Dem Old Winter Blues

The furnace is on, and my hands are already taking on their crone-like winter texture - dry, hard, mean.

So what’s a knittin’ gal to do? I can actually snag yarn on these claws!

What do my fellow knitters use or do to keep their hands soft in these dry times? I’ve done everything from pumice stones to gloves on overnight with hand lotion.

Opinions, please!

Lotion Lotion Lotion…Try Udder Cream, it is a bit thicker than most, or Neutrogenia Hand Cream. The trick is to have some moisture on your hands before you apply lotion, so it adheres and helps to lock in the moisture. Wash your hands with warm, not hot, water before, then apply lotion. You may want to consider using a milder dishwashing soap too. That is REALLY drying. Another thing is don’t use super hot water, it is VERY drying.

I have found that most any kind of lotion made by Aveeno works well for me.I am constantly washing my hands during the day, so my hands get horribly dry. Aveeno has one that is called “intense relief hand cream”.

Dishwashing detergent (and shampoo, and soap, etc…) all have a detergent called Sodium Laurel Sulfate in it that will dry out your skin. It strips the oils and disrupts the proteins in your skin cells.

Also, the dry winter air means that the skin cells lose a lot more moisture than they normally would. This will speed up the programmed demise of these cells because the loss of water decreases or hinders the cells’ normal functions.

So try and avoid using too many harsh detergents (and things with Sodium Laurel Sulfate) or at least wear gloves while doing dishes. Also, make sure you put on a lot of lotion that has some sort of “grease” to it: shea butter, cocoa butter, petroleum, etc… this will help to create a water barrier to keep the moisture in and also will be the first to go if you come in contact with detergents (instead of your skin’s natural proteins and oils).

When things get really bad, slather “greasy” lotion on at night and sleep with cotton gloves on to make sure i hydrate the top layer of skin as much as possible.

Sorry for sounding like a commercial, but i hope this helps!

Oh, and one more thing!

Make sure you keep your cuticles soft too as they will tend to dry out and peel and cause larger areas of cell death (dryness).

I use Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream but there are other oil based products.


I have a parfin hand bath. It’s knida a pain to operate and keep on, but it works wonders! I first bought mine when I was working in a kitchen and with all the hand washing my hands were actually cracking. This fixed them right up and it feels so good!

Some lotion that my Aunt makes. It’s key thing is beeswax, and it’s really nice stuff. It sort of feels like your hands are just getting greasey, and the more you rub it in the more it feels greasey, but then when you stop and just ignore them for a while you find that it’s sunk into your skin.

I love the Burt’s Bees cuticle cream…I keep one in my desk at work, and one on my nightstand. Same wiht their lip balm. I work with paper all day which is very drying. Their normal to dry lotion is a bit thinner that I like though. Good summertime lotion for me.

I have never been a big lotion user, not brand loyal, etc – but I think I’ve discovered my be-all, end all lotion. It’s made a lotion lover out of me: Olay Quench. It’s faaaabulous. :thumbsup:

In addition to the excellent advice already given… look for some kind of barrier moisturizer, which will help lock moisture IN, and apply it to moist hands. Avon’s Silicone Glove is a good one… I make a knitter’s hand balm with lots of beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, & lanolin. It’s a solid bar that you rub between your hands so it “melts” from the friction and body heat. Burt’s Bees makes something similar, as does Heal My Hands. It’s nice to put on just before you knit, since it seems to seal your skin and prevent snagging.

oh your knitters hand blam sounds wonderful. I need a major balm for my feet. I tend to be barefoot 90% of the time. Tried Z’s crack creme though it stinks of cloves heavily. Do you have a recommendation for something extra strength for that?

I recently discovered Aquaphor. It’s perfect for soothing “winter knitters hands” (and heels!). I found it in my grocery store’s “health and beauty” aisle. So, I think it’s pretty readily available.

Lasts forever, too. A little dab will do ya!

Bath and Body Works has a cream that is made with marshmallows - its from France - and its absolutely wonderful for moisturizing the skin. I started using it on my elbows and ankles, which are always dried up and icky, and it made a world of difference.

I’m going to be using it on my hands this winter as well and hopefully it’ll have the same great result!

Man I know exactly what you mean. Here it comes.

I wish I had a parafin bath thingy! But they cost a lot, like $60 or more I think?

One great GREAT thing to use, oh my god it’s unbelievable, is any handcream you can get made from sheep/wool/lanolin. I’ve bought this twice so far and it’s so totally worth it. I just got another kind at the NY Wool & Sheep festival last weekend. It was $7 for a small jar but it lasts a long time and is way efficient. I just looked at the ingredients and it does have beeswax in it, in addition to lanolin, almond oil, witch hazel… If you get desperate and want to try it you can order this one I have from Baitsholts Farms (they have an email address) but you have to pay shipping on top of that $7. It’s so nice, called Wool Butter.

But, a lot yarn stores have this stuff. Give it a try come January when the cracks are gettin really big!

I love my Bath and Body works purley silk body lotion. It’s the only one that I found that softens my feet. So I use it for hands and everything too.

Oh, baby, baby…my Baby :inlove: Baby got me a paraffin wax spa and I am in :heart: :heart: with it!! AND he always goes to Bath & Body Works and brings me surprises like my very fave cream with shea butter. I would love to get my hands on some natural shea butter, I’ve seen it on TV, I have forgotten the name of the manufacturer, but when next I see it…I want it :wink:
Oh, and after the paraffin waxing of the hands, the oil that is left on your hands is great to rub on bamboo needles…briskly rub the bamboo in your hands & as your hands heat up & friction begins the bamboo sucks in the oils and it is then ever so smooth to knit with :smiley:

eeew sounds dreamy. I hear they are good for arthirtus as well. Did you dunk your feet too? Go on and do it.

Oh yeah, I do feet, elbows, everything. I paint my hip and leg…it helps with the pain from all of my hip replacements, other hip surgeries & really helps after hip dislocation!! I realllllly love it!!!

Anything with beeswax or almond oil is great for me. There is a local bee dude here in Oregon that sells this wonderful bee and herb stuff that is outta this world. Maybe you have a local farmers market near you?

I have horribly dry skin and the dreaded excema…dry winter air is really horrible and downright painful.

But, I’ve found that if I slather on Eucerin cream (or any other heavy cream–not lotion b/c it’s too watery) at night before going to sleep, really work it into my cuticles, and then put on cotton gloves, my hands stay moisturized most of the next day (though I do still put on a non-greasy lotion like Aveeno after washing my hands). The trick, of course, is keeping the gloves on while sleeping…

Oh, and the same holds true for dry feet: slather them with cream, put on socks, then sleep away the dryness!

It’s not really very romantic wearing socks and gloves to bed, but it keeps the dry skin at bay during the winter :smiley: