Search Results for 'hands chap'

A SolveEczema Perspective: “The Cure for Dishpan Hands” – Part 1

Over the years, I have been thanked by many people who used SolveEczema.org just to solve a dry skin problem, even if they did not have eczema. I have been thanked by many parents and more than one doctor who realized they could wash their hands frequently when necessary, without drying their skin out. As I am very clear about on my website, I am not a doctor, this is based on my own personal observation and research. Getting results relies on capitalizing on that new perspective, so it is essential to understand that new perspective first.  (I also fundamentally approach things from a Safety First standpoint — I will never suggest doing anything in a way that should make anything worse, or that has to be “toughed out,” so it’s important to understand first AND always keep a doctor in the loop even if they don’t know the site, in case the unexpected happens.)

I am writing this to share what we — and now many others — have done using the Solveczema.org perspective to get unexpected, out-of-the-box results with ameliorating dry skin, for those who maybe can’t seem to find any moisturizing cream thick enough to prevent painful cracked skin during the winter or on travel, or who struggle with washing the dishes even with gloves.

Obviously, I can’t promise a “cure” without a traditional medical study, the title above is just a restatement of the usual idiom and my opinion about its applicability, although this is a perfect set up for a clinical study. I believe this perspective could not only improve the health of health providers’ skin, but also improve compliance with handwashing, and thus help reduce hospital-borne infection.

If you are ready to try this, first read the SolveEczema site disclaimer, watch the SolveEczema site video linked from the home page (note, I made it for a long-concluded crowdfunding for my book and haven’t been able to update the ending, it’s an amateur effort — sorry, it puts me to sleep, too — but it’s only about 45 minutes and is still a good summary of the site).  Read everything here, use your judgment, talk with your physician as needed for health and safety issues, and don’t make any changes until you understand how different this is.  It’s not about individual products, it’s about learning how to have optimal skin health without treatments or moisturizing, by understanding what, in my observation, is really going on.

I need to mention here again an open source paper I posted online about SolveEczema, giving a rough description of how it relates to the eczema and allergy epidemic of recent decades, and summarizing many of the novel observations:  https://thewinnower.com/papers/3412-abnormal-ampli-fication-observations-from-applying-the-engineering-method-to-solving-eczema-and-atopic-disease

It’s only two pages — please refer to the Analysis and Observations section for essential novel observations.

Again, with my apologies for the presumption of giving this a personal, alliterative name like this in hopes of making it more memorable, I also need to restate this very different-from-traditional view of why skin becomes dry after washing, per my own observations, because it’s crucial for getting results:

Photo of bar soap on soap tray

Lumsdaine’s Law: For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is left on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

 

 

Photo of dry hand skin

Photo of dry hand courtesy of Wikimedia

Water alone on the skin increases the membrane permeability. Membrane permeability is basically just how easily certain substances — like water molecules — can pass through the membrane, from within and without.  If you wash your hands in the winter and don’t dry them well afterwards, your hands chap even if you only washed in water, because the water left on the skin increases the permeability and accelerates water loss.

Under normal conditions, the restoration of water in the skin is quite rapid; if someone washes and it takes days for the skin to rehydrate, my contention is that it’s because of what is on the skin in the meantime, not usually from what was stripped from the skin by normal washing. Detergents on the skin (see the paper) in combination with a small layer of water, including from sweat, dramatically increases permeability and subsequent water loss.

Continued in Part 2…

The SolveEczema view on dry skin

I am reposting a part of reply I just wrote to a comment, since not everyone reads the comments (and I tend not to even read what comes in frequently, because of all the spam).  It covers the issue of myths about dry skin, from my perspective:

With eczema, dryness is almost a separate issue. You won’t hear that from anyone else, because the accepted view is that dryness causes the eczema, which I have found in my experience of actually eliminating eczema is not the case. I say “almost”, because dryness is a modulator that can make people more susceptible with lower levels of detergent exposure, as described on the site. I hear (more than I care to think about) from SolveEczema.org users who use products I find unacceptably drying, who are nevertheless happy because they get rid of the eczema.

   I’m going to write more about the dryness issue in my book – which, thanks to the crowdfunding, I can describe as “upcoming”! My bar soap experiments ended up bringing me to an entirely different idea about dry skin and how products cause it than I expected. Perhaps given the experience with detergent, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

   Again, I believe dryness alone isn’t the reason for the eczema. After seriously experimenting with over a hundred different bar soaps, I also eventually came to the conclusion that dryness associated with the use of the products was not the result of stripping the skin of oils. I came up with a general rule and gave it a name (with some apologies for the presumption, but in hopes of making it more memorable):

   Lumsdaine’s Law: For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is left on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

   Adding too many moisturizing ingredients to soaps seems to backfire. We all think – as I thought before I did these experiments – that skin gets dry from washing because oils are removed, so adding moisturizing ingredients should help, right?  As with so many things, our assumptions trip us up.

   What I found is that immediately after washing with a “moisturizing” product, the skin feels soft – just as it feels soft right after washing with water or moisturizing with a creamy, absorbed moisturizer – but if I only used that product (which I was fastidious about doing while I tried each soap), over time, my hands became horribly dry. It happened over and over again with different “moisturizing” products, the opposite of what I expected.

    The surprise came when I got fed up with how dry my hands were from one product and just went back to my regular soap before my “trial” was over. My hands went back to normal almost immediately, far faster than could be explained by the typical view of how they became dry and how they might have normalized. I was able to repeat this with other products – which led to the lightbulb moment.

    I describe this in my talk – water, alone, a small layer of water on the skin, increases the permeability. Not enough to create eczema, but enough that if one, say, doesn’t dry the skin well enough after washing in the winter (with all the dry air), the hands chap. Increased permeability leads to water loss, leads to dry skin. I warn about absorbed, creamy (what I call “emollient”) moisturizers in my site, in part because they seem to create these same conditions. The skin feels more hydrated immediately after applying – just as it does with small amounts of water, right in the moment – but over time, the skin loses water (among other things). I think this is what is happening with very “moisturizing” soaps. (By the way, this is also why I recommend drying well, with a soap-washed towel, after a shower, NOT patting lightly and moisturizing over too much water – the opposite of the traditional recommendation.)

   I’m not saying some moisturizing ingredients aren’t good or are always going to create these conditions. One of the most lovely soaps I have ever used is the Luxo Banho Creme, which has sweet almond oil in it. But overusing moisturizing ingredients – which results in the kinds of products that make the skin/hands feel very moisturized immediately following usage, perhaps to the point that they don’t even feel clean – seems to create the conditions that lead to water loss over time and dry skin. The Luxo Banho – and every soap I have used that I consider the best – leaves the skin feeling clean and normal, not overly moisturized. On the other end of the spectrum, I think soaps can be drying if saponification is too complete and the end result may thus be far too alkaline – there’s a couple of products where I believe that may be the case – but that’s just a guess.

   Sadly, people with dry skin buy the “moisturizing” products which are in turn going to make their dryness worse, and assume it’s about their skin, not the products they are using!

Image credits: Dry land/water excerpted from freedigitalphotos.net photo by prozac1.  (I can’t seem to force WordPress to directly subtitle the photos anymore, no matter what I do, sorry!)  Soap dish by A.J. Lumsdaine.

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Master list of bar soap recommendations

The task of reporting on my bar soap experiences continues to be somewhat daunting. To really test a given soap, it’s necessary to try it several times, continuously and exclusively, over the course of days. With only one wash, even the most drying soaps don’t necessarily cause the cracking, dryness, even peeling or hangnails that surface with regular use. (Fortunately, I found only a few such drying soaps.)

So, I am going to use this post as my master list, editing it as I go rather than adding new posts on this topic.

I have done my best to determine that each of these products is a true soap, but as I recommend on the site, always, always check first. These are my subjective experiences and opinions.  This earlier blog post on dry skin, eczema, and soap, may be helpful for evaluating products.

PLEASE NOTE THAT EACH OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS IS FOR JUST THE SPECIFIC SOAP LISTED, OF THAT SPECIFIC “FLAVOR.” A RECOMMENDATION FOR ONE PRODUCT IN A LINE OF SOAPS DOES NOT IMPLY A RECOMMENDATION FOR OTHER SOAPS IN THE SAME LINE. SOMETIMES THE OTHER SOAPS IN THE SAME LINE HAVE PROBLEMATIC INGREDIENTS, FOR EXAMPLE. Also, not all of these soaps are necessarily okay for bathing infants because of other ingredients – I wanted to give grownups in the household some options, too. Always read ingredient labels for individual needs and sensitivities, and because manufacturers can change ingredients.

I am not grading these soaps so much as trying to categorize them.  Even the soaps in Category C (too drying in my experience) may work well for other people or may serve a purpose in someone else’s eczema removal process.  I personally use soaps in the A, A-, and B categories.  It all comes down to personal preference.

As of February 2014, I am editing down the list.  I have by now tried so many bar soap products, I am only going to list the ones I really, really like, or for one reason or other, think should be mentioned for problems (like dryness).  Fortunately, bar soaps is a category where there are literally hundreds of possibilities.

Because I tried so many soaps, I am going to sort the feedback on these soaps into broad categories only:

A) Bar soaps I liked the best: gentle, relatively non-drying, but still left the skin feeling clean, even soft and neutral.
B) Bar soaps I thought were pretty good and neutral, but didn’t make my A-list for one reason or another, such as leaving a lot of soap residue on sink surfaces, having an overwhelming perfume, etc.
C) Bar soaps I personally found too drying to use regularly.  Some of these improved with age to be very good (others did not).

Note that some of these “drying” ones are very popular soaps; individual experiences will vary. I hear good feedback about some of these soaps when it comes to eczema removal, too.  I list them here to provide as many choices as possible.

