01-03-2006, 12:13 PM
I get this on my middle and pointer also, and while knitting, I will do the little finger bandage with Burt's Bees Hand Salve (http://www.burtsbees.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10751&storeId=10101&productId=10187&langId=-1&categoryId=&showSubCategory=yes) This is a bit greasy, but if you really massage it in, which you should do with any good moisturizer anyway, it is totally tolerable, but if handling yarn I do Sesame Street Band-Aids with it. This is also a great one to do with gloves at night. At night time, I use Philosophy's Time On Your Hands (http://www.philosophy.com/web/store/product_10001_10001_-1_25627_24016) which exfoliates gently while you sleep. It does have glycolic acid in it, but I have never had any irritation or drying from it, it's wondrous. For regular moisturizing throughout the day, I use this stuff by Supre called Hempz that you can absolutely die from it smells so delicious. It is a really intensive moisturizer and when I was training to be an aesthetician, I used it for my client's massages and all of them just adore it. It is fast absorbing, yet VERY emollient and great for all over.

Jan in CA
01-03-2006, 12:27 PM
I noticed while knitting a project recently that an area on my left thumb was getting a tad sore. No blister or anything, but I suspect it may get calloused. Must be a weird way I knit. :rollseyes: Anyone else get callouses?

01-03-2006, 12:34 PM
I tried the Olay Quench in one of the tester bottles at work one night when I forgot my hand cream. I had to RUN to the washroom to wash my hands. My hands burned from that stuff! I've actually tried quite a few, and for me, the Keri and the Vaseline are the two I go back to.

As for calluses from knitting, I'm never sure if mine are from a rough fibre or from work. But, I do know that I've gotten calluses from hemp when I've been making necklaces, so it would make sense if I would get calluses from knitting {or crocheting!} with something rough.

01-03-2006, 12:35 PM
Jan, funny you say that because I had thought my problem really was the beginning of callus, not necessarily dryness. I get it on my pointer and middle, most often when I'm using small metal needles and working the stitches off the left needle with my right fingers. It does seem the skin will split ever so slightly and sometimes peel a little, but I'm always left with a soreness more than anything else and use the Sesame Street band-aids like a thimble too.

01-03-2006, 04:15 PM
I have eczema on my hand and feet (?!) and I love the Aveeno extra strength lotion. I can't remember the actual name, but the top is an eggplant color. It's not greasy at all. I wash my hands at work a lot (preschool - darned diapers) and it really keeps my hands soft. For my feet I use the Bag Balm. I've used that since I was a teenager my feet used to crack and bleed in the summer really bad. It's gross, but if you put it on at night and use gloves (or socks) it clears up the snaggles overnight.

01-03-2006, 06:37 PM
If you have no nut allergies, Almond oil is a blessing for your skin.

I use almond oil balm on my cuticles weekly, and almond oil hand cream on my hands several times a day. All from the Body Shop (so I know y'all can get that over there).

It's not greasy, absorps quickly, and there's even an intensive repair treatment available.


The other BRILLIANT hand creme is OPI Avoplex. This is my personal restorative rememdy.

Plus, they both smell DIVINE!!!

01-03-2006, 06:57 PM
Try some Bag Balm at night--designed for sore udders, but it's supposed to work wonders! This (http://www.bagbalm.com/) is what it is, but it's available most places around here, anywah.

Bag balm was as common a fixation as cocoa butter in my house.


01-03-2006, 07:21 PM
Every winter I have to battle dry skin on my legs and my hands.. Alot of times in the winter I can't wear my wedding band set cause it cracks under my rings leaving a nice raw red itchy place... Going into WV I snagged the skin with the yarn while knitting but I didn't want to stop knitting so I used Neousporin and a bandaid LOL it cleared it up fast but it was weird knitting around the bandaid it wouldn't stay right on the band aid.. :lol:

01-04-2006, 02:45 PM
Two words: ACID MANTLE

It actually assists dry skin in healing, and best of all (wait for it), it doesn't leave residue behind to screw up your projects. A friend of mine is a professional clothing designer and says that she'd never be without it. It's expensive, but a little bit goes a long, long way! You can find it in some pharmacies, or you can ask your pharmacist to special order it for you. :thumbsup:

01-04-2006, 03:02 PM
Burt's Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion (http://www.burtsbees.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10751&storeId=10101&productId=10196&langId=-1&categoryId=&showSubCategory=yes)

thick but not greasy.
smells yummy.

01-04-2006, 06:07 PM
I have fairly dry hands and pleanty of allergies which cause my hands to break out and crack and such... I thought about posting a 'nasty fingers' picture, but decided against it... I don't want to freak everyone out! So, for a few months of the year my fingers, hands and wrists become very dry and cracked and that causes yarn to catch on those areas. At night I use neutrogena hand cream which is unscented and comes in a little 2 or 3 oz tubey thingy, and put my hands in cotton gloves. I put it on pretty thick and spend about 20 minutes or so rubbing it in.. I usually end up having to wipe off a small amount of excess, but it's really surprising how much will work into your skin if you just give it time. I haven't tried Lansinoh on my hands before, but I'm going to give it a try.
Durring the day I use Nexcare Skin Crack Care which seals the skin cracks and promotes healing. It's a liquid which you apply to the skin like nail polish, then you let it dry for about a minute. It's like a see through bandage. It really keeps my hands from snaging the yarn while I knit.

The one down side to Lansinoh is the cost, but you can ask your pharmacist to order pure lanolin for you ... I used to sell a pound tub for about $10, but that was 2 years ago... I"m sure the price hasn't gone up too much.

01-04-2006, 06:15 PM
Taking the time at night to rub the cream deeply into the hands is well worth it--plus it feels soooo good! (It feels even better if someone else does it, but I rarely get that particular treat....) I don't, however, rub the extra off--I just let it get on the inside of the gloves to give extra softening goodness! (And yes, I wash these gloves quite frequently!)

01-04-2006, 07:05 PM
I'm not usually a fan of the home-party body products, but I have fallen in love with this lotion from Country Bunny. It's called a Lotion Bar and is just amazing. The lotion comes in a bar that's placed in a tin. The bar melts at body temperature, so it is a solid at room temp. That way, I can keep it in my knitting bag and it doesn't spill. The rep said the bar lasts about 6 months, but I think it may go longer than that.

The website is at Country Bunny (https://www.countrybunnybathandbody.com/bodyproducts.php)

I have no affiliation with the company, I just love their stuff!