Janet Marshall is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Living section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter. She thinks most things are fine in moderation.
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A little cracked
If the skin on your fingertips dries out and cracks in the winter, Dr. Patrick Neustatter, a Healthy Living columnist, has a tip for you: Try Super Glue.
I thought he was kidding when he sent me this suggestion yesterday. “Just put a drop on to the crack and let it dry,” Neustatter advised, adding that you should “be careful you don’t get stuck to something, or glue your fingers together before the glue has dried.”
Neustatter noted that physicians use “super glue-type stuff” for the closure of more serious wounds — albeit “special expensive medical” glue. He said using Super Glue for cracked fingers isn’t much different. The glue may be more irritating. “But for a little drop on super-dry skin, that is of no significance.”
Curious, I did a little fishing around online. Amazing what you can turn up by Googling “glue” and “cracked fingers.” It turns out this is a strategy often employed by guitar players for whom cracked, sore fingers are a real pain. I even found a bit about it on the website of Glamour magazine.
The People’s Pharmacy website, well-known for its promotion of home remedies, also mentions trying “instant glue” for cracked, dry fingers. It suggests an alternative to the Super Glue fix. “A liquid bandage product from Band-Aid is formulated for skin and less likely to be irritating than a household adhesive,” the site says.
The People’s Pharmacy also suggests trying petroleum jelly and even Vicks VapoRub to moisturize dry skin. On a website for guitarists, Nexcare Liquid Bandage drops seemed to be a popular fix. The drops dry in 60 seconds, according to the 3m website. (3m makes Nexcare products.)
A story in The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Washington state last year recommended slathering the hands with petroleum jelly, then covering them with gloves. The story — a question/answer piece by a doctor — also advised wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes or using household cleaning chemicals to minimize dryness.
To Neustatter, though, glue — whether Super, Krazy or some other brand — is the preferred remedy.
“I use it all the time,” he told me.