product of the week

Fine delicate skin may look and feel very nice and silk-velvety soft, you know, to someone else. But next time you’re admiring skin like that, look closer. It’s thin and easily torn. In my case, it’s also dry and prone to eczema, with varying stages of cracking and flakiness. Across my knuckles and on the sides of my fingers, in their top joint up to the nail. Also, on the inside of my wrists (this is one of the first places eczema strikes me) and from there along the outside edge of my hand.

Worser and worser, I have horrible nails and cuticles because I bite them. Well, “bite” is the diplomatic understatement of the year. Gnaw, tear, pull at, pick at, rip strips off… I do have to be careful, as none of those things are acceptable behavior in polite society, or indeed at work with other human beans. The raw bits, open sores, and paper cuts also happen to be pleasing havens for bugs, my own and those from others’ hands. This all needs to stop, for health reasons alone.

Often, in my case anyway, both the eczema and the nervous self-destruction are tied to levels of stress and anxiety. Even if I seem calm, my hands will tell you what’s happening inside, consciously or otherwise: and, ladies and gents, I am in truth a great big flake.

Every year I’ll try out yet more stuff on the hands. Some works better, some doesn’t do much,some just sits around admiring the scenery until I get annoyed by my hands being all greasy and slippery and wash the damn stuff off. Some stuff, as ever, results in irritation: sometimes if I’m very luck I get to add an exciting new rash to my collection. Being prone to such things, you see, I photograph them. This isn’t some sort of geeky hobby at the weirder extreme of geekiness’s admittedly very wide spectrum; and it’s not a kink. It is for genuinely scientific reasons, and the evidence is collected by my doctor. Eventually it all finds its way into big databases–I’ve been doing various sorts of volunteer activity for years, as I have medically-useful very sensitive skin, and this is kinda paying back my debts to medical science for quite literally saving my skin many times over throughout my life. If I’m lucky, pictures of the more colourful reactions find their way into technical, scholarly, and educational publications.

This isn’t as ace as my friend Elfy, who has (or is going to have, last I heard???) a condition named after her. Fingers crossed and rooting for her on that–though also praying to every deity true, false, living, dead, fantastical, and purely fictitious (whatever the difference might be amongst all of them) that her skin just becomes, one happy day, normal and boring and invisible to the interested gaze of skin science.

My current experimental product for my grotty hands is probably the best thing I’ve used in a very long time. Yes, it’s “unnatural” and yes, it beats every “natural” thing I’ve used. The ingredients are vegan. Its manufacturers are, to the best of my knowledge, cruelty-free; and their lab is–interesting fact–part of the active avant-grade of alternative (non-animal) testing: see here for example. I’ve used something a little like this magic stuff in the past, called something like “invisible gloves.”

My thanks, then, to the brilliant Avironneur for mentioning this stuff en passant on the MakeupAlley Skin Care Board. I jumped up and went straight out and bought some immediately.

Does exactly what it says, no more and no less: gold star for honesty, common sense, straight-forward plain-talking, and general virtuousness

The stuff: Prevex Protectant Cream
Contents: petrolatum + dimethicone, in an anhydrous (thus, no preservative needed, simpler formula, shorter ingredient-list, decreased chance of reaction, etc.) base of microcrystalline wax.
60 g tube for around about CAD$ 12.00 – 18.00 depending on supplier. It’s in drugstores (London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart) and some supermarkets (Save-on-Foods) where I am, and online from

White gloop. Apply to hands. In my case, add some more on nails and cuticles. Rub in. A layer will stay on top of hands, and will stay there through hand-washings. I’m using this twice a day, on top of hydrating serum and plant-based moisturising goop for the morning application (ah, the gentle art of compromise).

I’ve only been using it for a very short time and I can not only see but FEEL the difference in my nail-area.

If this continues as marvelously, I may need to contact the Vatican to get the paperwork going dor Avironneur’s beatification process.

If you have skin like this and have found something sustainably-produced, environmentally-sound (including when you add in transport costs), uses dimethicone, but substitutes something else for the petrolatum? With nothing else in it? And that’s not been covered already on this here blog? Please do let me know!

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