Q: I am a preschool teacher and have to wash my hands dozens of times a day in the attempt to avoid colds and flu. I am suffering the worst case of dry winter skin I can remember, with deep, painful cracks around my fingernails. I’ve tried everything under the sun. My hands are still a mess. Help!
A: Cold, dry air and frequent hand-washing are guaranteed to cause dry-skin misery. Readers tell us that using lip balm on the cracks is sometimes helpful. Another approach for cracked fingertips is instant glue. A safer solution might be liquid bandage, such as New-Skin or the Band-Aid brand. Wearing cotton or disposable vinyl gloves over a greasy moisturizer overnight can also help heal dry, cracked skin.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. E-mail them via their Web site: www.peoples pharmacy.com. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy @gmail.com.