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I Forge Iron

Cracked Finger Tips


knots

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Every winter about this time my fingers develop deep cracks. Since I can't seem to avoid them I have resorted to stabilizing these cracks/fissures with Super Glue. It doesn't take much just a drop or at most two drops. There is no need to try to close the cracks, just having the glue in there will stabilize then and allow healing to set in.

The label says that some are allergic to this glue . Before using it you might need to test a small area.

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I get the same problem with the skin on my fingers cracking. Not just in winter though :( I've found that a good barrier cream and then something like Norwegian Formula or E45 after the days work helps slow down the problem, or stops it from starting. I'd guess a lot of 'us' have hands like rhinocerous hide, but it's possible to keep the skin supple, even if it is thick :)

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Try avoiding antibacterial hand washing liquids. Go to using regular bar soap. This will be easier on your skin, and may help. It may make no difference, but probably will take a month to figure that out..

A former coworker who was badly burned on the hands while in the military uses Chapstick on his fingers with good results.

Phil

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There is a product called New Skin that you may want to look into instead of Krazy Glue.

Cracking is a result of dryness. Anything that takes the natural oils out of the skin will cause this. Soaps, solvents, etc.. Using a good hand lotion will help. I found out about dry skin when I moved to the desert.

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Try bag balm. Dairy farmers use it on their milk cows. There are probably several brands but any of them should work. You can find it at your local farm and ranch supply. It's inexpensive and a little goes a long way. If you check the ingredients you'll find it's pretty much the same stuff that sells for a whole lot more at the pharmacies. Put a good amount on your hand(s) at night and cover them with light fabric gloves or even a sock. You should see results pretty quickly.

It sounds a bit goofy but several of our local doctors recommend it and I know it has worked for me. Even if it doesn't it's a lot like chicken soup - it can't hurt. Good luck and a Happy New Year to all.

Bill

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I have this problem very badly. I've been to the dermatologist several times. Super glue helps some but not enough for me. My guess is that the cold causes the blood vessels to contract and the reduced bloodflow means the skin isnt getting all it needs to stay supple.

My solution is to not to wash my hands at all if possible. I clean them off with lard and then wipe that off with a paper towel. Petroleum jelly or bag balm work too. Crisco is not as effective. Lard is the cheapest and most effective at both cleaning and protection. If it gets really bad, wearing surgical gloves for a few hours, or even overnight will work magic.

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I find that the cracks dont seem to heal because of dryness and the depth of crack. I use sandpaper on my fingertips which reduces crack depth and promotes faster healing, then apply cream,..
Use 80 grit.. and put an end to those cracking tips! ;)

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Could be too that you are using the wrong quenching medium, may try a brine solution,or a warm oil. Then again if your fingertips are getting hot enough to need a quenching, ya need to step back some :P

This started as sarcasm, but I got to thinking that the IR radiation given off by the forge may be what is promoting the dry fingertips. Is it more prominent on one hand compared to the other?

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Yes bag balm! I've never found anything better. One thing I've done in the winter when it gets bad is keep one pair of gloves greasy with balm. I grease my hands up and wear my devoted gloves usually while doing tractor work or something I won't need dexterity for. Hasn't been to bad lately but when it happens it just seems to get worse and worse until I get proactive. One of the guys that works here greases up his hands then puts on rubber gloves. Cutting and grinding glass with constant water will put a hurtin on you if your not paying attention.
I do think standing in front of the forge and dealing with hot stuff is a big part of the problem. Price of admission.

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I use the glue only when the fissures start to bleed and are painful. Otherwise I do use sand paper and a sharp knife to carve the really thick dead stuff off. Corn huskers lotion is what I have been using to soften the skin. I think I will give the bag balm a try. Southern States should have it.

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all the above sound like great advice - my only thought is that sometimes these kind of things are not an external reaction to say cold heat etc but an external symptom of a (for instance) stress related thing - a good accupuncturist may be able to transform this problem for some people... the docs can be very good at prescribing for the symptoms rather than the cause - usually due to short appointment times etc.

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Dan, what are you doing for work? When I was younger I had to quit carpentry...the kiln dried lumber drew the oil out of my hands. Next to go was dishwashing, one sinkfull and my hands would crack open. Glad the superglue helps, this is a problem I had for many years, but I have somehow recovered from. As Maddog said, wash your hands as seldom as possible, take very short showers, keep your hands dry, bagbalm helps, cocoa butter is the ultimate cure I ever found.

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I asked my dentist once what he did to avoid this sort of thing as he would wash his hands 40-50 times a day. He advised using cold water to wash with.

IIRC PTree has recommended a product in the past that they used in the large industrial situations and had this sort of problem plummet! Might want to search for the earlier threads.

