I invited ya’ll to sign up for our Frugalwoods email system on Wednesday in the first installment of our Frugal Homestead Series, and lo and behold, it worked! My mom has successfully signed up to receive our emails. This is a huge step coming from a woman who once accidentally bought something on Ebay (sorry mom, it’s true). My mother-in-law signed up awhile back, so we’re feeling pretty good about our metrics over here.

Mr. Frugalwoods and I are really thankful that our families are so supportive of not just Frugalwoods, but our entire non-traditional life plan. While I’m pretty sure they think we’re a little nuts, they’re loving, understanding, and genuinely interested in what we care so passionately about. I know that not everyone enjoys this type of openness with their families, especially around financial topics, and so I’m humbled and grateful.

No longer gulping
This hound: no longer gulping

Speaking of family, I want to update you and let you know that Frugal Hound is doing very well with her now two-week-old food pacer ball. I’m pleased to report that she is eating much more slowly, she’s no longer afraid of the ball, and she’s only barfed food up once since we got it. You’re welcome for that last detail.

Beyond our families, I’m also deeply grateful for the incredible online community we’ve met through Frugalwoods and our involvement in the online personal finance space. The power of the internet to connect us with each other is, in a word, awesome.

Frugality is not exactly a club you can join or a bar you can go to or a sport you can participate in. Living below your means is not a hot office conversation topic and it’s just plain awkward to discuss early retirement with most people in the world. So, the fact that we’re able to meet other like-minded folks through this medium is such a rewarding experience. I’ve gotten to know some of you frugal individuals in real life here in Cambridge and over email, which is a true testament to the power of the digital to translate to the analog. Woot!

The delicious meal my new frugal friend P cooked for us last weekend!
Case in point: the delicious meal my new frugal friend P. cooked for us last weekend! Tofu on the left, rice noodles w/Chinese greens on the right.
The banana bread that twitter helped me bake
The banana bread that twitter helped me bake

Since you’ve read this far I’ll assume you’re at least mildly interested in me (or your screen is frozen and so you had to keep reading), so perhaps you’d like to follow me on Twitter: @FrugalWoods. Occasionally I tweet out requests for advice on the proper use of margarine vs. butter. Frugal Hound photos also make an appearance. I just want you to be prepared.

Thank you for reading Frugalwoods and for being my frugal friend!*

*Mr. FW said that sounded kinda overly mushy, but I’m totally OK with that. 


Told you it was pictured here
Told you it was pictured here

This is a grumble of a personal nature: I’ve got dry skin issues on my hands like whoa. My hands are so dry right now, they’re cracked with an occasional trickle of blood. Apologies for the bodily fluid mention, I just want to make sure we all understand what we’re dealing with here. Winter always yields dry paws for me, but this year is the worst it’s ever been–get this, my PALMS are cracking. Not cool palms, not cool.

Here’s my current hand dryness-mitigation regime: apply unscented aloe lotion all day long (especially accidentally right before I want to eat so then I’m trying to wipe the lotion off my fingertips in order to not ingest large quantities of it), and use a generic version of Aquaphor Advanced Healing Ointment (pictured at right) at night and wear cloth gloves. Result? They’re still cracked and dry. My right pinkie is particularly suffering, in case you were wondering.

So I ask you, dear frugal reader friends, what should I do for my humble hands?

(I’m willing to spend money–but not too much money–on a new remedy because this is getting ridiculous). 

If you’d rather not talk about dry skin, how do you/don’t you connect with your family about matters of personal finance?

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  1. As one with many skin issues, but no medical degree this is my logical flow:

    Are you drinking enough water, and eating enough salt and enough nutritious foods (ie do you sweat a normal amount when you workout, and do you pee often enough, and are you not craving weird foods) if so, go onto the next step. Otherwise fix diet first.

    Have you tried Aquaphor healing ointment (petrolatum based 40%+) for babies or petroleum jelly? That’s what most outdoor athletes use in the winter in Minnesota, and I’ve sworn by it for years. It may be that the dryness is just not healing even though the underlying problem is gone, so use the intense stuff all day, not just at night.

    If its eczama based dryness, aloe is pretty bad and you should try some Cortizone (hydro-cortizal), since steroids will clear it up more quickly than anything else.

    Last step, visit Dr. WebMD or Dr. Google to see if you hands might have some skin disease which would be cleared up through stronger roids, and then go to a real doctor to get a prescription.

    Good luck, I feel your pain 🙁

    1. Thanks for the advice! My diet is pretty good–lots of leafy greens, fruits, lean proteins, and plenty of water (that’s all we drink other than coffee/tea). The lotion I use at night is a generic version of the Aquaphor healing ointment and I think it has basically the same ingredients, but I’ll check. I’ve had eczema in the past and I have some cortizone on hand (hah!) that I should probably use. Thank you for the suggestions!

