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How Does Fingercombing Affect Your Hand Eczema?

Fingercombing (also known as finger detangling) is when you take your fingers and rake them through your hair. It looks like this...

Since I maintain four heads of hair, protecting my hands has become an important step in our hair care routine.

Why Do You Have To Protect Your Hands?

While our hair loves having my fingers run through it, my sensitive skin doesn't. So every time I do our hair I have to thoroughly wash my hands to remove any remaining product.

What Happens If You Don’t Wash Your Hands?

My skin gets irritated. It bubbles and scales triggering eczema dermatitis.

It’s a cracked, uncomfortable, sore, and sometimes itchy rash that makes my hands look pretty old and raw.

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Have Your Tried Gloves?

Covering my hands makes it harder for me to feel the hair. It's important for me to actually feel what I'm doing so that I apply the appropriate amount of product, gently separate knots, and even neatly braid and style the hair.

How Do You Treat Hand Eczema?

With a warm salt bath. I gather some warm water in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt and soak my hand for at least 5 minutes. Then I apply a salve to my moist skin.

Eczema can get really itchy and scratching the sore can make it bleed and spread. So the warm salt bath followed by the salve really helps relieve the itch.

You can do this multiple times throughout the day to calm the itching sensation. This means, any time the eczema starts to itch, immediately prepare a warm salt bath instead of scratching it. Really take as much time as you need to nurse your skin back to health.

salts baths for hair braiders and stylists with hand eczema infographic

One of our readers purchased eczema gloves. They're supposed to help keep the hands moisturized and are bedtime-friendly. This means you can help your hands heal by soaking them in your favorite moisturizer overnight.

You can also try hand massagers. I'm assuming exercising the hands promotes blood circulation, so that your skin can quickly repair itself. Please know I haven't tried gloves or hand massagers. Salt baths work perfectly for me -- I just want to make sure you have options.

How Do You Know It's Working?

Within a day the eczema starts forming a scab and drying out very different from the glossy red and raised skin when it’s freshly irritated.

Why Don’t You Just Avoid The Irritants And Switch Products?

It’s not that easy, it literally took me months if not years to find a conditioner that worked for our family. And in that time, I experienced worse allergic reactions. One well-known brand raved about its new natural formula, but literally burned the skin off my hairline. Others formed ringworm looking spots on me and my daughter’s face. I wouldn't call it a super fun time.

While I could take a break from doing my own hair, I have three girls.

This means it’s a little difficult for me to avoid hair products. Instead I try to avoid other irritants. We use bar soap to wash our hands because it isn’t as drying or irritating as liquid soap. I also heavily rely on our dishwasher in order to limit contact with dish liquid.

Did You Go To A Dermatologist?

Yes! A dermatologist is a skin doctor. They prescribed me a hand steroid. I was nervous about it damaging my skin after repeated use, so I switched to salt baths. They're less expensive, gentler on my skin, and don't have negative side effects.

Has Your Skin Always Been Sensitive?

I’m not sure if having children, using natural hair products, or age has reawakened my eczema. But it’s a skin issue I haven’t seen since my adolescent years -- that then went dormant.

When I was younger, my eczema was on my feet. Nowadays, it mainly shows up on my fingers. More specifically on and around the knuckle of my right middle finger (my dominant hand).

I met a hairdresser who was allergic to hair dyes and experienced similar symptoms. Which makes me believe that proper hand care for anyone who does hair is important.

Are There Specific Times When Your Hands Are More Sensitive?

I have noticed that during the winter and allergy season (early spring), my skin is the most sensitive.

I’m constantly looking for herbs and foods to heal and strengthen my body from the inside out. I'm also aware that the skin is our body’s largest organ -- so I work super hard to keep it as healthy as possible. If you want to read more about how our hair products affected our skin, this post describes the issues we noticed on our hairline, neck and back.

Do you have hand allergies? Have you identified the irritants? How do you protect your skin?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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