Hand issues due to virus

March 28, 2020, 1:01 AM · Hi!

I have been washing my hands obsessively to avoid catching coronavirus. This, coupled with dry winter air has lead to my hands being extremely dry. Though my knuckles are uncomfortable, the tips of the fingers of my left hand are slippery and and stiff, making it hard to play with good sound or comfort.

Pre virus, I would always just rinse my hands in very warm water before I practiced. This dries my hands even more, so I would not say it is ideal now.

I usually put some cheap lotion on my hands once or twice a day, but it seems to stay on my hands forever, and I can feel it unpleasantly greasing up my violin whenever I play. If I put the stuff on at night, though, I don't feel it in the morning. What is your favorite lotion, and how do you apply it so it doesn't get on the instrument?.

I read some past discussions about the use of warm sand, good hydration, exercise, cotton gloves with lotion, and on the edgier side, earwax, and hair. Maybe it is time to explore all these. Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated.

Replies (20)

March 28, 2020, 1:04 AM · I find that getting a sweat on helps me out. If you can find a way to regularly exercise, see if that helps.

I use alaffia coconut lotion, which doesn't get greasy, but I find hydrates well.

March 28, 2020, 1:26 AM · The point of the hand washing (apart from obvious hygiene and to minimise spreading of germs in general )is to make it safe to touch your face, which is very hard not to do.
I can’t comment on whether you could get away with doing it less often ( since you said you were being obsessive) but damaged hand skin makes it more permeable to bacteria. Have you access to hand sanitiser to give the washing a break?
March 28, 2020, 2:55 AM · Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but I can't see any point in washing your hands if you haven't left your house (and nobody new has come in) since the last time you washed your hands
March 28, 2020, 3:13 AM · What Steve said.
March 28, 2020, 6:54 AM · Yes, there is a point, Steve. When your hands are dirty it is a good idea to clean them (not just for disease prevention). At the very least every time after you were in the bathroom and every time before you start cooking. If you are infected with no symptoms (or minor symptoms that you think are the common cold) you could get the virus on your hands when you sneeze and spread it around the house that way.

Besides, you might have brought in stuff from outside and left it on doorhandles or other surfaces where you or your housemates can pick it up at any time.

Edited: March 28, 2020, 7:03 AM · Answering the original question of this thread: I have these problems in winter when the air in heated rooms is dry. I get deep cracks in the skin around the fingernails. They can hurt pretty uncomfortably when I press the finger down on a string. Right now it is no longer sufficiently wintery for the problem to occur. But it made me think that maybe having a humidifier or two in your place may ease the problem.
March 28, 2020, 7:16 AM · Certainly one needs to continue to take normal hygienic measures, especially when symptomatic, but wearing gloves outside the house should be an effective way of ensuring that infectious agents don't get spread around the interior. Of course, you wouldn't wash your hands every time you open a door or handle a violin, although anything could in theory be contaminated. I understand that these recommendations need to be made, but that doesn't mean you have to follow them slavishly and thoughtlessly.
Edited: March 28, 2020, 11:02 AM · JOHANN - the BEST treatment I have found for dry hands is PORTER's lotion. I discovered this stuff almost 20 years ago (at Restoration Hardware, when the store still had a "raison d'etre") and my hands have not cracked since. I apply it every night before bed. It does not seem to leave a residue. It smells good too.


A bottle lasts me about a year. I've been buying it by the quart (once every 3 years) but they stopped selling quarts.

March 28, 2020, 11:59 AM · I WISH my hands could get dry! Cracked fingers are pretty bad, but constantly sweating is arguably worse. I wash my hands every 30 minutes during practise (totalling something like 6 or 7 times, all in all) and my hands are still soft and wet.

Consider the bright side: your strings will last a long time.

March 28, 2020, 12:10 PM · Hi,there,re-washing hands.I have found that ALWAYS using cold
water to wash hands prevents cracking and drying.Even in the winter.
The reason is,(I think) that every time the hands have hot or warm water on them,the pores open.Then after you dry your hands,they cool down,and the pores close again.
When this happens repeatedly (lots of handwashing)the skin
is stretching and contracting a lot....eventually it cracks....?

Cold water and soap seems to work for me.

Hope your hands get better, :-)

Edited: March 28, 2020, 10:51 PM · O'Keeffe's Working Hands cream (Working Hands Cream), is a great product. I swear by it, very effective.

Addendum: if I might add, it does not get your skin greasy. You need very little, I often apply it a few minutes before practice and it hasn't been an issue. It relieves finger cracks in a couple days. A bonus, it is not very expensive either.

March 28, 2020, 6:13 PM · I've found Eucerin to be useful on my hands during the wintertime. But I would suggest considering your routine and questioning whether the amount of time you're spending washing your hands is really a good idea. I'd also consider using better soap that doesn't dry out your skin. I think "buy better soap" is likely to be much more useful than a lotion.

March 29, 2020, 8:41 AM · "I usually put some cheap lotion on my hands once or twice a day..."

Have you tried expensive lotion? Cheap lotion is cheap for a reason. And what Lydia said: Better soap. Dove soap is very very good soap and Eucerin is what the folks with eczema swear by.

March 29, 2020, 9:16 AM · I use coconut oil but I don't put it on before playing. You might look into bag balm. Many hand quilters swear by it to help their hands. Look online, in quilt stores or in feed stores. It was originally designed for cows udders.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 10:22 AM · Do you have E45 in America?
March 30, 2020, 3:02 PM · Wow! thanks for all the responses- I will definitely try out some of these lotions.
I have not been outside the house much now, so my hand washing has decreased, but I still get dry hands from the winter air.
March 30, 2020, 3:03 PM · Wow! thanks for all the responses- I will definitely try out some of these lotions.
I have not been outside the house much now, so my hand washing has decreased, but I still get dry hands from the winter air.
April 1, 2020, 12:02 PM · Johann - in addition to buying better soap (I use one with argan and olive oil, and it does not dry the hands out), Aveeno makes good lotion (I like Eucerin but it is too greasy for daily use. You can also use a heavier lotion at night, then wash it off in the morning.

Even if I use Aveeno or another lotion during the day, I still rinse it off my hands (just warm water) before playing the violin.

If my hands get really really dry and cracked, A&D ointment is what I use to help my hands - but not during the day, only at night or with cloth gloves on during the day because it is so greasy and tacky.

Also, if you go outside, wear gloves to protect your hands.

April 1, 2020, 12:34 PM · I also prefer the Aveeno lotion.
April 1, 2020, 1:25 PM · I tried Aveeno and for me it came nowhere near the efficacy of Working Hands cream for cracked fingers. You have to use Aveeno like for a couples of weeks to heal (for me any anyway), whereas WH worked in 2-3 days. WH is formulated for that very purpose and I have yet to find a product that worked better and I tried many.

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