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Dry Hands and Feet
By Peter T. Pacik, M.D., F.A.C.S.

The recent Las Vegas Aesthetic Meeting was a huge success. We learned a great deal and lost no money! State of the art advances were discussed in the areas of plastic surgery and advanced skin care. We look forward to evaluating some of the newer products and we will keep you informed as we do so.

Today's email deals with a common and sometimes difficult problem -- dry hands and feet. We use exfoliating agents and moisturizers for our face, but often our hands and feet are neglected. Dry hands with areas of cracking skin is a common problem but can sometimes be difficult to treat. This condition is best prevented by proper treatment before problems arise. People with exposure to chemicals (e.g. hairdressers), or excess exposure from over washing (e.g. health care workers) are particularly prone to dry hands and skin breakdowns such as painful cracking of the fingertips.

As a plastic surgeon, I have to be particularly careful of skin breakdown. My pre-operative scrubs and frequent hand washing between patients make me more vulnerable to dry hands, especially in the wintertime. I, therefore, use preventative measures as well as active measures for incipient problems.

Daily prevention includes the use of an exfoliant (MD Forte Hand and Body Cream - 20% glycolic compound used once or twice a day, followed by Ahava Dermud - glycolic free). I use this therapy on my hands, arms, legs and feet immediately after towel drying which helps maintain adequate skin moisture. As a further preventative measure, gloves should be used for dishwashing, cleaning with water or chemicals, and any other exposure to chemicals.

If a fissure (actual cracking) begins, I use polysporin ointment for 3-5 days on the involved area. Avoid Neosporin or any topical antibiotic ointment that contains neomycin, which may cause allergy and contact dermatitis. I then cut off the "finger" of an over-the-counter un-sterile disposable glove (latex free for those with latex allergies), place the finger cot over the involved finger and sleep with the finger protected. This usually allows healing within 2-3 days. If longer therapy is needed, switch to vaseline. Although vaseline is not normally used on the face (causes plugged pores), it may be used on the hands and feet, especially at bedtime, for stubborn dryness.

Maintaining this simple skin care program will help keep your hands and feet soft and comfortable.

Soft hands and feet make a happy person!

Please Note: People with contact dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis are best treated by a dermatologist.

For more information, please visit our Web site skincare-md.com and our plastic surgery website plasticsurgerypa.com. All of our previous educational e-mails , as well as The MD Forte 4-Step Daily Regimen, Obagi Nu-Derm System Daily Regimen, and Obagi-C Rx Recommended Daily System Application are found on our website www.skincare-md.com. If you have any additional questions or would like to speak to or would like to speak to Lisa Roberge, our esthetician, please feel free to call us during office hours Monday thru Thursday 9-4, Friday 9-3 EST at 1-877-415-0600 or (603) 669-0290. If there are any topics that you would like covered in these educational e-mails, suggestions or concerns you may have, please let us know. We encourage you to share your experiences both positive and negative with us. Your comments are important to us.

Peter T. Pacik, M.D., FACS
Medical Director

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