T-rex hands and feet
August 12, 2017 8:46 AM   Subscribe

How do I heal my dry scaly hands and feet?

Pedicures? Hand cream (any recommendations?) exfoliation?
How do I deal with callouses and bumpy parts from too much pressure?
Also does anyone know how to keep nails clean?

Looking for things that I can do while in the shower or throughout the day (e.g. hand cream at work), I think I'm slightly too busy to do like a 30-minute soak-and-file routine every single week!

Thank you!!
posted by Crookshanks_Meow to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pricey but this is the best hand cream I've been able to find. The foot cream is also lovely.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:00 AM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Working Hands is amazing. They have a foot cream too but I haven't tried that.
posted by BibiRose at 9:04 AM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

The last time I had scaly skin I mentioned it to the doc and got a prescription lotion that really helped.

Keeping nails clean - I think this really depends on what your work and hobbies. I keep my nails short and that helps, but my hobbies and work for the most part don't involve anything that gets my nails too dirty. Without knowing more, I'd say short nails and a nail brush. If your work and/or hobbies involve getting your nails dirty, maybe try cleaning under your nails when you wash your hands.

Calluses are there to protect you, and they go away when you stop doing whatever generates the calluses. I do have something like this callus remover that I keep in the shower. It has a microplane on one side and a file on the other, and it helps take the edge off of the calluses on my feet. I don't try to file them all the way down, just smooth things out. I start with the microplane and then use the file side.

I've heard good things about slathering lotion on dry hands or feet and then putting on socks or gloves before bed, but I haven't tried it.

Regular pedicures are also helpful. Even once or twice a month would probably help.
posted by bunderful at 9:10 AM on August 12, 2017

Glycolic lotion will help. I get old lady scaly dry legs & upper arms & it helps a lot. I use this brand but there are many out there. Add a glycolic body wash into the mix too. The glycolic component helps exfoliate the dry scaly skin that can actually act as a barrier to moisturizers. YOU can then throw an intensive moisturiser on top if you need extra moisturisation. My skin is used to AHA/Glycolic but start slowly if you're not used to using them and use a sunscreen.

I've also had great luck with foot peeling masks. They are kind of gross to use & see all that dead skin peeling off so not for the faint of heart.
posted by wwax at 9:11 AM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

40% Urea Cream, available on Amazon. As per my dermatologist.
posted by jbenben at 9:48 AM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Before gardening I scrape a soft bar of soap getting it packed under the nails. Keeps the dirt out and rinses easily.
posted by Botanizer at 10:05 AM on August 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

For feet: Babyfeet socks essentially return your feet to a prelapsarian version of your adult feet. Intense and incredible.

For hands: Slather olive oil or Aquaphor on your hands. Massage it into your skin, and put on a cheap pair of cotton gloves. Go to bed in them for a couple of days.

For nails: keep them short as possible and keep a soft-bristled toothbrush by the home sink to do a quick swipe at night.
posted by vacuumsealed at 10:07 AM on August 12, 2017

Seconding Working Hands
posted by duoshao at 10:28 AM on August 12, 2017

I swear by Zim's Crack Creme. (Twofold terrible name. It's not for your butt, and it's an oil.) I get deep cracks on my heels, and the skin gets very dry and itchy, especially in the winter. I put it on in the morning before socks. It's really oily, so I wouldn't want to stain my sandals (or bed sheets by using it at night) or slip on floors if barefoot. My feet are transformed after two days of this. It works so well that I inwardly judge people now for not having soft pink feet like mine.
posted by Neeuq Nus at 10:58 AM on August 12, 2017

Aquaphor on your hands.

Last year I went to CVS to get something for severely chapped hands. I asked the pharmacist if there was anything better, and he said no, but it's mostly petroleum jelly so if I had vaseline I could use it, or buy some for much less.

He suggested using some after a shower on barely damp hands. Use a tiny bit and just work it in. It worked wonders, quickly. Great on feet, too.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:16 AM on August 12, 2017

Working Hands keep my hands soft and keeps tiny ragged edges from "catching" on yarn as I crochet. A major plus while working with drywall compound or painting a room.
Shea Moisture has a line of bar soap that I love, also. I currently have the olive and green tea by the kitchen sink while I cook, and once it's gone I have the frankincense and myrrh.
posted by TrishaU at 11:19 AM on August 12, 2017

The only thing that has ever worked for my chronically dry peeling feet is to keep a Mr. Pumice type pumice bar in the shower and scrub them every day. I don't go to town it's just consistency that's the key. I use a little Dr. Bronner peppermint on the bar. I've tried every moisturizer under the sun and none of them worked like daily pumice maintenance. Adds maybe 90 seconds to my routine.
posted by rdnnyc at 12:57 PM on August 12, 2017

I have really nasty hangnails so I've taken to smearing Olivina Hand Rescue on my fingertips before bed -- rubbing it in a little, but mostly nice and thick. And then I cover my hands with small socks (the no-show kind) and going to bed like that. I usually take the socks off at some point in my sleep, but the idea is that there's a good chunk of time the elventy-billion oils and butters and so forth have time to really sink in, helped by the heat of my hands being inside something and kind of balled up.

