Protection for hands with Eczema?

Cornish Puffin

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I have developed a nasty eczema on my hands that brings my fingers out in deep splits, after a week of using steroid cream it leaves the tips weak an prone to splitting again as soon as I do anything physical - like using a screwdriver, taking the cover off the boat, anything really. I'm happy that the steroid cream is the fix, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendation for a good barrier cream to put on before using the boat and something to toughen the skin back up when its whole again?

This weekend I resorted to using some heavy duty marigold type gloves for pulling in the dinghy out-haul, rowing, anchoring and picking up / dropping the mooring. Cumbersome and annoying to say the least. I also have no idea why at 39 I have suddenly developed this!!

Any advice gratefully received.
 

Big-Bang1

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I developed a similar propblem a few years ago and it turned out the cause was using latex or vinyl gloves whilst at work, it wasn't the gloves that was the problem it was the powder they put in them. Anyhow, Norwegian Fishermans hand cream was the only thing that seemed to be any good. Tried E45, diprobase (or however you spell it) and all the other off the shelf stuff but nothing was as good. The other thing I found that may help you is normal Hydrocortisone cream wasn't that effective but Thick gooey Hydrocortisone ointment worked really well! Worth a try if your local chemist has it.
HTH
 

Gin

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I have had Psoriasis since my teens- always giving me similar problems but now worse as I am so much older, in that moisture evaporation of the skin by wind and aggravated by water (seawater in particular) makes my fingers crack and bleed- which is both unsightly with blood spatters on deck & sails and painful.

Beware of using steroid creams for back in the 70's doctors prescribed them as a matter of course but they do permanent damage to the outer skin layers and will never recover, leaving the epidermis layer thin and weak and thus easier to split; a vicious circle is created thus.

E45 type creams are no good as they are simple moisturisers and whilst sold as a barrier they absorb/wash off quickly- the Norwegian Fisherman stuff I always used when racing for whole weekends as it is good but of course its barrier is greasy and can be a nuisance without gloves. Cotton gloves are best in such cases for skin protection, allowing the skin to breathe, but useless on boats unless under a water resistant layer, but then becoming too cumbersome. Rubber/vinyl/latex gloves are very effective but my experience is they all make the hands sweat which further aggravates the problem and its a case of swapping one problem for a new one- anyway sailing in your Marigolds will attract some very strange looks and comments :)

My solution for the past few years, with mostly day sailing and frequently having to take gloves on and off has been to use creams sparingly and only when necessary, but when rope/sail handling sessions in particular are required (which seem particularly tough on damaged hands) are necessary I wear dinghy style sailing gloves with only the index finger and thumb having a cut-off ends. Fiddly work even with these gloves can require bare hands but minimal damage occurs if gloves are replaced on the hands quickly.

A few strange glances still occur but what the heck, I'm comfortable!
 
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rob2

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Your condition is much more serious than I have ever suffered but I do get splits, particularly in the tips of my thumbs and index fingers. I find that wearing gloves to prevent abrasion helps up to the limit of what you can do in gloves and when you need bare hands it's important to dry the hands rather than let them dry naturally. I only use an aqueous cream overnight. It doesn't actively help the splitting but by softening the whole hand, it seems to reduce the strain across the split.

Rob.
 

Birdseye

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I have developed a nasty eczema on my hands that brings my fingers out in deep splits, after a week of using steroid cream it leaves the tips weak an prone to splitting again as soon as I do anything physical - like using a screwdriver, taking the cover off the boat, anything really. I'm happy that the steroid cream is the fix, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendation for a good barrier cream to put on before using the boat and something to toughen the skin back up when its whole again?

This weekend I resorted to using some heavy duty marigold type gloves for pulling in the dinghy out-haul, rowing, anchoring and picking up / dropping the mooring. Cumbersome and annoying to say the least. I also have no idea why at 39 I have suddenly developed this!!

Any advice gratefully received.

I reckon you need to talk to a dermatologist about this rather than us sailors. I would guess that even after using steroid cream to help heal, the skin over the splits will be fairly thin - it can be 2 or 3 mm thick but it takes a month or so to fully repair itself to normal thickness. According to the www that is! So I guess that really you should do sod all for a month after it heals.

As a kid I had a job involving hands into paraffin and this brought out all sorts of skin problems. Industrial barrier creams worked really well - try an industrial supply company. Mind you the ones I used were water soluble.
 

Hydrozoan

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I had a bad outbreak of pompholyx eczema on my hands some years back and eventually discovered it was caused by peeling oranges - I had tested as allergic to citrus fruits as a child, but had forgotten all about that and was having an orange instead of a pudding at lunchtime for diet reasons. I also find the same now with peeling spuds, parsnips etc. So in addition to getting medical advice, I'd have a think in case you're exposing your hands to something new.
 

Halo

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Suggest using good quality disposable nitrile gloves. Sometimes sold as medical examination gloves. I have sensitive skin and these allow me to work without getting the nasties on my hands and with a good sense of feel. Get the right glove size from the marigolds you have. Use the powder free options. Don't use latex as others have said.
 

Alfie168

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Going back to the days I worked in engineering factories and garages/workshops in the 70s the 'Gold Standard' for barrier creams was Rozalex. I'm not sure what effectiveness they might have in eczema but they were an important component in combating dermatitis. They do still exist http://www.rozalex.co.uk/

I think the problem is finding one that does not wash off easily. Ah I see they still do Rozalex Wet Guard that is water resistant and can be used under gloves as well. Its worth reading up about i'd have thought. They also do skin reconditioning products as well.

Tim
 
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roblpm

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Hmmm sorry to hear that.

We have eczema in the family. Kept under control with short sharp shock of steroid creme. But then more epaderm than you can believe. My wife used to put tubigrips on my sons legs overnight to effectively keep them wet with creme. I don't know much about hands though.
 

Tomaret

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I developed exactly the same condition in 2006 and for three years tried various creams prescribed by GPs. Eventually I was referred to a consultant dermatologist who, after many tests prescribed a low dosage of methotrexate, a drug designed for cancer treatment. The consultant warned me that any GP would be bemused by the treatment but it was very successful. Unfortunately after a couple of years blood tests showed some impact on my liver so I stopped taking them. The condition returned on the palm of my right hand, and essentially I learnt to live with it.
 

superheat6k

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Wash the affected area with Dermol 50 soap and ask your Doctor if 'Protopic' can be prescribed - non steroid and has been simply brilliant for our Daughter. This is an immune suppressant, so needs medical advice to confirm its suitability.
 

Binman

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Lately my hands have become quite sore and slightly splitting, what works for me is a hydrocortisone cream, contains only 1% of hydrocortisone. By PL Holder Pinewood Laboratories Ireland, I had a skin test years ago and found to be allergic Rubber amongst other things, I had dermatitis from head to foot, also Lanolin and alcohol to avoid as ingredients, I use a alcohol free aftershave, avoid any cream with the two aforementioned products, also any soap, washing up liquid and hair shampoo, you can use antiseptic wipes as long as product free, rinse your hands fully after cleaning them, dry them under a hair drier. Mine flared up two days ago and quite sore, got instant relief over night using above cream. Use twice a day. It says not to use on cracked skin, but knowing how painful your hands are, like me rules are to be broken, first time use at night, in the morning you will ask yourself what was all the fuss about. More info on line. Hope this helps.
 
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Lately my hands have become quite sore and slightly splitting, what works for me is a hydrocortisone cream, contains only 1% of hydrocortisone. By PL Holder Pinewood Laboratories Ireland, I had a skin test years ago and found to be allergic Rubber amongst other things, I had dermatitis from head to foot, also Lanolin and alcohol to avoid as ingredients, I use a alcohol free aftershave, avoid any cream with the two aforementioned products, also any soap, washing up liquid and hair shampoo, you can use antiseptic wipes as long as product free, rinse your hands fully after cleaning them, dry them under a hair drier. Mine flared up two days ago and quite sore, got instant relief over night using above cream. Use twice a day. It says not to use on cracked skin, but knowing how painful your hands are, like me rules are to be broken, first time use at night, in the morning you will ask yourself what was all the fuss about. More info on line. Hope this helps.

I suffer from 'occupational' dermatitis on the palms and fingers of both hands, its very painfully when it flares up.
I do all the above things and my hands stay crack free...but recently I have noticed them deteriorate rapidly.. I have not done anything different except use hand sanitiser from a small bottle at lunch times. I know they contain alcohol so I need to find a non alcoholic brand perhaps.
 

bitbaltic

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Hmmm sorry to hear that.

We have eczema in the family. Kept under control with short sharp shock of steroid creme. But then more epaderm than you can believe. My wife used to put tubigrips on my sons legs overnight to effectively keep them wet with creme. I don't know much about hands though.

Another vote for Epaderm which I'm using at the moment as every so often I get a bit of contact dermatitis (I blame the washing up!). I see you can buy it without any prescription.

To the OP, the steroid cream you have should reduce the irritation but your GP should also have given you something to moisturize- this is what the epaderm would be for (rather than a barrier cream). You could try a 'wet wrap' (this is what robplm is referring to above) which means just before bed lathering on a load of epaderm then putting on a cotton glove (available from chemists) to sleep at night. You might even end up going so far as to put more epaderm on top of the glove and then plastic bags on top of that.

As Birdseye says though this is more the realm of medics than sailors and if you didn't get this sort of advice when you went to the GP in the first place I'd go back and ask again.

Cheers
 

Fantasie 19

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Another vote for Epaderm which I'm using at the moment as every so often I get a bit of contact dermatitis (I blame the washing up!). I see you can buy it without any prescription.

To the OP, the steroid cream you have should reduce the irritation but your GP should also have given you something to moisturize- this is what the epaderm would be for (rather than a barrier cream). You could try a 'wet wrap' (this is what robplm is referring to above) which means just before bed lathering on a load of epaderm then putting on a cotton glove (available from chemists) to sleep at night. You might even end up going so far as to put more epaderm on top of the glove and then plastic bags on top of that.

As Birdseye says though this is more the realm of medics than sailors and if you didn't get this sort of advice when you went to the GP in the first place I'd go back and ask again.

Cheers

I've had eczma all my life... bandages at night when a kid an all that.....used to prescribe betnovate and we slathered it on (these were the days before they found out the damage it can do)... now I use nothing other than Aveeno - works for me... for cracked skin on fingers (which I get in winter as I'm an all year round cycle commuter) I discovered off the shelf "cracked heel cream" is particularly effective...
 

Cornish Puffin

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Thank you for all the information, I did get a huge tub of non scented cream (forget the name) which does seem very good. The issue is that I cant seem to make it disappear but maybe a break of a few weeks from DIY etc will assist with this. I do wake up with very dry hands so I think I should get some cotton gloves as well to help. All great advice - thanks.
 

Channel Sailor

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I have an identical problem. Had it for many years. Best gloves I have had were sealskinzs. Mine worn out a few years ago but I will be looking for another pair soon. I recall they were expensive. In dry weather I save the sealskinzs and use racing type leather gloves because they cope with the rope and sail handling wear better. Disposable examination gloves are useful just to pop on for a quick mucky job like oil level checks. For anchor chain work I use those very common red industrial plasticky gloves with cotton inner surface.
 
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