Please note that many “moisturizing” soaps backfire, causing the skin to feel soft or moisturized at first but increasing the permeability of the skin and causing it to lose water over time.  (Refer to “Lumsdaine’s Law” in previous blog posts.)

UPDATE:  Aging soap, by putting a bar away on a shelf for 6 months to a year, could turn a drying soap into a great one.  I have recently tried a bar of Tact, for example, that I put away for over a year, and it went from being unacceptably drying to absolutely luxurious and gentle to the skin.

CATEGORY A: Bar soaps I liked the best. Good cleansers while still relatively non-drying.
Sappo Hill Natural Fragrance-Free (vegan, good value)
Luxo Banho Creme
Luxo Banho Olive
-Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant Body Bar (only the deodorant body bar)
One With Nature’s Dead Sea Salt Soap (triple milled)
-Savon Extra Pur Orange bar soap (www.lcdpmarseille.com – best aged)
Tea Tree Therapy Vegetable Base Soap
Olivella unscented
Windrift Hill Moisturizing Goats Milk Soap (www.windrifthill.com, greatest scents ever, on the moisturizing side yet still good)
Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Unscented Baby-Mild Pure-Castile Soap (only the baby-mild bar soap, plus let it age a month or two before using)
-Pure Soap Flake Company bar soap (might benefit from a little aging, but a very pure, simple soap – www.puresoapflakes.com)
-Ma Bella Goat Milk Soap (www.mabellaproducts.com, I tried for the first time after the bar was sitting out/aged a few months.)
-Niemela’s Market Gardens Soap (http://www.localharvest.org/niemelas-market-gardens-M60006 Made with rainwater infused comfrey. I have had uneven experience with very small-time handmade soap producers, but these are lovely. I only tried after aging, though.)
Villainess Soaps (Ennui – the fragrance-free – only  http://www.villainess.net/ennui.html  I have only used this after aging the soap 6 months.  Lovely, neutral soap, only drawback is cost.)

Almost as good, I give these an A-:
-pHisoderm pH skin cleansing bar unscented
-South of France French Milled Ultra Moisturizing Shea Butter Soap
-River Soap Company Rose Geranium (www.riversoap.com, almost put in A-list, has strong rose geranium scent)
-Deerhaven Herb and Flower Farm Handmade Soap, Vanilla Bean (www.deerhaven.biz)
-Apiana Alpine Milk Soap (triple milled, made in Switzerland)

CATEGORY B: Bar soaps I thought were pretty good, but didn’t make my A-list for one reason or another.
-Canus Goat’s Milk Soap, Naturally Rich Moisturizing
-Johnson’s Baby Soap Bar

CATEGORY C: Too drying in my experience (Note:  drying soaps may change entirely with aging and be great in 6 -36 months, depending):
-Whole Foods 365 unscented bar soap
-Burt’s Bees Wild Lettuce Complexion Soap
-Golden Moisture Bar Gentle Formula for Dry Skin
-TACT Pure Olive Oil Soap fragrance free (I’ve heard this one is great if aged, I tried an aged bar recently and liked it even better than Olivella on the A-list, absolutely luxurious when aged.)
-The Over-worked Mother’s moisturising herbal hand soap
-Whole Foods Milk French Milled Soap
-Cal Ben Complexion Beauty Pure Soap (Cal Ben liquid dish glow and shampoo in foaming dispensers make great hand wash, the bar is better IMO shaved for making laundry powder)
-Tom’s of Maine natural moisturizing body bar (almost too moisturizing to leave the skin feeling clean upon washing, yet drying later on)
-Trader Joe’s Trader Jacques French Liquid Orange Blossom Honey Hand and Body Soap (also very heavily scented – I let this one age a long time and finally gave up)

GOOD LIQUID SOAP PRODUCTS FOR HANDWASHING: Use in a foaming dispenser (most mixed 1 part soap to 6-10 parts filtered water, depending on the product).
Cal Ben Liquid Dishglow (very concentrated, must be diluted – www.calbenpuresoap.com)
Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Orange liquid soap (www.lcdpmarseille.com)
Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid (Dr. Bronner’s benefits from aging)
Vermont Soap Company Unscented Foaming Hand Soap (comes in a foaming dispenser)
Vermont Soap Company Baby Wash & Shampoo (I like this better to wash hands than as a shampoo, like it even better than the foaming hand soap – but dilute more than 1:10 or it’s too thick for the foaming dispenser).
Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Non-Scents Shampoo & Body Wash (comes in a foaming dispenser – I love this as a shampoo, too).

Lastly, I have purchased and used all of the above products myself.  I do not endorse nor have I accepted any payment to mention or represent products.  For convenience, since people ask for it — and if I don’t, I am swamped with requests for specific product recommendations — I do have an Amazon astore where you can find most of the products (which earns a very small percentage when people buy using the links – on the order of $15/ month in ad revenue.)  Feb 2017 — I have decided to try adding direct product links from the Amazon store to this page.  The links will go to the specific product on Amazon, and I try to choose the cheapest one, but it’s probably a good idea to compare once at Amazon.