The skin on my hands have been looking sickly, lately. I think that I recently came into contact with something that I might be allergic to. About three weeks ago, the skin on my neck became dry, discolored and scaly. Then, the skin on the back of my hands became very dry and cracked.
I normally use Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream to keep my hands moisturized, but it didn‘t help in this case. I also tried rubbing some Shea butter on the back of my hands and when that didn’t help, I knew something was wrong. The skin on back of my hands eventually became raw, with oozing, itchy bumps and blisters. It was quite unsightly and embarrassing.
I’m not 100% certain of what caused the reaction, but I’m thinking that one of three things could be the culprit:
a) new perfume that I recently used
b) hand soap that I use on my job
c) cleaning chemicals that I use on my job
The likelihood of the perfume being the cause is slim to nil, since I stopped using it about four weeks ago. After I stopped using the perfume, the skin on my neck went back to normal in no time. However, the skin on my hands remained itchy and blistered for a few weeks afterwards. So the only other possibilities left are the soap and the cleaning chemicals on my job. I wouldn’t have thought of the hand soap as a possible culprit if it weren’t for the fact that a co-worker mentioned to me that she was allergic to the hand soap the we use there.
Anyways, there is no way to avoid using the cleaning chemicals. There are some measures that I am taking to protect myself and to minimize my exposure to them. First off, the gloves that are provided to us workers really suck. They are cheap, thin, and made of vinyl, which is porous and rip easily. So, it is almost needless to say that these gloves don’t provide adequate protection.
I decided to be proactive and lookout for my own best interests. I purchased a box of CVS brand powder-free latex gloves, with aloe. They are pretty expensive at $10 for a box of 40 pairs of gloves. I am sure that they can be found elsewhere much cheaper, but I was desperate and didn’t bother with shopping around. Just this past week I purchased some pairs of acrylic/ polyester gloves from Walmart to wear underneath my latex gloves. They only cost me $1.50. It seems like overkill, but I do all this for extra protection.
I also purchased a 3 oz. bottle of Johnson’s Baby Head-to-Toe wash to use for washing my hands in lieu of using the hand soap that I normally use on the job. I bought it at CVS for $2.99, which I know to be highway robbery (I felt really stupid when a 15 oz bottle of it went on sale at Winn-Dixie for $2.99, a few weeks later). But, again I was desperate and in a rush. The bottle is small enough for me to carry in my pocket or purse.
Then, I purchased two other products at CVS to help relieve the itching, oozing, and blistering: Extra Strength Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream and Aveeno Active Naturals 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch cream. The Benadryl cream comes in a 1 oz. tube and cost $7.50. The Aveeno cream comes in a 1 oz. tube and cost $7.50. I got $5 back in Extra bucks rewards for buying these products.
Interesting enough, both products are manufactured for and distributed by Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products Company. I think that both products are very effective, but the Benadryl cream seems to work much faster for me. The Benadryl cream is not greasy and it does not seem to leave any stains on clothing. When I apply it to my hands it takes a while to absorb into the skin, so I would advise to you to go easy on the product application. It has a consistency which is a cross between a cream and a paste. If you rub too much on the skin, it will cake up.
|Extra Strength Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream|
For me, it works right away to provide relief. I tried Benadryl cream first, twice a day, for three days. The blisters, itching, and oozing went away after the first couple of days of use. Although, the product works wonders for my skin allergies, I don’t feel that the Benadryl cream has much moisturizing effect.
The active ingredients in Extra Strength Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream are 2% Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (a topical analgesic) and Zinc acetate 0.1% (skin protectant). It also contains the inactive ingredients cetyl alcohol, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, polyethylene glycol monostearate 1000, propylene glycol, propylparaben, and purified water.
According to the manufacturer, the Benadryl cream provides temporary relief for pain and itching caused by insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, Sumac, Mosquito bites, sunburn, minor cuts, and scrapes.
|Aveeno Active Naturals|
1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream
Now as much as I try to limit my exposure to the suspected allergens, sometimes exposure is unavoidable. Therefore, the bumps and itching came back about two weeks later. The reaction was not as bad as it was initially. The second time around, I used the Aveeno Active Naturals 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream. I think this product is very helpful, and it rubs into the skin easily. It is non-greasy and odorless just like the Benadryl cream, but it is feels sort of like a moisturizer. My hands felt softer after use.
I used the Aveeno cream twice a day for 4 days. Again, the bumps and itching went away. There are some minor scars left on my hands due to the healing process.
According to the manufacturer, the Aveeno cream provides temporary relief for itching associated with minor skin irritations, inflammation and rashes due to:
- Insect bites
- Poision ivy, oak, sumac
- Soaps and detergents
- Seborrhea dermatitis
Hydrocortisone is the active ingredient in Aveeno Active Naturals 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream. The other inactive ingredients are Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Citric Acid, Cyclocpentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyltrimethylsiloxysilicate, Crosspolymer, Dimethyl MEA, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Methylparaben, PEG-40 Stearate, Potassium Lactate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water, and may also contain sodium hydroxide.
I would say that aside from the active and inactive ingredients in each of these products, the only major difference between them, is the amount of time it takes for the products to provide relief. Benadryl works faster and almost instantly. Aveeno Active Naturals 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream soothes dryness right away, but it takes several minutes for itching to stop. Don’t be mislead by the name “Active Naturals”, because this product is not all natural. Otherwise, they are both great products.
These products aren’t cures for my problem. I expect that the allergic reactions will recur, until the allergens are completed eliminated. In the meantime, I will continue to use both the products for occasional relief. I will also try to find other methods to relieve the itching and dryness, becuase these products aren't intended for long term use. Hopefully, it does not get to the point that I ever need to see a doctor about this.
For more information about Extra Strength Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream, visit
www.benadryl.com or call 1-800-524-2624.
For more information about Aveeno Active Naturals 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream, visit www.aveeno.com or call 1-800-428-3366.
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