Many years ago, I developed a problem with my hands that was obviously an allergic reaction to something. My hands would break out in itchy bumps, I would scratch them, even in my sleep, and then the bumps turned into cracks on my fingers and hands which, of course, was very painful. They were also red and unsightly.
I didn't have a dishwasher, so of course my first thought was that I had "dishwasher's hands". I bought rubber gloves for washing dishes, figuring that would be the end of my problem. They didn't make any difference. I tried every brand of hand lotion people recommended, but my hands still looked like I had leprosy or something, and plagued me constantly; Corn Husker's Lotion was the worst! People suggested maybe I was allergic to my milk cows; I didn't think so, since I had milked cows for several years before the problem started. But one year I managed to get all of my cows dry at one time so I could go for a couple of months without milking. There was no improvement in the condition of my hands.
We didn't have insurance, but I decided to see a skin specialist to try and get to the bottom of my problem. He took scrapings from my hands (ouch) and then explained that he would test me for the most common allergies. At that time, the way they checked for various allergies was to put little pills at various junctures of adhesive tape placed up and down and across a person's back. Turns out I was also allergic to adhesive tape, and had to get Cliff to remove that mess from my back the second day. I never went back to that doctor, who was so rude I didn't want to deal with him again anyhow.
Years went by. We moved twice, and ended up on the property where we now live, and my hands still split open, oozed, itched, and hurt. You get used to anything after a while, and I figured it was just something I'd always have to live with.
Cliff was working for Tom, a guy running a small construction company in Oak Grove at the time. Tom was a jack-of-all-trades, so it wasn't always construction work that Cliff got paid for doing. A friend of Tom's, known around Oak Grove as Brother Paul, died, having no close relatives; he was living in a rental house owned by Tom. Tom and Cliff went to empty the house and get it cleaned up for the next renter. The guy was poor, but you know, everybody leaves some "stuff" behind when they die. His ashes eventually went to Tom, too.
Cliff brought home a jar of Eucerin hand cream, a version prescribed by a doctor for Brother Paul. Curious, I tried it on my hands, although I had honestly given up hope.
Within a week, my hands were back to normal for the first time in years.
It was a large container, and if you are familiar with Eucerin, it doesn't take much at one application to do the job. It lasted for months, but when it finally gave out, I knew it would be worth a trip to a doctor to get myself a prescription. But first I decided to give the non-prescription variety a try. It's sold at any Walmart.
It worked for me just like Brother Paul's stuff. Obviously there was some ingredient in most hand creams and lotions that was lacking in Eucerin. After reading labels at Walmart, it became obvious that glycerin was the culprit.
Although Eucerin is still the only hand cream I use, this week I felt the old familiar itch on my hands, and a little drying out and cracking had begun. I soon figured out the problem: I was using a new udder cream from Orscheln on my milk cows, Better Balm. I really liked the results of the stuff on Penny's teats and udder, but it was killing my hands. Turns out the third listed ingredient on the label is glycerin.
Can I interest anybody in an almost-full jar of Better Balm?