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Armen Enikolopov

dry/damaged fingernails after working with clay

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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?

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Edith Marie    1

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

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Mark C.    1,805

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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Cass    5

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

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TJR    359

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

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Lucille Oka    16

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.

 

 

 

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Mark C.    1,805

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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Lucille Oka    16

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.

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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*

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Bobg    4

 

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

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neilestrick    1,381

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.

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Cass    5

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

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Denice    243

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

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Darla    2

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!)

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Mossyrock    29

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 laugh.gif. 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://okeeffescompany.com/index.php?page=working-hands

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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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SShirley    9

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*

 

 

Are there any Walgreen's there? I get Bag Balm at Walgreens in the lotion department.

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lynny    5

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*

 

 

You can get bag balm from any vet clinics in Australia, but an aspiring business has clicked this is a popular product and now produce a fantastic range of products marketed as 'MooGoo' here. everything from bath milk, excema cream, body milk, hand cream etc etc available at most chemists- great stuff!

 

 

 

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Wendey    0

Clay is alkali; rubbing vinegar into your hands after throwing neutralizes and balances your skin's PH level. Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer. I put 50/50 vinegar and oil in a squirt bottle, shake it up and apply it after every throwing session. Wonderful stuff. There is also a product by Shiseido called Hadasui Skin and Body Lotion that you can get at TNT Market - a Chinese grocery chain, or stores carrying Japanese products.

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mud pie    0

I've tried almost everything without great results, but I don't see not throwing pots as an option. I started using Lantiseptic a few months ago, it has worked better than anything else I've have used. It's main ingredient is lanolin, hence, it feels relatively gooey & greasy, additionally it doesn't have a very pleasant smell, but it does the trick. This is definitely not the product to use for any one who is allergic, or has a sensitivity, to lanolin. Locally I can purchase is at CVC drug stores, or just google it for stores in your area.

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macdoodle    2

cut & pasted 4 u - Petroleum Jelly*

 

Give your dried hands and feet a special moisturizing treatment using petroleum jelly. This is one of the least expensive hand and foot treatments to soften and heal very dry skin. You simply apply petroleum jelly to damp hands and feet to lock in the moisture. Make sure to cover your feet with socks and your hands with cotton** gloves. This will allow the petroleum jelly to penetrate into the skin. If possible, leave the socks and gloves on all night. When you take them off, your hands and feet will feel much softer. Do this treatment every night for the best results.

 

*works with non-petro products too.

 

** i prefer non porous materials to hold the oils in.

 

***use warm/hot water shake or pat dry, then glom it on thick, add gloves or socks - then go count some sheep.

 

 

 

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