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dry/damaged fingernails after working with clay


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#1 Armen Enikolopov

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:15 PM

I'm a beginner potter, and I've noticed that throwing pots, especially porcelain it seems, is disastrous for my fingernails. They quickly dry out and chip, fraying at the ends. Being a man, I'm especially unused to anything other than cursory care for my nails, so I'm at a loss as to what may help remedy this situation. Presumably someone here, if not most of you, has experienced this. Is there anything to be done?

#2 Edith Marie

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:02 PM

I'm a beginner potter, and I've noticed that throwing pots, especially porcelain it seems, is disastrous for my fingernails. They quickly dry out and chip, fraying at the ends. Being a man, I'm especially unused to anything other than cursory care for my nails, so I'm at a loss as to what may help remedy this situation. Presumably someone here, if not most of you, has experienced this. Is there anything to be done?



Hello Armen,

Some times I bite my finger nails and when I throw my nails grow back fast, maybe it is the mud factor. After having my hands in water and clay I use lotion through out the day rubbing small amounts onto each nail/finger. Unsure what product to use, treat yourself to a manicure (hold the polish) and get tips from the professional for a good lotion.

Edie

#3 Mark C.

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

Cut your nails short and keep them that way-Use hand lotions on fingers 1st.
before throwing or clay work rub some Bag Balm (get it at animal feed stores) on fingers
If they are cracked you can use any lotion or crackZapit on them.
I super glue my cracks shut but thats extreme
This advice is from 40 years of clay fingers mostly in porcelain.
Mark
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#4 Cass

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:26 PM

pure, raw shea butter before and after throwing..and before bed (health food store)

if it's super bad put a bunch, then sleep with socks on your hands

short, or no nails..i advocate biting them daily, lol

#5 SmartsyArtsy

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:11 PM

I have found trader joe' s lavender oil is helping. I agree that something should be put on and rubbed in well before working

#6 Mark C.

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:33 PM

Heres the right length of nails-after todays throwing
Mark

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#7 TJR

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:57 PM

Mark;
I use Bag Balm as well. I buy it at Lee Valley Tools. Do you have that store in the states?[I am in Canada]
You can also put baby oil on your hands right before you start to throw. If you apply it too soon, you get oil on everything. These techniques are more for dry skin. I don't have many problems with nails splitting.
TJR

#8 Lucille Oka

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:02 PM

I hate to put a damper on this advice but if you plan to use these oils on your hands when you apply glaze or underglaze wear some surgical gloves before handling your ware. The oils that you use may affect your applications causing a resisting surface.

Is your clay or working water a bit funky? I had to 'de-funk-ify' my working situation; all of the water that I use now has a small amount of bleach added to it to clean it up. All reclaiming water, throwing water, misting water, slipmaking water, thinning water, and cleaning up water, every bit of it. Soon I won't have to continue doing this because the municipal water supply will be adding chlorine.





John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#9 Mark C.

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

TJR no Lee Valley stores around here.
Lucille-this is only for throwing
As far as glazing I always use latex gloves on glaze day(buy a box of 100 non powered)-but the sweat also messes up the fingers.
Mark
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#10 Lucille Oka

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

TJR no Lee Valley stores around here.
Lucille-this is only for throwing
As far as glazing I always use latex gloves on glaze day(buy a box of 100 non powered)-but the sweat also messes up the fingers.
Mark



Are you sure it is the sweat? It maybe the latex.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#11 bciskepottery

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:29 PM

Try clear nail polish to provide strength to your nails.

#12 Armen Enikolopov

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:56 PM

Try clear nail polish to provide strength to your nails.


I think I will give the bag balm that others have suggested a try, and just keeping my nails very short. If that does not work, perhaps clear nail polish.

#13 MollyTinsley

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:14 AM

Thanks for this ! I've just started again after a 20 year break and my hands are a mess ! And yes - it does seem to be worse with the porcelain.

Next question - where on earth do I get Bag Balm in Australia ?! :D

*Off to search the internet*

#14 Bobg

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:56 AM

Next question - where on earth do I get Bag Balm in Australia ?! :D

*Off to search the internet*


Molly try any business that is related to agriculture especially one that handles livestock items.

We milked about a dozen cows when we were growing up and used Bag Balm then. Still use it today on my hands, don't think there's anything better.

Bob

#15 neilestrick

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:31 AM

Keep your hands wet! When the clay dries on your hands, especially under the nails, its dries out your skin very quickly. I keep a bucket of water next to my wheel, so any time I have to stop throwing for a few minutes I rinse off my hands.
Neil Estrick
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#16 Cass

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:44 AM

bag balm works fine, but it has a few things in it i would personally (just me) not want daily exposure to, namely 8-Hydroxyquinoline sulphate, which gets a 5 of 10 rating for toxicity from the national cancer institute..as well as a few petroleum by products

#17 Denice

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:45 AM

Here's one trick I read in a 1960's Ceramic Monthly is to splash vinegar on your hands after you have washed and dried them. I let the vinegar air dry, I usually do this when I'm finished for the day, the vinegar is suppose to replace some of the chemicals the clay pulled out. It works for me, if my hands start feeling dry I will rub vasoline in them before I go to bed. Denice

#18 Darla

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:46 AM

So, this will sound a little silly, but use a lot of gentle soap and a nail brush (Gently) after you throw. Got all the little bits of clay. In my case, this is more important after a glazing session than a clay session.

Then use Neosporin-type cream.... Then use a bit more of the neosporin cream at bedtime... really working it into the nail bed and the cuticle. (If you have any skin allergies... be careful of the bag balm. I'm terribly allergic to bag balm... my hands swell and buff up - itch! horrible!)

#19 Mossyrock

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 11:34 AM

The best thing I've found is O'Keeffe's Working Hands. In addition to pottery, I bass fish so my hands are wet a lot. My fiance's hands were even worse......cracking, splitting, very painful. I bought a tub of Working Hands and begin to see a difference very quickly (the tube doesn't work as well). He doesn't have a problem with cracking or splitting hands anymore. Now we have tubs in the car, the boat, the studio, by the bed, by the recliner......you get the picture. Also works wonders on feet Posted Image. I usually buy it at Harbor Freight using their 10% off coupon, but it's also sold at Lowes Home Improvement, Tractor Supply, Bed Bath & Beyond (plus a lot of other places I'm sure), and, of course, on-line. http://okeeffescompa...e=working-hands
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#20 Armen Enikolopov

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:13 PM

So, this will sound a little silly, but use a lot of gentle soap and a nail brush (Gently) after you throw. Got all the little bits of clay. In my case, this is more important after a glazing session than a clay session.

Then use Neosporin-type cream.... Then use a bit more of the neosporin cream at bedtime... really working it into the nail bed and the cuticle. (If you have any skin allergies... be careful of the bag balm. I'm terribly allergic to bag balm... my hands swell and buff up - itch! horrible!)


Darla, don't take this the wrong way, but this sort of indiscriminate use of antibiotics (neosporin) is quite dangerous as it promotes, antibiotic resistence. This is the basic mechanism for how antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, like MRSA, came to be. It's dangerous for both you and those around you.






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