  2. I was going to suggest straight-up Vaseline at night, like Hannah. For the daytime: I am now about to sound like an infomercial: I used to have really bad cracking problems, maybe not quite as bad as you’re describing, but painful enough. A few years back I stayed at a friend’s place and she had Trader Joe’s Moisturizing Cream, “extra dry formula,” and I put some on after washing my hands and it was *amazing* — it’s really thick, much thicker than most lotions, but it sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy, and my skin felt soft for hours. I pretty much never set foot in Trader Joe’s (the produce is terrible and everything else is pre-prepared, ie overpriced) but I make a special trip every now and then just to buy hand cream. It lasts forever, too; the bottle I’m about to finish is over a year old (although I don’t use it very much in the summer, so YMMV.)

    1. haha, YES! The Trader Joe’s lotion you describe is, in fact, exactly what I use during the day. I love it! Maybe I just need to apply it more often… Thanks for the advice!

  3. I’m afraid that I don’t have any useful advice for the dry hands! I just want to write in to say that I really identify with what you are going through. The last month or so has been the worst ever in my life for my hands. Luckily, my palms aren’t splitting. It’s the “webbing” and space between my fingers that is the worst (also especially the space next to my pinky on my right hand). I’ve been using all sorts of lotion on this area. Way more than ever before. And it’s winter so I wear gloves to work and when I get there and take them off, I have the lovely fabric fuzz stuck between my fingers as well. You’d think I’d figure out how to avoid that after the first time. But yeah, thanks for letting me grumble along with you. I hate looking down at my hands and seeing the space between my fingers looking red and chapped no matter what I try. We only use a wood stove for heat and I notice that drying out my hair if I don’t condition everyday so I’m assuming it is also contributing to my hands.

    1. Ugh, I’m sorry to hear you’re sharing in the hand pain! It’s hard since we use our hands for everything! Interesting theory on the wood stove, seems like that could very well be it. Well, thanks for sharing and hope you find some relief soon!

  4. My boyfriend has the same problem in the winter and I made a batch of lotions bar for him. It worked like a charm, better than the commercial lotion he had. You can also rub coconut oil on your hands directly, but the bars are a lot easier to have on hand.

    Here is a recipe similar to what I made: http://wellnessmama.com/4770/lotion-bars/. You can melt your oil in a microwave if you heat them for 20 seconds at a time and stir, you don’t need a double boiler.

    1. Very cool! Thank you! I’ve never made any bath/beauty products before, but that sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  5. More votes for Vaseline, but do Neosporin on the areas that are open sores currently. Use it generously. Then cover your hands in stretchy gloves (you know, the ones that cost $1 or so) and go to bed. Use a coconut oil/sea salt scrub to wash your hands during the day, and stay away from anything that is soap-based unless absolutely necessary.

    Also, do NOT do the dishes. Leave that to the Mr. Submerging your hands in dirty dishwater like this will only make it worse and can actually lead to infection (which I know from terrible experience… gross, I know).

    1. I’ve never used a coconut oil or sea scrub wash before, so I’ll have to look into that–thanks for the suggestions! I do have those stretchy gloves and I’ve been wearing them at night. Lucky for me, Mr. FW does the dishes so I’m in the clear. And, I wear plastic work gloves when I clean the house, which seems to help. Sorry to hear about your dishwater infection–sounds awful. Thanks for the advice!

  6. Congrats on the parental participation! Honestly – I haven’t told my parents about our blog yet. We’ve discussed our plans with them, but haven’t quite convinced them its for real – maybe next year 🙂

    Oh- dry skin. I have been battling it for years. I love aquaphor. I also make my own lotion using shea and cocoa butter mixed with some coconut and olive oil, and then I scent it with lavender, just because that’s my favorite. I also buy thin cotton gloves to wear at night after thoroughly covering my hands with lotion. My dermatologist says even wearing the gloves during the day will help too. If you want to be really frugal – just put some clean socks on your hands at night when you sleep!

    1. Thanks! We were a little nervous to tell our parents, but, they’re so supportive of whatever we pursue and I’ve been really thankful for their interest.

      Your homemade lotion sounds amazing. Do you follow a specific recipe or just mix that stuff together?

  7. My husband’s hands have started cracking too. Not as bad as your hands though. I think he can be saved with some moisturizer. I don’t have any real solutions for you because whenever I’ve had bad skin issues they’ve only ever cleared up with topical steroids from the doctor after exhaisting all other options. If the cracking is just dryness, I’m assuming someone will have a super awesome suggestion for you that will be able to clear things up. Cracking hands sucks!

