Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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Roundabout
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Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Roundabout » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:47 pm

I test built my Costco Carport the other day, and just from the playa dust coming off the tarps, by the end of the day, the skin on my thumbs was starting to split. No, I did not use gloves, because I wanted this to be somewhat of a controlled test. I do a lot of construction on the playa, and I try to wear leather gloves most of the time. But inevitably, there are tasks for which the gloves must come off, and then sometimes I forget to put them immediately back on. Not everyone's hands are sensitive in this way, but for those of us whose hands are, this is a constant source of pain while at BM. So, how about tips from eplayans on dealing with playa hand?

I will start off. I bring a bottle of white iodine to apply to hand cracks. It hurts like hell for about 30 seconds, and then pain relief for at least an hour. It is a hard to find product here. It is usually kept behind the counter, or has to be ordered. I picked up a bottle today.
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PS I have not addressed "playa foot" because I find that if I just never expose my feet to the playa and bath them every night before bed, I am able to stay playa foot free.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by gaminwench » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:03 am

Vinegar soak, for the win!
Wear gloves, when applicable. Soak in vinegar bath after exposure. Moisturize often.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Eric » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:13 am

I only get it bad around my cuticles - I use liquid band-aid on them, applied every morning & evening, with some vinegar wipe-downs if needed. Vinegar & moisturizer are your long-term friends. Also, if your hands react badly enough that they split from the leftover dust on your stuff, I'd keep them covered the whole time I was working. If you need more "touch" then leather gloves will give you, use latex (or latex-type, if you have an allergy).
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:32 am

I bring 200 8 mil large and 200 small nitrile gloves, unpowdered.
Besides what I use, I give out a lot, especially for those great burners mooping with intent, like picking up glitter or wood bits/sawdust from some saw-wad.
Digging and sifting around in the playa moop with unprotected nails and cuticals is really asking for trouble.

I carry around at least 4 pairs, and wear them virtually any time I have to do anything with working or even long bike rides on the playa.
They do fill up with sweat, which you can just pull the glove at the wrist and put on a show.
They do get ripped or just break, depending. So what, I just put on new ones, as I have lots.
The hands get wrinkled and a little plump from the sweat, but dry out very soon.
Sometimes I put hand creme on my hands before putting them on...not good for working but great for biking around the playa.

I never use real gloves, even hand intense hammering, moving pipe/boards, or pulling rebar, as the next task might need dexterity not available with fat gloves on. (If wood is likely to make splinters, just go slow and be careful.

Feet I haven't quite figured out how to exit BM without some irritation of cracks made at BM a decade ago, but unless around camp, I always wear socks, usually 3 pairs a day. Of course the vinegar and foot creme.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by delle » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:05 am

I've found myself using Liquid Gloves quite a bit this summer for digging in the dirt.

It just occurred to me that this might quite helpful in avoiding playa hands and feet.

Anyone ever tried it out there?
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Token » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:43 am

Crazy glue and hockey tape.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by jneilvindy » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:54 am

I've found having the butler and gardener do all the dirty work keeps my hands in perfect shape!

Now and then my valet has to pitch in as well and then I'm really roughing it.

I mean putting toothpaste on my own toothbrush of a morning??!! :coffee:

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Elliot » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:23 am

My favorite lotion for both hands and feet is Flexitol Heel Balm. An other one I like is Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. I put lots of the Heel Balm on my hands and then don "mechanic's" gloves. Perfectly good such gloves can be had for 12 bucks at Home Depot.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Drawingablank » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:36 pm

I get playa paw really severely and have found that the single most important thing is to minimize contact with the water in my cooler.

Although I plan to bring rubber gloves, I always seem to forget, however last year I limited cooler water contact to two fingertips whenever possible and it helped minimize the cracking and bleeding of my hands.

As mentioned here previously frequent applications of hand cream, and use of liquid bandage for the larger cracks helps too.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:43 pm

Bag Balm! I learned this trick from AntiM and it is a huge winner. Use Bag Balm and cover with gloves as often as you can. Last year I also started using a liquid skin product called New Skin and it is the best new thing I've brought to the playa in years. It's a lot like super glue and you can get it with a brush applicator or spray-on.

I also get a mani and pedi before coming to the playa to remove callouses and dry skin. Another great trick for nails is to have them gel coated - seriously reduces nail splitting.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Elliot » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:47 pm

I have read somewhere that New Skin is superglue and was invented for first aid on battle fields. It just might be true, I wouldn't be surprised.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Milayna » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:49 pm

My first year I had a ROUGH time with my hands! Now I bring a little hand kit that includes: Nail clippers, nail brush, serious heavy hand cream, cuticle oil, and lemon juice. Once a day I soak my hands in lemon water (and use the nail brush while they soak), then dry them thoroughly, clip any hangnails, apply LOTS of cuticle oil to cuticles and any extra dry cracking spots, and then lots of hand cream. This has served me well, and my hands now do pretty well out there!

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:50 pm

delle wrote:I've found myself using Liquid Gloves quite a bit this summer for digging in the dirt.

It just occurred to me that this might quite helpful in avoiding playa hands and feet.

Anyone ever tried it out there?
I think would be useful but it is water-soluble so washes off with sweat or every hand wash. Some brands are bio-degradable though.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by maladroit » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:52 pm

I wear fingerless gloves most of the time. No sacrifice in dexterity, and most of my playa dust problems are on my knuckles where the skin would split in a cold dry winter. The tips of your fingers are fairly tough and protected by the skin there. The skin on the back your hand and fingers is different.

In the morning I will rub on some coconut oil or a lotion that contains a lot of coconut oil. Then sunscreen along with the rest of my body (it'll sort of happen automatically).

The fingerless gloves serve four purposes here, on the backs of my hands up to the second knuckle. One, reduce the amount of playa dust getting rubbed into the skin. Two, prevent too much lotion from getting rubbed off of the skin. Three, reduce the amount of skin moisture stripped away by direct contact with hot sun and hot dry wind. Four, protect from splinters or scrapes that would be irritated by playa dust.

Every night I will clean my hands pretty well with a baby wipe and add more lotion or oil. Usually as part of a general wipedown anyway.

It's easy really, despite the long analysis above:
1. Clean off the dust from time to time
2. Add lotion to your daily regimen
3. Protecting some of your skin from direct contact with hot air and dust will help

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:53 pm

Elliot wrote:I have read somewhere that New Skin is superglue and was invented for first aid on battle fields. It just might be true, I wouldn't be surprised.
I'll bet very similar if not identical. Same with Derma Bond used for gluing skin together after lacerations or cuts.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by delle » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:09 pm

Mojojita wrote:
delle wrote:I've found myself using Liquid Gloves quite a bit this summer for digging in the dirt.

It just occurred to me that this might quite helpful in avoiding playa hands and feet.

Anyone ever tried it out there?
I think would be useful but it is water-soluble so washes off with sweat or every hand wash. Some brands are bio-degradable though.
Sweat isn't an issue here in Mega HumidLand with the product, so I'm almost certain it wouldn't be there either. And I NEVER wash my hands. (choke on THAT, all ye who have invited me to dig my paws into your chip bags)


....ok, just joking about the hand washing. Obviously it would need to be reapplied quite often. Fortunately, the product's efficiency duration (3 hours) seems to coincide pretty much perfectly with my playa peeing frequency if I've recollected things properly, so the one act becomes a reminder for the other, which I'm choosing to deem as a plus.


Definitely going to try this in the hopes of still being able to "flick my bic" anytime after Wednesday. We tried push button lighters last year, but frankly they sucked.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by skippy3k » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:10 pm

maladroit wrote:I wear finger-less gloves most of the time. No sacrifice in dexterity, and most of my playa dust problems are on my knuckles where the skin would split in a cold dry winter. The tips of your fingers are fairly tough and protected by the skin there. The skin on the back your hand and fingers is different.
x2. Obviously, everyone is different with different needs and issues. But finger-less gloves are a lifesaver for me . I get the cheap knit cloth ones with the little rubber dots all over. I then cut the fingers off. They protect my hands but also don't get them all sweaty because they breathe so well. I wear them all day and night.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by delle » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:26 pm

My problem has always been my finger tips. Most especially those of my thumb and forefingers. In the best of times they look like they belong to an overworked mechanic with no sink (which is kind of laughable, given my skill at avoiding physical labour most of the year, and the fact that I'm obsessed with pumice, brushes and creams to try and fix it). Riddled with cracks that attract and hoard any kind of dirt (really refusing to ever give it up, regardless how I try), they get irritated in no time on the playa. The irritation goes deep and lasts for several weeks.

The rest of my hands remain pretty much unscathed, usually.

We're all so damned UNIQUE, aren't we?????
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She had blue skin, And so did he.
He kept it hid And so did she.
They searched for blue Their whole life through,
Then passed right by- And never knew.”

