In the grand scheme of things, dry skin, rough nails and cracked fingertips are not serious health problems. But they certainly can make life miserable.
Writing a check or buttoning a shirt with cracked fingertips can be extremely painful. Rough nails snag scarves and socks. And red rough skin, common at this time of year, can be quite distressing.
Cosmetic companies have developed pricey anti-aging moisturizers for all sorts of skin problems. But sometimes inexpensive, old-fashioned products can help solve some of life?s vexing problems.
Several weeks ago a reader asked: ?What can my husband use on the ends of his fingers? They crack even though he uses hand cream.?
We suggested barnyard beauty aids such as Udder Cream and Bag Balm. Hoofmaker can also aid human nails and fingertips. The original formula of Preparation H, which contained shark liver oil and live yeast cell derivative (biodyne), had a reputation for healing cracked fingertips. It is available only from Canada.
Other readers rushed to share their favorite remedies with the sufferer: ?I want to tell you of a cure that works overnight. That may seem impossible, but A&D Ointment will do just that. It?s great for babies, but by accident my husband found it works!?
We don?t know how much the vitamins and fish oil in the formula help, and how much could be attributed to the petroleum jelly base. For years dermatologists have recommended moisturizing with petrolatum at night, then donning cheap white cotton gloves to keep the goo off the sheets.
To protect and heal fingertips during the day, one reader had a unique solution: ?When I was a cop I used to suffer in harsh weather from cracking at the end of my fingers. A friend of mine who served on a ship on the South Pacific during WWII told me a trick that they used: coat the ends of my injured fingers with Chapstick. This healed my fingers and prevented further cracking. I've shared this with others and they achieved the same results.?