    My parents and in-laws know about our blog, but I don’t think they bother to visit, not really their favorite topic. Friends visit every once in a while then talk to me in person about how the frugal thing isn’t for them. No one I know ever comments, is that normal?

    1. That’s an interesting point–people we know rarely comment either, though they email/text/talk about it in person. My sweet sister sometimes comments, which I love. I’d welcome comments from our real life family and friends, but I also understand if they prefer to just talk with me directly.

  8. I get the same thing on my legs and especially feet during the winter, and it’s horrible. For me, it really helps to stay away from hot water – I take as few and as short showers as necessary to smell decent, and no more. Hot water dries out my skin. I also have a humidifier in our bedroom. I apply a think layer of coca butter or shea butter to my feet under socks whenever I’m relaxing. That doesn’t fix it, but it helps – the only thing that really resolves the problem is spring. Alas, in Boston, spring comes when it comes.

    1. That’s a great point about hot water. Mr. FW accuses me of scalding myself in the shower, so that may be part of the problem. I just realllly love hot water (I think it stems from how much I like hot yoga–I like to be overly warm sometimes). Oh Boston spring, you ephemeral and vexing temptress…

  9. I get awful dry skin all over in the winter and my solution, for the past 20 years, has been this: At the end of your shower (which isn’t too hot and you only used soap on the um, necessary, parts), wet a washcloth then turn off the water. Wring out your washcloth and add about a dime-size of oil (really any kind…I actually use cheap cooking oil). Wipe your body down with the washcloth then towel off. Works like a champ!

    1. Oh interesting! I’ve never heard of doing that before, but I’m totally intrigued. You’re not oily afterwards?

      1. Nope not oily, just silky smooth. The trick is to make sure you rub the oil into the cloth first, then wipe down your body. Add essential oils if you want a little fragrance but totally not necessary.

  10. Coconut oil is great but I find it to be a little too oily for a while. I opt to use natural Shea butter. It sinks in quickly, it is really thick, and it smells pretty good.

    1. Shea butter–I’ve heard of that. I think that’s what my sister uses… Maybe I could use that at work during the day to complement my other lotion. Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. As a future Vermont homesteader you should really know about bag balm. Over 100 years ago it was created by a Vermonter to keep cow udders comfortable. It is now used to treat a variety of skin conditions and rashes in humans and animals. It is amazing stuff that works wonders on dry, cracked skin. It is also amazing for doggie paws in winter weather. A skin care product that you can share with frugal hound!

    1. Hound paws! She’d love that. I’ve used bag balm in the past, but as I recall it was super expensive so I didn’t buy more. I remember it working well though, so maybe I should bite the bullet and buy some. Thank you for the advice!

  12. What do you do with your hands when you bike? I don’t know anything about biking hand wear, but that could be something to look into. Have you ever used Calendula Cream? I had skin problems a few years ago and it worked wonders for me. A western medicine doctor actually prescribed it to me! I would also suggest getting a humidifier. There are little ones you can put at your desk at work.

    1. I’ve never heard of Calendula Cream before–I shall check it out! I’m pretty good about wearing mittens/gloves when I’m outside, it’s just too cold otherwise. Good call on the humidifier. Thanks for the advice :)!

  13. My hands are perpetually dry so I use Aveeno lotion *liberally*, especially in wintertime (very nice for sensitive skin). I’ve also used Cortaid for cracked skin (which you’re really not supposed to do), but it definitely helps with itching and swelling so… Other than that, I second all the others here who mentioned Vaseline and drinking enough water.

      1. So true about keeping the paws covered–especially in this windy weather we’ve been having lately. Good to know about Cortaid as my palms are really itchy (I suspect that’s part of the problem–I think I scratch them unconsciously…). Thanks for the advice!

  14. Reusable dish gloves if you hand wash dishes.

    The lotion that works for me is Aveeno Naturals hand cream.

    An oilier diet also makes a big difference.

    1. Check on the gloves when doing housework (fortunately I don’t have dish duty, but I do clean the bathrooms, etc with gloves). Good to know re. Aveeno Naturals. Interesting re. oiler diet–I do take fish oil and flaxseed oil pills and Mr. FW cooks with olive oil, but I wonder if I need more. Thanks for sharing!

      1. RE oil. I’ve heard very mixed things about the efficacy of fish oil and whether you actually absorb anything.

        I had to cut back a bit because my activity level is lower than last winter/summer and I want to lose some weight, but I noticed a big difference in my skin moisture and complexion when I switched from eating cereal or pancakes for breakfast and having eggs fried in copious amounts of olive oil, and then drizzling the remaining oil in the pan over toast. Yummy!

        My philosophy on cooking is to use full-fat, even extra fat if necessary, because good quality fat (where omega-3 and omega-6 are in balance, as in plant oils and pastured animal products) is a critical aspect of satiety and thus portion control.

        As with anything diet-related, YMMV.

  15. For prevention, I use Cetaphil which was recommended by a dermatologist. For deep cracks I use Zim’s crack cream, which actually stings a bit but has worked for me in faster healing. Obviously, I’m not real faithful about using the Cetaphil. I’ve also used Trader Joe’s mentioned above and it does soak in really nice.

    1. Cetaphil is a favorite of mine too. I ran out of my jar of Cetaphil and haven’t bought more, but, I often put that on my face at night. Never heard of Zim’s, so I shall look into it. Thank you for the suggestions!

  16. My bf and I suffered from MAJOR dry hands and lotion only seemed to temporarily fix the problem. We then bought a warm-air humidifier, left it on throughout the night, and in the morning our hands were 3000x better. We just leave it running every time we’re home and our apartment is no longer dry and static like it use to be. The key is to get a warm-air one though, not cool air!

  17. In our house, we use the O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream…works great! Walmart or Target usually has it for around $6.50 for 3.4 oz. container.

  18. I had this problem in my early twenties when I lived in Florida, of all places. I was mostly a vegan for reasons of poverty at the time, eating mostly vegetables, beans, and grains. We still eat mostly vegetables, beans, and grains, but we also eat lots of eggs and other fats and some meat. I think that for me personally it was an issue of not getting enough fat. But everyone is different and I am not a nutritionist, etc, etc.

    Others have mentioned considering what you are doing with your hands- gloves during dishwashing, bike riding, etc. If your hands get sweaty during your bike ride, that might be exacerbating it as well.

    In the winter, I like whipped coconut oil for during the day. The main advantage is that it is totally okay if my three year old eats some, so you wouldn’t have to be as concerned about washing all of the lotion off before eating. Just put it in the mixer on high until it looks like whipped cream, that’s it. I like to add a little vanilla or almond extract so we can smell like birthday cake or marzipan, but I would leave those out if you have open cuts BC it would probably sting like the dickens.

    1. Ooo edible hand cream could be dangerous for me… 🙂 Regarding the fats, we eat a fair amount of olive oil in our rice-n-beans, hummus, etc, though maybe I’d be better with more since our diet is largely vegan. Thanks for the advice!

  19. Drink lots of water and try coconut oil. I have also applied sesame oil before a shower (massage over body) and before I go to bed on hands and feet. Both containers last a long time. I believe the water is key. I like the idea of the ball for Frugal Hound…one of our greyhounds, Ringo, is also a fast eater. I love the pictures and info on Frugal Hound.

    I was hoping for some hints and tips from this blog. Instead I have realized that I am a bit farther from frugality than I thought and am going to exert more effort especially since we are nearing retirement. thank you for your enthusiasm.

    1. Thank you for the advice on the coconut and sesame oil–I’ll have to check those out.

      The food pacer ball is working really well for Frugal Hound. It only took a few days for her to become accustomed to it and she hasn’t been throwing her food back up like she used to. I’ve seen it work well for other greyhounds too, so maybe it would help your Ringo-hound :). We bought her this Portion Pacer Ball.

      I hope that we might be helpful to you in your journey–and, I think frugality is different for everyone and as long as your spending is in line with your goals, then you’ll be set. Thank you so much for reading and sharing!

  20. I did not read the above replies, but my mom gets those dry cracked bloody cuts out of no where. She uses an udder cream/bag balm salve. Sometimes she wears gloves to bed too to trap in all the salve. I get the cracks right at the corner of my fingernails, but they haven’t bleed yet. Makes typing (or touching anything) a PITA! You have my sympathy.

    That is very kind of you to make a shout out to your supportive families. You are very aware that this isn’t typical and you are very grateful for their love and support. I love it!

    Husband and I want to retire early and we have a plan for it as well. I don’t find it’s something we can share with our families regularly. The few times we did mention it briefly, we usually get a sharp tongue reply – Well you didn’t reproduce, that’s why! We’ll I could never do that! Or there is the notion that we should be paying for all sorts of things (like vacations for THEM) because we must be rolling in dough. So all in all, it’s not mentioned to any of our families any more. We don’t talk about money (which I love to talk about finances). We talked about this and will probably slip into retirement quietly, maybe saying we’ve switched careers as investors if anyone asks. This is why I love financial blogs so much! Like minded people you can talk about like interests.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience here–I think what you describe is pretty common in the ERE/FIRE community. It is an awkward conversation and I think many people who hear about it for the first time become defensive if not hostile towards the idea. I’m sorry that your family has reacted in that way, but, I also think it’s awesome that you and your husband are doing what YOU want to do and making it work for YOUR life. That’s commendable. And, I totally agree with you on loving this online community of folks, it’s really nice to have the support, ideas, and to know we’re not alone. Thank you for reading and sharing!

  21. Make sure you’re well hydrated to start with. Second – if you don’t have a humidifier in your house, get one – even if it’s just in your bedroom, it can make a *world* of difference in cracked skin! Pick whichever one you like for noise level, temp, etc. Prior to installing our whole house humidifier, I preferred the ultrasonic cool mist ones that were easy to keep clean. Aquaphor I’ve found is one of those things that doesn’t work well in the generic version (for us at least), so we spring for the real stuff – bonus, you can usually find coupons for it! You’ll need to use it all day, every day, not just at night until the cracks heal. If you’re like me and *hate* the feel of lotion/grease on your palms, Eucerin’s Calming Cream works very well for daytime use.

    Finally, if nothing you’re doing is helping it – a dermatologist/doctor can give you a prescription for steroids that really help (everyone in our family has a tube or two for really bad days). Good Luck!

    1. Good to know on the generic vs. real, I was worried that might be the case. Thank you for the suggestions on the humidifier too!

  22. Dry skin. Here’s what saved me from continuous hand lotioning. I smear on a thin layer of Vaseline petroleum jelly at bedtime. That’s it. I don’t need lotion at all during the day since I started doing this. Sometimes I can even skip a night. Before I started using Vaseline, I was using lotions (fragrance free, of course) and my hands were still cracking and trickling too. Vaseline = cheap and effective, something our grandmothers forgot to tell us. 🙂

  23. Sorry to hear about the dry skin. Though I have not researched myself, I have on good authority that mineral oil molecules are too large to be absorbed through our skin. So if a product has mineral oil, it most likely seals

    1. Technology outsmarted me! To continue…
      The mineral oil forms a seal so no moisture actually gets in. Some of the suggestions for coconut oil would be a great alternative.

  24. I don’t suffer dry skin but my toddler gets the worst cracked, peeling feet. What has worked for us has been the following – 1. a humidifier in the hose (bonus, I’m no longer getting nose bleeds!) 2. coconut oil with some essential oils blended in (we typically use lavender as that helps calm him down for sleep as well) 3. socks to keep his lotion feet from sliding. It definitely works for him and he will even come ask for it which means he likes it as well…

  25. My skin is a dry as paper, and cracks and bleeds all winter long.
    What stops it is the near constant use of coconut oil and lanolin (found mine at a discount ethnic hair place).

  26. Your frugal friend’s meal looks outstanding!! Can you share the recipes? I have never cooked with tofu before, but I would like to. I wish I had the cure for your hands, but I have tried a number of solutions and none of them seem perfect for dry hands. I have started using essential oils for my skin breakouts and they work really well.

    1. It was delicious! I’ll ask her if she can send along the recipe. What essential oils do you use for breakouts? I get acne periodically and would love a natural remedy.

  27. Apply aquaphorlike product immediately after shower, put gloves (plastic) on for 10 minutes. Then use cocoa butter, the hard stuff that comes in a tub that you have to rub to make soft and spready. Bag Balm is also popular, I’ve heard. Apparently it was originally intended for cows’ teats! Wash dishes with dish gloves. Moisturize absolutely every time you wash your hands. Good luck!

  28. I have used a gazillion creams and lotions in my lifetime, but Cetaphil is by far the best and the one I keep coming back to eventually. Make sure to get the one in a tub and NOT the one in a pump bottle. It is fragrance-free and totally unsexy, but it gets the job done.

    1. Agreed on the power of Cetaphil! My tub of it recently ran out and I just haven’t wanted to buy more, but I probably should. That stuff is pretty great. Thanks for the advice!

  29. I’m sorry to hear that you’re suffering from dry skin! It’s never fun. I have dry scalp and have family members that have eczema. What has worked for me is coconut oil and olive oil. I just lather it onto my scalp and let it sit there for the whole day and wash my hair (with no or little shampoo). Try not to use soaps or hot water when washing your hands. Also recently I got lanolin as I will be breastfeeding soon and read that it’s great for dry skin – and it sure is!!! It can be a bit expensive (I got mine at a baby consignment shop) but you should give it a try at night when you wear the cotton gloves. Lanolin is thick and sticky so the gloves should help! Good luck and hope your paws feel better soon!

    1. Coconut oil seems to be very popular! Apparently I’ve been missing out :). Good to know regarding the scalp–mine is pretty dry as well. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  30. I’ve suffered from bouts of eczema & dry/rash on my hands in the winter too. I swear this works: completely slather your hands in plain ole Vaseline & I slip old socks on my hands & sleep in them. Repeat as needed. Good luck!

  31. My Mom and I suffer from horribly dry hands in the winter. We’ve yet to find out the best option, but I like Glysomed lathered on there and use those glove things as well. We’ve tried everything. Glaxal Base also works, but I don’t like it that much. It sometimes gets so bad my hands crack and bleed. It ain’t pretty. It used to hurt putting my boots on because the socks against my hands felt like sandpaper.

    Also, that’s one heck of a yummy-looking frugal meal!

    1. Oh your poor hands! I’ll have to look up those creams you mentioned–I haven’t used either before. Thanks for the suggestions! And, it was a delicious meal…. yum

  32. Sorry to hear about the dry skin. Mrs. T uses this new organic all natural cream and has done wonder to her hands. I’ll have to ask her what is is and let you know.

  33. Food pacer ball. I’ve also been told using a regular tennis ball works. That would be really frugal! I guess you’d only want to use dry food though.

    1. Yeah, I think a tennis ball does the same thing. We wanted something slightly larger and metal though since it’s easier to clean and too big for her to fit in her mouth. Plus, we got it for free using our Amazon cash back rewards points 🙂

  34. I’d try Kiehls products. I use them for my face. They are a bit more expensive, but so worth it. Not greasy, and has prevented my 42 yo skin from creating lines around the eyes.

    Thus I’m sure they have something of good quality for the hands.

    1. Oooo good to know! I’ve been thinking about eye wrinkles recently as well, so I’ll have to look into that brand. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. Midnight Recovery Concentrate
        A replenishing nighttime facial oil with distilled botanicals that visibly restores the appearance of skin by morning. $46. I’m still using the same bottle I purchased almost 3 years ago. Just dab it around the eye creases nightly. It’s the bomb! Gets great reviews.

        Eye Alert
        An energizing eye treatment that combats puffiness and dark circles. $21 per. I use this in the morning. Just a little dab is all that’s needed. Probably go thru 3 per year.

        Can probably get some deals now around the holidays, and they also include samples of other products they have. I’m 43 in February and have no wrinkles around my eyes.

  35. So sorry about your hands. I’ve tried a number of things over the years to combat Colorado dryness but always come back to good ole Vaseline. I do think the name brand is better than generic.

    I’m not sure my parents know what a blog is and they would not approve of speaking openly about money. That’s really cool that yours are so supportive.

    1. Another vote for vaseline–good to know! I’m going to have to get some. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      My parents didn’t know what a blog was either, but they’ve been really game to learn, which I greatly appreciate. I don’t think your experience is unique–money is certainly pretty taboo for most folks. Good thing we can talk about it together online :)!

  36. I second the dishwashing gloves. Maybe also wear them if you bathe Frugal Hound. Otherwise, just lotion EVERY TIME you wash your hands. And it might sound drastic, but consider shortening your showers and/or going every other day and/or washing your hair less often. All that extra time in the water will hurt your hands!

    I had actually wondered if your blog was “out” to your family members. My mother, grandfather, and aunt all read mine at least occasionally and have all been so moved by my apparent poverty as to send us money (to help with a major move). They seemed troubled that I had started washing my hair with baking soda to save on shampoo. But now I’m hooked and wouldn’t go back for anything!

    1. Good point on shorter showers. I actually only wash my hair every four days (seems to be better for my scalp & hair, plus it uses less water and time–both precious resources 🙂 ).

      That’s nice that your family reads your blog too! Very sweet that they sent you money as well. I’m intrigued by the baking soda thing–do you just mix it with water and lather? Tell me more.

      1. Yep, mix with water and pour over your head while you rub it in. It doesn’t really lather, of course. I do about a tablespoon of baking soda in a half-cup of water. Let it sit for a few minutes, rinse thoroughly (unless you want to turn your head into one of those science fair volcanoes), then rinse again with a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water and one more time with plain water. Some people use apple cider vinegar, but I just use plain white. I did a blog post about it with full details: http://frugalparagon.com/2014/04/18/dont-put-shampoo-on-your-grocery-list/

  37. I agree with the humidifier idea! I have horribly dry skin in the winter – my hands and face are the worst. I have a small humidifier on my bedside table that I turn on at night and it works wonders! The small ones are fairly affordable and that’s all you need if you place it near you. That and really good lotion. Glysomed has worked well for me at night, and I recently discovered the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, which I use during the day (and I can use on both my face and my hands!) Hopefully you can find something that helps, because I know first-hand how much it hurts!

  38. Eucerin or the walmart generic version? $12 for name brand or $4 for generic IIRC. Nice and thick lotion.

    Also, wear gloves whenever you’re outside. Dry, cold, wind, sun = chapped dry hands.

    My big tough construction worker bro in law also likes different kind of fancy girly hand lotions from Victoria Secret and body shop. We always make fun of him for using cucumber lavender hand lotion, but I guess it works (at a steep price!).

    1. Ahh, yes, Eucerin! I’ve used that in the past and had good luck. I should look into getting more. And, I definitely wear gloves outside–way too cold here not to. Thanks for the suggestions! Appreciate it :)!

  39. I think several readers have given some good suggestions for the dry hands. I don’t experience dry skin but during the winter I tend to lather my feet with good ole Vaseline and put socks on before bedtime. I find my feet tend to get dry more than any part of me so doing this helps me to ward off the dryness.

    My mom and I are pretty open with our finances and I also manage hers now since my step-father passed away in 2013 (she’s 77). My BFF and I also discuss money unguardedly but that’s about it. Glad to hear that Frugal Hound has adapted nicely to the food pacer ball. Have a beautiful week-end and hopefully I’ll get to meet you one day in person since MA is not that far from Staten Island, NY.

    1. That’s nice that you’re able to help your mom out with her finances–I’m sure she appreciates it very much! And, that’s awesome you have a friend you can talk about money with.

      I hope we can meet in person one day too! We’re definitely not that far from each other :)!

    1. I can’t believe I missed the coconut oil memo before now! I clearly have been missing out :). Thank you for the advice!

  40. Whoa! I thought I suffered with dry skin but you are having quite a time. I haven’t found anything that could sufficiently moisturize without leaving me a grease pit. Good luck. Once you find the product, please post. I am in Arizona and if anyplace can suck moisture this is it!

    1. Yeah, I hear you on the greasiness. I just sort of tolerate it with the lotions I currently have. I’ll have to see if one of these recommendations is perhaps less greasy.

  41. As a former denizen of both Michigan and Chicago, I have real dry skin advice, and it is: get a humidifier and run it as often as you can! Overnight is good. You do have to refill them with water every day and also change the filter/watch for mold development/etc, BUT. The results are WELL worth it. Lotions are great, but actually putting moisture back in the air is the best solution I’ve ever found. Bonus: the rest of your skin will itch less too!

    And as for margarine the only proper time to use that is when you’re cooking for vegans. BUTTER FOR LYFE. 🙂

    1. Good to know about the humidifier! I must say I hadn’t thought of that before. And, I agree with you on butter :)!

  42. I happened to stumble upon your blog, I believe through Mr. Money’s budgets are sexy website and I am now a big fan. It is refreshing to know that you live in a high cost of living state and still be frugal (we live in New Jersey). Anyway, I just want to say that I love your frugal hound and love your site. As for your dry hands, I think A&D may be a good alternative.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you did find us and I’m glad you said hi :). Thanks for the ointment recommendation!

  43. My hands tend to dry and crack too. I have used neutrogena hand cream. It is super thick stuff that works well. I also use coconut oil on my hands and feet. I love reading the comments here and am now convinced I really do need a humidifier. Who knew it would help dry skin?!

  44. castor oil helps with dry skin. Don’t be deterred by it’s glue-like consistence; You will be able to touch stuff without leaving fingerprints within minutes after putting it on. Also helps with cracked heel.

    1. Ahh yes, Bag Balm! I’ve used that in the past and liked it. I’ll have to check it out again. Thank you for the recommendation!

  45. My hands get so dry they crack open and bleed, I wash them 153822x per day at work which doesn’t help. You absolutely HAVE to try ”O’Keeffes working hands”, it has changed my life, no joke. Within a week my hands are crack free and smoother than my two year olds. Do it.

  46. I’ll add another vote for Vaseline. I’ve had the same problem since I was little, and would have to put on tons of Vaseline and cover with gloves or just plain ol’ socks overnight when they got really bad. It works like magic. During the day I use Curel fragrance free which is unscented and doesn’t sting cracked hands. It’s not natural, but has a short ingredient list and was recommended by my tattoo artist. It’s even gentle enough for my acne-prone face. For me personally, products with lanolin only make the problem worse. I know it’s a great moisturizer for some people, but maybe I’m allergic to it or something because it makes my hands drier and scaly.

    PS–I actually came across your blog a few months ago from Mr. Money Mustache because I saw your avatar was a greyhound. My husband and I adopted a retired racer this summer and she is an absolute joy. We recommend the breed to absolutely everyone. The pics of Frugal Hound are wonderful!

    1. Thank you for the hand advice–that’s all great to know! And, I’m so excited to hear that you have grey too :)!!! They really are the best dogs, no contest. Thank you so much for reading and for saying hi 🙂

  47. Apart from coconut oil which is mentioned above, i had this interesting find when I was marinating my frozen chicken sometime ago. I rubbed butter all over the chicken and the butter stayed on even after a few soap washes and my hands are just silky smooth 🙂 bonus: it doesn’t cost anything since i’m making the chicken dish anyway! If you’re vegan, I suggest using some butter to spread through your hands and then wear disposable gloves, go ahead and do something else. After 15-20 minutes or so take it off and wash with mild soap.

    My grandmothers’ generation (!) would actually use literally cooked chicken oil (or the oil you get from steaming or grilling in the pan) to rub on their dry palms and they said it works like a treat too!

    I know the above sounds a bit gross but hey it’s (almost) free!

  48. I have the cure for your hands………. It’s called “working hands” lotion in a green twist top container. I am a nurse and with my frequent hand washing, my hands split and crack. It is the ONLY thing that has EVER healed them. I get it from Wal Mart, but can be found at multiple retailers and online. Give it a go and hope it works. I love your blog and congrats on being so young and not only figuring out what you have but putting it into motion!!!!!

    1. Oh that is great to know, thank you! I’ll have to check it out. And thank you so much for your kind words about Frugalwoods and our plan–I really appreciate that.

  49. Organic coconut oil. Many applications if it’s really dry. For deep hydration, slather on hands liberally then sleep with your gloves on. Promise it will be better in the morning. And also, hydrate. I also use coconut oil as a face and body moisturizer instead of expensive products.

    1. Thank you so much! Sounds like I really need to get some coconut oil. Do you just buy it from the grocery store?

      1. Yes, most “regular” grocery stores carry this now so you don’t have to go to “Whole Paycheck” to access it. I prefer to pay a bit more for organic because it is being absorbed into the skin. I use it for any situation requiring a moisturizer, including a deep treatment for my hair. I just slather it on and throw on a shower cap that I got for free and reuse and look fabulous for a few hours around the house, then rinse. I also use it for make-up removal. I bought these: https://www.etsy.com/listing/103946051/organic-unbleached-cotton-flannel?ref=related-1 and use them just like you would a make-up remover cloth only these are reusuable and better all around. Put a little coconut oil on it and wipe off make up as usual. I’ll never go back to makeup wipes. I have one jar for cooking in the pantry and one jar in my bathroon labeled Do Not Eat so as to keep them separate since sometimes I am jamming my hands into the jar. Hope this helps. Love your site.

        1. This is wonderfully helpful, thank you! My scalp has been dry lately too so I’ll have to try it on my hair as well. A “do not eat” sign sounds like a good idea 🙂

  50. I’ve just discovered your blog via our mutual friend thegoblinchief – loving it! I know lots of others have mentioned it, but coconut oil is the way to go! I no longer use lotion of any kind. After I take a shower, I put coconut oil on my face, hands, and feet. I keep the jar on the floor during my hot shower to soften it up and make it easier to apply. I use sweet almond oil on my arms and legs. It is a bit oily at first, but soaks in within a few minutes. I used to have super dry skin everywhere and cracked bleeding hands in the winter, but no more. Bonus – coconut oil is edible, so no worries about getting weird chemically flavors in your mouth when you eat. I get the almond oil on Amazon, and Costco is the cheapest place to get coconut oil. Also, if the occasional cracked bleeding spot appears again, either Neosporin and a bandaid or a thick coat of lanolin overnight heals it up super quick. You can find lanolin at Walmart, it’s in the baby section with the breastfeeding supplies. Hope your hands heal up quickly, whatever you end up trying!

    1. So glad you found us through Thegoblinchief–thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi :)! I started using coconut oil at my parents’ house last week while we were visiting them and I need to buy some for myself. Next time we go to Costco, I’m stocking up. Thanks for the tips :)!

  51. I suffer from extremely dry cracking skin on my hands too. My allergist recommended that I purchase a parafin wax bath. I bought a Therabath professional parafin wax bath (approx.. $175. Covered by flexible spending plan with prescription) (Avoid the cheap ones). Slather cream on your hands, dip in wax 3 times, either put hands in plastic bags or just let wax dry. Do this once or twice a day and you will see results. Also run a humidifier 24/7, limit hand washing, and get rubber gloves for dishwashing. All of this is a huge inconvenience with my active life, but when I do these things, my hands are in much better shape. The option that dermatologists default to is cortisone, which does help speed recovery, but it can cause the skin to get thinner, so it is to be used sparingly.

  52. Corn Huskers Oil. Started using it when I had a job handling freshly made polyurethane foam (read extra drying) and it was recommended by coworkers. Super cheap at the local drugstore, and it really works. Bag Balm also works, but not as well.

  53. I have the same issue due to washing bottles formerly and now sippy cups. I either put on lotion every day before bed or I bought a 3 piece kit from Mary Kay cosmetics for dry hands and it isn’t expensive for 3 items to use. At least they will last the Winter with use I would think! As an alternative I sometimes use vaseline.

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