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Dry, Itchy Skin and “Cracked” Fingers: The Curse of Cold Winter Weather!

Dry, Itchy Skin and “Cracked” Fingers: The Curse of Cold Winter Weather!

Once I reached a certain age, I found that as Fall turned to Winter, the skin around my nails (thumbs especially), would start to dry out and actual cracks or fissures would form in a direct and painful line from both sides of the nail. The longer the “cracks” lasted and the deeper they grew, the more painful they became. To make matters worse, I had another factor that was drying my skin even more than harsh winter weather.

Swimming is my exercise of choice. Warm weather open water swimming is fine, but in the Winter, I’m forced indoors and swim in a chlorinated pool. Chlorine is effective at controlling bacteria in pool water but it is no friend to your skin. And, since I was spending a solid hour a day – six days a week -- in chlorinated water, my skin was drying out even more than mere winter weather could account for… I was becoming an itchy, scratchy swimmer with painful, “cracked” fingers!

Too stubborn to leave the pool, I resorted to the liberal use of skin cream after swimming. It helped but was never a complete answer.

Since epic4health distributes Tishcon’s vitamins and supplements, I decided to look for some help from the “inside”. By “inside”, I mean by taking a supplement that might give some support from the inside out just as the skin cream was working from the outside in. I was pretty sure that my best bet would be an Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement. So, several years ago, I started taking one OmegaGel® High Potency Omega-3 softgel with breakfast. That single, daily softgel gave me a total of 700mg of Omega-3 fatty acids, including 400 mg EPA, 200 mg DHA plus 1100 mg Fish Oil Concentrate (EE). This was a big help!

But it wasn’t the final answer (at least for me). The painful finger cracks were much diminished. The itchy skin, somewhat calmed. But, occasional flare-ups occurred and the liberal use of skin cream was still a daily necessity. Until the Winter of 2010. A week or so after Thanksgiving, 2009, I decided to double my Omega 3 and take one at breakfast and one at dinner. This would give me a total of 1,400mg of Omega-3 fatty acids, including 800 mg EPA, 400 mg DHA plus 2,200 mg Fish Oil Concentrate (EE). For me, this was the final answer!

If you experienced the Winter of 2010 in the North East, you know that this winter was a REAL test. New York had some of the lowest temperatures and highest snowfalls in recorded history. Even with all that snow, I missed very little swimming and, more importantly, I had virtually zero days of painful, “cracked” fingers. The Itchy Skin days? I could probably count them on just one “crack-free” hand!

Mike Engel

PS Here are the skin creams I have been using: Derma Q-Gel® Hand and Body Lotion, Vaseline® Intensive Rescue Clinical Therapy, Lubriderm® Advanced Therapy and for rescue medication when the “cracks” got too big and painful, I’d use Aquaphor® Healing Ointment from Eucerin® (not needed in 2010).

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