Thursday, March 05, 2009

Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts!

OK, not death. And not a thousand. But still...oh, so very, very annoying!

My fingers go on these jags wherein, for a couple weeks every so often, it seems as if the cuticle around the nails tears at the slightest provocation. Since I handle paper as part of my job (oh, the perils of office work!), I can't avoid the chief cause of the injuries. The last couple of weeks I've been furiously painting Liquid Bandage on one finger, then another, and then recovering the wounds an hour later when the stuff peels off. Anybody know a better product? I have considered Super Glue, but it is pretty much a one-time use product for me, since I can never get the lid off more than once. If it gets too bad, I'll wear latex gloves at work. It looks weirdly creepy, though, so I like to avoid that.


Abi said...

You could use those individual little latex gloves for fingers (IYKWIM). You would still look a bit weird, but in a slightly different way to how you would look wearing the gloves. Perhaps more eccentric than creepy...

yanub said...

Abi, do you know where those are usually sold? I'd thought of them before, but I never see them.

Abi said...

America? I have never seen such an item in England. I know - so helpful!

I heard about them here:, and they came to mind as appropriate for your situation. She lives in Memphis, so that narrows it down a bit...

Sorry - I thought that they might be the sort of thing one can get in America, but not in England (although I have never looked in England. In fact, scrap that - I just looked on the English Internet and they are there). Perhaps the Internet would be a good source?

FridaWrites said...

Use Burt's Bees Farmer's Friend on your hands. My son gets these terribly chapped hands that turn bright red and crack and that's all that will work. Works really well for me too. Smells eucalyptusy but worth it.

There's also a product you can get at office supply stores that comes in a tin--I'm trying to tap back into my secretarial days and that was a long, long time ago and also some kind of product you can get to put on your fingers for turning pages--like a flexible plastic piece or something? Check the Staples catalog/store--I'm not having luck looking for it. Or if you have someone who orders a lot of office supplies for everyone, he/she may have come across it at some point.

Latex--I'd check to see that no one's allergic; even for yourself, I'd suggest nonlatex since it's said everyone will eventually get allergic given enough exposure.

FridaWrites said...

Ah ha, here we go, fingertip moistener, keeps problem from occurring:

And fingerpads:

Burt's Bees may help some with prevention/healing, though the moisturizer or a physical barrier on the fingertips would help more for prevention.

Long term memory, still intact! :)

Lisa Moon said...

As a licensed esthetician, I'd love to be close enough to treat your poor hands... but all I can offer is a bit of advice.

First, prevention: Burt's Bees have excellent products, I agree. You'll also need a good, thick moisturiser serveral times a day, especially with all that paper, which dries your skin out!

As Abi mentioned, those little finger cots (I've seen them at drugstores!), which I like to call finger condoms. ;) Sorry if that creeps you out, lol!

And those finger/page turner things do work well and would also protect your digits.

Treatment: Again, a good esthetician could help keep those torn cuticles under control, but I like to teach people how to care for themselves at home, with natural products, too.

At that drugstore, look for a good quality cuticle nipper, which MUST look like this:

The brands shown there are now available at drugstores; you can also find them by Revlon or Sally Hansen, most likely. They should work fine; inspect the blades before you purchase. Make sure they are perfect, sharp edges, with no imperfections in the cutting edge and that the nipper just looks sturdy in general.

Now, once upon a time they used to cut cuticles within an inch of their life - and yours. NO MORE. These are used to trim off (and they are SHARP and very precise) dead skin, like torn cuticles or 'hangnails'. They can also nip off a bit of nail that got torn and is in the corner of the nailbed, if you know what I mean.

ALWAYS use these when your skin has been wet for a few minutes - just like when you see manicurists with client fingers soaking. After a shower is easiest, or just soak in a bowl of warm water for a minute or 2. *If you want to trim & file your nails while you're at it, do this BEFORE soaking, as you should never file wet nails. Also, file in one direction only, not the sawing motions we've seen on TV (makes the layers of the nail raise and can lead to cracking and peeling nails...).

When you trim, you should always work in ONE direction only - so keep the pointy end of the nippers going forward, if that makes sense? This is to keep the skin as smooth as possible, to avoid more tears.

After this is when you need to slather on something really thick and rich for your cuticles (the Burt's Bees works well). If you have vitamin E capsules, poking a hole in one with a pin and using the oil is great. I also use coconut oil for cooking and it's excellent for skin, too! Very handy!

Umm, sorry to ramble on; hope you don't mind the mini-lesson. I'm happy to answer any questions around skin and body care. Just email if you're interested.

Good luck with those hands!

yanub said...

Lisa, thanks for the overview on fingertip care. I don't do much to my hands other than put on some lotion or filing and clipping nails. The worse my near vision gets, the less attention I lavish on cosmetic things. I will look for the clippers you suggest, but maybe I should get one of those free-standing magnifiers first. I'll try your prevention tips, too. So, use a different product than Burt's Bees also? Anything I should clearly not use?

Frida, I have Sortkwik at work--I demanded it--but it is never available to me because someone, I'm not saying who, just doesn't see the point and keeps putting it away where it does no good to anyone. I've never gotten the hang of those rubber finger things, or of how to use an eraser as a paper mover, which is what the someone in question does. I think it may make a difference that she is right handed and I'm left handed, so she attacks the paper from a different angle.

Finger cots--thanks y'all. Maybe one of those would be OK, though I suspect I'd be better off sticking with the gloves if I need to cover more fingers!

Oh, Abi, the story about the finger cots and the teen boy--priceless!