I have a nice group of ladies who make pots with me on Tuesdays. It’s winter & lately there has been a lot of whinging about dry hands & broken nails. My hands are in the clay far more often than these gals. Add to that, my former life as a nurse has left me with a need for clean hands at all times. This means washing, washing, and more washing. So why are my hands soft & lovely? It’s simple, I take good care of them. I love my hands. They can do so many beautiful & remarkable things. My hands make me happy & I like to return the favor by giving them the loving care that they have so rightfully earned.
Keeping your hands healthy is more than a matter of beauty. Any nurse will tell you that your skin is your “first line of defense”, not only against infection and disease. Our skin also protects us from toxins inherent in our environment, and a potter’s environment is filled with numerous potential hazards. Many substances are capable of passing right through your skin and into your bloodstream. This includes toxins that can threaten your health. One example of toxins in the studio are heavy metals such as mangenese, cobalt, cadnium, and others which are present in clay, oxides, stains, and glazes. These toxins can be inhaled in dry form or absorbed through the skin. Over time, exposure to heavy metals can cause serious damage to the neurological system. Skin that is dry and broken facilitates the entry of unwanted substances into your body. If you are in the mood to scare the bejeezus out of yourself, do some research on the hazards of working as a potter. Here’s a link to get you started: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/artsafety/sec12.htm
So what is my secret? Lotion. That’s it. My secret weapon is Lubriderm Advanced Therapy FOR EXTRA DRY SKIN…. the one with the pink & blue label. The version for normal to dry skin doesn’t do it for me. Many people recommend all manners of exotic oils & expensive designer creams to prevent potter’s hand. I save a load of dough using this un-glamorous grocery shelf staple. The secret is to use it a few times a day after washing your hands when they are still a little moist & can better absorb it. I recommend putting a healthy dose of lotion on your hands beforebeginning your work and after each time that you wash your hands. That’s it. try it. Works for me.