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I like to use products that have glycerin in them like Cornhuskers and Neurtogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. First they are not oil or grease based so they don't make things slippery or stain paper. Second they help your skin retain moisture better than the greasy stuff dose. I have used one or the other for forty-five years with great success. If you can find it Cornhuskers lotion is a lot cheaper than Neutrogena products by a whole lot of money. Neutrogena does a lot of advertising and Cornhuskers relies more on word of mouth. I personally hate the fell of any lotion but when push comes to shove I'll take a glycerin based one as it seems to allow me to heal up faster. Also the super glue is a real help for very bad cracks and I have even used it on minor cuts. My animal vet uses it on cats when he de-claws them, says it's better for them then stitching the wound closed as it just grows off as the surgical wound heals, no fighting the cat to remove stitches later. My heels crack in the summer when I wear sandals so I use Cornhuskers at night and super glue to close the cracks.

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  • 1 month later...

Winter takes it's toll on those of us that use our hands for work. I used to use my mind for work but when that started to crack I quit. :blink:

What I've found best for me is Burt's Bees Hand Salve "A farmers friend" Manufactured in Durham, NC.

I find that leather gloves will wick the moisture right outta my hands. That's why my left hand is worse then the right.

Mark<><

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I use the corn huskers and steal a bit of the Neutrogena every night form my wife's supply. When cracking starts I also use Burts Bees Hand Salve as suggested by Marksnagel. This winter's cracking event was brought on by finishing the chore of putting fire wood up for the winter. Last year it was fabricating my tandem trailer.

I only use the glue when things get to the point of bleeding and throbbing . Bentiron, so it works for de-clawing cats ! My original logic for it's use was that surgeons use glue. I bet they buy theirs at Home Depot as well. Next event I plan to try the Teat salve.



Old N Rusty, Heat treating hands ? HMM - What is the critical temperature and quench medium ? Do you need to anneal or normalize first ? wink.gif
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  • 2 months later...

Every winter about this time my fingers develop deep cracks. Since I can't seem to avoid them I have resorted to stabilizing these cracks/fissures with Super Glue. It doesn't take much just a drop or at most two drops. There is no need to try to close the cracks, just having the glue in there will stabilize then and allow healing to set in.

The label says that some are allergic to this glue . Before using it you might need to test a small area.


Superglues contain toxic chemicals that cause asthma and possibly other problems. It might be safer to put vitamin E on your hands, and take zinc supplements.
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Superglues contain toxic chemicals that cause asthma and possibly other problems. It might be safer to put vitamin E on your hands, and take zinc supplements.



When you read my other posts in this topic you will see that I do use other products to maintain my hands. However, despite the their use, my problem persists. It is probably, at least in part, on account of my age. All products have warnings and an abundance of caution should be exercised using any product which defines a specific warning. However, since exposure frequency and severity are undoubtedly a factor, I see little danger using one or two drops 3 to 5 times a year when the fissures are particularly deep and bleeding. That exposure amounts to using this treatment at most once or twice a month.


The following two paragraphs are quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :

Tissue Adhesives

"In recent years, topical cyanoacrylate adhesives ("liquid stitches"), a.k.a super glue, have been used in combination with, or as an alternative to, sutures in wound closure. The adhesive remains liquid until exposed to water or water-containing substances/tissue, after which it cures (polymerizes) and forms a flexible film that bonds to the underlying surface. The tissue adhesive has been shown to act as a barrier to microbial penetration as long as the adhesive film remains intact. Limitations of tissue adhesives include contraindications to use near the eyes and a mild learning curve on correct usage.

Cyanoacrylate is the generic name for cyanoacrylate based fast-acting glues such as methyl-2-cyanoacrylate, ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate (commonly sold under trade names like Superglue and Krazy Glue) and n-butyl-cyanoacrylate. Skin glues like Indermil and Histoacryl were the first medical grade tissue adhesives to be used, and these are composed of n-butyl cyanoacrylate. These worked well but had the disadvantage of having to be stored in the refrigerator, were exothermic so they stung the patient, and the bond was brittle. Nowadays, the longer chain polymer, 2-octyl cyanoacrylate, is the preferred medical grade glue. It is available under various trade names, such as LiquiBand, SurgiSeal, FloraSeal, and Dermabond. These have the advantages of being more flexible, making a stronger bond, and being easier to use. The longer side chain types, for example octyl and butyl forms, also reduce tissue reaction. "

If surgeons can use this product why shouldn't we. I am more concerned about getting brain cancer from my cell phone than the danger of a few drops of this material on my skin each year. The truth is that I am not much concerned about the cell phone/ brain cancer claim either.
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