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Cracked fingers from snow camping
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Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 11:06:30 MDT Print View

On winter trips any longer than an overnight, my skin on my fingers has started to crack and sometimes bleed.

I gave up the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers, which mitigated 50% of the problem. I have tried using vaseline based products during the trip but they are very messy. Would a product like Hydropel help?

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 11:34:27 MDT Print View

I have this problem also. I use a 3M product -- Nexcare Skin Crack Care, it's basically medical grade super glue with some additives. Seals and protects the cracks. I've also used superglue.

Avoiding the hand sanitizer and using lotion also helps somewhat to prevent the problem...

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 12:21:25 MDT Print View

This is for repairs, not prevention, but I also get cracked hands and find the bars of Climb On! to help with quick healing. They're meant as a quick repair salve for rock climbers hands. You can get a 1/2 oz or 1 oz tin at places like REI and they are expensive ($5-10) but last a long time. Scrape off a small amount with your fingernail and pack it into the cracks on your hand, then put liner gloves on before going to bed.
Also, off trail in the winter, try to avoid washing your hands in very hot water, which is terribly drying. I recently went away to a place that didn't have hot water for a week and came back with my hands healed!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 13:09:05 MDT Print View

Berts Bees has a hand salve containing beeswax, 3 oz for 9 bucks at Walmart. It may even work for the feet (as hydropel alternative) and is cheaper than other beeswax brands.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 18:23:10 MDT Print View

> I gave up the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers, which mitigated 50% of the problem
Probably improved your overall skin health too. Cold water and a tiny bit of soap is quite enough hygiene.

What you need to do is to stop your skin from drying out. That means NOT stripping the oils off your skin. No solvents, no harsh soaps. If you have a fairly dry skin anyhow, you may have use some sort of skin care product, like the Vaseline-based ones. If you rub them in well they are not too messy.

One deals with the skin one has.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/11/2012 18:25:26 MDT Print View

Try some Bag Balm:

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Cracked fingers on 04/14/2012 10:06:42 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone. +1 to the need to avoid alcohol based sanitizer.

I tried the Nexcare product already. it works well after the fact but I found it marginal as a preventative measure. When I went to work with my stove or tie knots on my shelter guy lines, my skin cracked under or around the layer of Nexcare probably because it had made the skin more brittle and less flexible.

I found some Burt's Bees salve where beeswax is the third listed ingredient. I might also try the Burt's Bees lip balm where beeswax is the ingredient listed first. There was one Burt's Bees product with bananas in it which I avoided. :-)

matth rhon
(matthrhon) - F
How to get rid of it? on 04/20/2012 04:12:22 MDT Print View

Hi.., Even me facing the same problem. Used so many products but still facing it. I used Nexcare Skin Crack Care also but no result. Can anyone suggest me the better option to get rid of it.

Edited by rcaffin on 04/21/2012 01:00:54 MDT.

Mark Montag
(mMontag) - F
for quick healing on 04/22/2012 14:04:05 MDT Print View

I've had dry hand & finger condition for decades - between living in the Rockies, very dry low humidity environment and always working with my hands, left unchecked my fingers and hands will open up deep cracks and bleed - quite painful. Prolific use of gloves also pulls moisture form your hands and fingers - that might be why you're associating the condition to the mountains, along with the dryer mountain air.

To heal that condition I use Neutrogena hand cream - Norwegian Formula (though made in the USA). Rub it on at night before sleep - may require several applications if you're really dry and at least once during the day. Clears up open cracks in a day or two.

BTW - I found "Vasoline" to be the worst - if fact I believe it actually makes dry hand conditions worse. jmo

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cracked fingers from snow camping on 04/22/2012 14:36:24 MDT Print View

SWEEN CREAM (found at most pharmacies) the best I have found for dry cracked skin. Also works for burns, chaffing and itching. I always take a small vile.


Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Norwegian Formula on 04/22/2012 14:38:19 MDT Print View

+1 to the Norwegian Formula skin cream!

Unfortunately J&J discontinued their First Aid Skin Crack Ointment, which would have been my other recommendation.

Edited by requiem on 04/22/2012 14:39:42 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Bag Balm on 04/27/2012 01:09:34 MDT Print View

Tha farmer's Bag Balm salve for cows udders is great for relieving cracked fingers and prewventing them from happening as well. (No kidding)

Bag Balm comes in a green, metal cube shaped can.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Lotion on 05/06/2012 02:27:54 MDT Print View

L'Occitane's shea butter (20%) hand lotion did the trick for me, after suffering chapped fingers on one ski tour where we had to do a lot of digging in the snow (where getting one's hands wet numerous times is unavoidable).