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:56 pm

Great! I'm gonna try some!
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by trilobyte » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:09 pm

Ouch, that sounds like a really horrible thing. I highly recommend that you take care of your skin and don't get playa hands or playa foot to begin with. Aside from the really obvious bit, bring and use either work gloves or gardening gloves when setting up so your hands don't get trashed from the start, here's what's worked for me since my first burn (passed on by wise and awesome people), and I pass along to you.

Playa Foot Salad
Funny name. Great solution. Dead simple. You bring a bottle of white vinegar (available inexpensively at any grocery store). You bring a bottle of olive oil. You'll also need a washcloth and small basin. You can use an existing one if you're traveling uber-light, but we have a small basin and washcloth that we dedicate to the task and make it available to everyone in camp.

Once a day, as well as any time that either your hands or feet feel sore/stinging, you pour some vinegar into the washcloth and wash your hands and feet with it. Then once you're done with that, pour a little olive oil into your hand and massage it into your hands and feet. The vinegar is acidic, and will neutralize the alkali (which is a base) in the playa dust. Then the oil will get rid of the acrid vinegar smell, moisturize your skin, and feel really good. You'll smell like salad dressing for a few minutes, hence the name.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by delle » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:30 pm

Sounds yummy.
Worry is a misuse of imagination

She had blue skin, And so did he.
He kept it hid And so did she.
They searched for blue Their whole life through,
Then passed right by- And never knew.”

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by AfricanFire » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:38 pm

I have the worst luck with my hands. Even in just a normal winter I get cracks all over which are just painful. Bag balm doesn't do a thing for me at all. Then I found O'Keefes Working Hands. This stuff is incredible. Put it on every morning and evening. It is non greasy and absorbs super fast and I haven't had a single crack in my hands since I started using it. It comes in a green tub.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by MacGlenver » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:03 pm

I never have serious problems on the playa with my hands. If the ropes we use are really dry, it can get painful occasionally, but my real problem comes after the playa. My hands molt for 2 weeks. I've had campmates that dont have this issue. Anyone else?
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by sadie » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:11 pm

I use a product called "Sole Food". It sounds a lot like the O'Keefe's stuff that AfricanFire mentioned. It comes in a plastic jar, it's not greasy, it forms an invisible sheild and usually stays on through at least one hand washing.
The same company makes something called "Finger Food", but I've never tried it...the Sole Food works great on hands or feet.

My neice was deployed to Iraq a few years ago and said this stuff worked better than anything she had tried to combat the dry cracky hands.
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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by bluemiragemi » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:40 am

Milayna wrote:My first year I had a ROUGH time with my hands! Now I bring a little hand kit that includes: Nail clippers, nail brush, serious heavy hand cream, cuticle oil, and lemon juice. Once a day I soak my hands in lemon water (and use the nail brush while they soak), then dry them thoroughly, clip any hangnails, apply LOTS of cuticle oil to cuticles and any extra dry cracking spots, and then lots of hand cream. This has served me well, and my hands now do pretty well out there!
Milayna, thanks for these tips! Soooo going to do that. I would not have thought of this at all had the OP not posted the question and asked for more solutions...thanks for saving my hands!
~ Em

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by AliCat903 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:14 am

I just wanted to second (or third or fifth) the use of bag/udder balm. It's made to sooth animals udders after milking which can become chapped and raw from rough hands and the salt content on our hands. It does wonders for feet/hands following a vinegar bath. I just use it as my regular moisturizer for the week. Specifically this brand is my favorite: http://amzn.to/1rDEK2D

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Roundabout » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:22 am

Lots of great ideas so far! I always keep a spray bottle of vinegar/water nearby. It is good temporary relief. I think I will try the latex gloves, but I fear that they will be uncomfortable due to the sweating issue. I have now also ordered a jar of bag balm.

Here are a couple of other items I use made by Dermal Therapy (I have no connection with the company or any person associated with the company, etc). These have definitely helped me mitigate the misery of playa hand. It is a Canadian company and I think the only way to get the product in the U.S. is from their website. http://www.dermaltherapy.com/main.asp
The primary active ingredient is Urea. It makes me wonder if soaking my hands in urine would combat playa hand! :shock:

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Token » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:00 am

I've been waiting for page two forever, but fuck it!

Finger Banging at Bianca's was a dream for cuticles back in the day ;)

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by Elliot » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:28 pm

Flexitol Heel Balm also contains urea.

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Re: Playa Hands - Tips to treat (or avoid) playa hands

Post by pink » Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:58 pm

Last year I used Shea butter, pretty much after each time I washed my hands & go oped it on my feet & hands at night. Brand was The Body Shop. Kept my hands nicer than they've ever been. Having a foot washing station in camp helps a lot too!
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