(I feel it is important to note here that I do not share a bed with any living creatures. And yes I look ridiculous/a little cute, but it is having an effect!)

I tried the babyfeet foot mask thing and it didn't really help much, but I can also cut the calluses off of my heels with a knife, but if your calluses aren't suuuuper thick, it is pretty revolutionary.
posted by kalimac at 1:06 PM on August 12, 2017

Get a nail brush and scrub your nails in the shower. Easy. Get a tub of coconut oil - it is a food-grade solid you can get in any grocery store. Apply after showers and through the day at work. Also easy.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:36 PM on August 12, 2017

When my hands were dry and peeling, I used Lush coconut hand scrub in the shower and followed up with L'Occitane 20% shea hand cream (linked above--make sure you get the 20%, a lot of the scented varieties are only 15% shea). It's really important to moisturize after exfoliation, and try to put it on after every time you wash your hands throughout the day if you can. The L'Occitane hand cream is the best that I've found which still absorbs quickly enough that I can use it at work and immediately go back to typing without feeling like my hands are gross.
posted by serelliya at 2:35 PM on August 12, 2017

I've yet to see a pricey combination that works better for the feet than Vaseline at night + socks. It's not a great experience aesthetically, but...
posted by praemunire at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bacon fat in socks while you sleep. No extraneous ingredients, absorbs readily with minimal grease. I use it year round as chapstick on my lips and eyelids, I'm very sensitive, it's the only thing I've found that doesn't decrease my skin's natural oil production. If I understand right, it has a similar lipid profile to human fat?

Lifestyle: wear gloves & avoid contact with wind, harsh chemicals, exfoliants...
posted by fritillary at 3:05 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have moderate eczema on one hand. (Not sure if this is your issue?) The prescription cream the doctor gave me smelled bad and didn't really work. But I've found two lotions that heal it - both are scent-free too:
Glysomed (white is scent free)
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Mine is exacerbated by getting my hands wet but obviously that's hard to avoid!
posted by beyond_pink at 3:12 PM on August 12, 2017

And quit using liquid hand soap. That stuff's brutal.
posted by kate4914 at 4:07 PM on August 12, 2017

For feet, I've had good results applying Flexitol Heel balm (25% urea) at bedtime every night until scaly/callus issues resolve, then switch to a non medicated hypoallergenic cream like Vanicream to maintain. For both, cover with socks for best results. In the winter I'll do Vanicream in the morning sometimes too, especially if I'll be wearing snowmobile boots all day.

Flexitol also makes a hand cream (10% urea), but my hands aren't as bad, so there I just do Vanicream at night as needed, topping with cheapo fabric gloves if they are extra irritated.

For nail cleanliness, definitely a nail brush. And if you are someone who lets their nails grow out a bit, but doesn't really get into the whole nail polish thing, you can get a "nail white pencil" to color under the tips periodically, it gives a cleaner look than leaving them translucent.
posted by superna at 8:25 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

i use Allergenics' Natural Emollient Non-Steroidal Cream and it works for fighting eczema, their heavy-duty handcream is half beeswax, used before using cleaning chemicals or water (not immediately before, before i left to go to work) and after, it was the only thing that stopped my hands' sore sensitivity and bleeding and made them able to cope. I reckon it's the beeswax, which is normally too heavy for handcream - i don't use it now i don't clean for a living and work in kitchens.

Alcohol is very drying for skin and hands, mine flake immediately, it's in all antibacterial cleansers and lots of other stuff. Just constantly being in water is bad for them - you're not an amphibian - even a wet atmosphere can make skin peel (lips in winter)
posted by maiamaia at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2017

you can just use shea butter on it's own, but get milled or fractionated not just a solid block, or cocoa butter or whatever. It's cheaper and better ingredients, but your skin will absorb some oils and not others so you have to find out which work for you, don't assume none work because the first two or three don't. Coconut butter, olive oil, sunflower oil are at the extremely hard to absorb, thick end of the spectrum, and two of those you can try for free in your kitchen. Almond oil is the only lighter cheap and widely available one, and it's not that light. Avocado oil, coconut butter, grape seed oil etc are cheapest in the kitchen shop and you can use them up that way if they do nothing for your skin lol
posted by maiamaia at 3:34 PM on August 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

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