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Nurses and Dry Hands


Hello.. student nurse here. I know I am on the wrong board but I figured if anybody has tips on the matter it would be actual nurses! I'm sure many have this problem.. in the winter months my hands get very dry and crack. I am going to start putting lotion on them every night to try and keep the condition at bay but what are some tips form a nurse to prevent this? What do you do when it happens? Having cracked hands all day and working with patients that could potentially have blood-transmitted diseases is a big no-no. What to do? Thank you so much!

i use vaseline sometimes at night and lotion at work occasionally. especially during the winter. but they sometimes still crack


Specializes in LTC.

Some staff carrry those small travel-size hand lotions for themselves.. You hand wash, dry, then lotion. They refill the little bottles from a large bottle at home as nec. I've done it myself at times and carry the bottle in my pocket. Some carry little tubes of ointment. And I believe those hand sanitizers provided by the facility are supposed to be gentle with moisturizers in them but they burnt for me.

However, I have known facilities that do not allow this practice as they feel there is no way to ensure that the lotion is uncontaminated. Some staff (me, Unit Mgr, 3-11 super) anonymously have provided big bottles of lotion to be kept in the employee bathroom or around the desk by the fax (phone), chart rack, etc). Again, depends on how flexible the place is.

But the real KICKER is the one fancy decanter with a nice lotion that I provided for our STAFF bathroom that disappeared one night. At that one place, I had to run a class and rather than make the staff use the community BR downstairs and down the hall, I opened up our staff BR for the WOMEN'S use. The lotion disappeared. NEVER AGAIN! (Sorry, off the track...).

HINT HINT HINT These little oints may be an idea for coworkers' gifts along with lip balm at Christmas.

wearingmanyhats, RN

Has 23 years experience.

that bag balm stuff is a miracle cure!!! Not pretty by any stretch, but in the dark ages when i started in nursing, we had an old country doctor that would order that for severe excoriated bottoms!!! (and to tell the truth??? It worked!!!!)


Specializes in LTC.

that bag balm stuff is a miracle cure!!! Not pretty by any stretch, but in the dark ages when i started in nursing, we had an old country doctor that would order that for severe excoriated bottoms!!! (and to tell the truth??? It worked!!!!)
It's really surprising re some old remedies that were ordered by some old-time MDs. Had this one older gracious gentleman European MD who would order oatmeal baths/soaks for any of his itchy, rashed pts. Hated his orders - it was a standing joke, but it worked, too!

I have recently discovered "Working Hands". It comes in a jar and it is a miracle! You can find a local store that sells it by visiting their website at Working Hands. You can also purchase it online. They also have "Healthy Feet" which is also amazing. It doesn't leave your hands greasy and it is guaranteed or your money back. You can tell the difference

with your first application.

I am still a student but a seasoned one.... (41 yrs old) Having survived many winters in the midwest before I moved back to Florida, I discovered that cuticle oil is a lifesaver. I prefer to use it at least once a day to prevent the dry, cracking fingers that are the result of both winter and the constant hand washing & hand sanitizer use. Other than regular lotion, if my hands get really dry I also use Miracle Foot Cream on my hands. It does wonders for your feet and is great for those cracks that rear their ugly head in the winter.

Tait, MSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice. Has 13 years experience.

I love Bath and Body Works "Look Ma New Hands" with paraffin. I HATE lotion, but this stuff smells great and I can wash my hands after applying it and still get most of the benefits without a slimy texture. I always had a bottle of it in my bag for work and it saved my hands.

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

I thought the petroleum-based and/or mineral oil based products interfered with the integrity of gloves. This may just be true for latex gloves, however. I know at my old hospital (4 years ago) we could not use our own hand lotion, but rather had to use the one provided to us by the hospital. If you brought your own, the infection control office would confiscate it!


Specializes in Med/Surg/Respiratory/orthopaedic. Has 16 years experience.

Hey thanks for that. I love nurses dot com.

What I want to know is, is it acceptable where you work to use your bare hands to apply non-medicated moisturiser?

I'm thinking, in aged care it's more "human" than using gloves.

Ofcourse gloves for any broken skin or medicated cream: eg containing steroid.



Havin' A Party!, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU, CM, Geriatrics, Management. Has 10 years experience.

Know many nurses with this prob. So you should be able to get great info here.

Luckily, I've not personally had to deal with the dry hands issue.

All the best!