Sunday, May 18, 2008

Miscellany in Prose but with Lots of Links

Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna was right: "It's always something". BTW, that's the title of her memoir, an inspiring story of her fight against ovarian cancer. Just as I was finally beginning to come to terms with the scratchy-throat bug I've now had for nearly a month (though it is better, thanks), something I ate disagreed with me. So once again I've spent most of the week in the house, though with our current sky-high temps, that's not been so bad. As of 1pm today, it hit 100F in the shade on our back porch; it was over 80F at 9am and was still 80F about midnight. The whole continent seems to be scorching, and it isn't even Memorial Day. Hey, there, you Powers That Be in government, d'you think global warming might really be important enough to do something about and not just Al's delusions?

I've nearly worked my way through all of Nora Roberts' standalone novels, including a couple that I don't think I ever finished before; interestingly, those are from her very first books written for Jove Books in the late 80s (her genre fiction is published by Silhouette). IMO she got better as she went along. I tried knitting, but just didn't have the urge, though I managed to get nearly to the end of the Sea Silk (6g left) and thus the Sand and Sea Shells scarf.

A couple of weeks ago I got into a discussion at Ravelry about favorite hand creams and balms. I have psoriasis on my hands, which makes them very dry, itchy and much-inclined to peel and crack. As most knitters I know have found, working with yarn tends to dry out your hands, and I think most of us have also learned that washing your hands a lot during the course of a day may really help to keep us healthier. But all that washing also adds to the drying-out effects.

I've had my own little comparative testing going for the last couple of years, in search of the best hand creams to keep mine from snagging the yarn. I suppose my favorites are Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, a long-time standby, and The Body Shop's Almond Oil Intensive Hand Rescue (love the scent). My doctor recently recommended using Aquaphor at night, covered with cotton gloves, and I've tried that - wow, that stuff is like Vaseline! - though I'm not sure that it really helps as much as I'd hoped. I've tried Eucerin and most of the other drugstore 'heavy duty' creams, The Body Shop's 'bestseller' Hemp Hand Protector and Blue Sky Alpaca's Knitter's Little Helper, (can't stand the scent of either of these last two), etc. I've found that I am very particular - ok, picky - about the scent of my hand creams, and my nose rejects a lot of possibilities. And even my two favorites vanish in an hour or two.

Anyway, the Ravelry discussion brought Nanette, of the Knitting in Color blog to share her homemade hand balm recipe (here), and yesterday I made my first batch. I was excited about this, since my favorite scent is English lavender, and I can choose that essential oil to put into this balm. I had to put more beeswax in, as she suggests for a firmer balm, but the scent is perfect! I'll let you know how it works compared to the commercial ones.
For what it's worth (FWIW), I'm even more particular about lavender scents than others, and I currently only know 2 places that make lavender-scented products that I like - Norfolk Lavender in England and Jardin du Soleil in Washington State. After I visited Jardin du Soleil in 2002, I quit buying from England, but Norfolk products are excellent. The other lavender scents on the market, including those from L'Occitane (very good products), are mostly scented with other varieties of lavender, especially the most-produced in the world 'Grosso' variety, which has a harsher, sharper smell. IMO.
What are your favorite hand creams and balms? Do you find that wearing cream and gloves overnight helps? Any other ideas - other than standing around, uselessly showing off your jazz hands, and doing nothing - for keeping your hands soft? [Jayne, just for you]

Totally OT (if there is one to this post), if you don't check out Cute Overload on a daily basis, you are missing some of the biggest 'Awww's and laughs and chuckles on the planet. This one had DH nearly ROFL.


smariek said...

Let us know how the hand balm works. It's funny that she should mention Mountain Rose Herbs because I used to spend $$$ on essential oils there (back when I was in my EO phase). Lavender is a favorite, and Melaleuca (tea tree) is a staple among our first aid supplies. I first got into Young Living EOs, through coworkers who were into that multilevel marketing, but it was too rich for my blood. MRH is a good less expensive alternative.

I used to have a "recipe" book, where you can look up symptoms and it will tell you which EOs are good to use for that, and it sometimes suggests blends of oils too. You have to be careful though, some can only be used sparingly, some can't be use neat (viz. must be diluted in oil base). You can't go wrong with Lavender oil though, it's safe to use neat.

Cindy G said...

That video is just howlingly funny!

Ok, hand creams. I really love Crabtree & Evelyn Gardener's Hand Therapy (lavendar scented). I also like products from Bee Naturals, especially their Baby Balm. It goes on just a bit greasy, but has good staying power and a lovely scent (all natural).

Yarnhog said...

I love Bee Balm. Smells like honey and vanilla and works really well.

Joan said...

I'll be curious to hear how your homemade hand balm works out. I use L'Occitane Shea Butter in the tin. Works magic on my alway-barefoot feet as well.

Les said...

I too have proriasis, CBM. My hands seem to be okay now but my legs are bad. I use the Aquaphor on the legs but you're right, it's not so good on the hands and certainly not good for hands during the day! I did use it with the gloves at night a couple of times and one night woke up with the glove lying on my face! freaked me out! Never could keep those gloves on so abandoned them.
Hope the consistency of the hand cream is good!
Crabtree and evelyn hand cream is nice and you feel like it is absorbing. Have the rose or rosewater one and it smells great.

TracyKM said...

There is a product here for psorisis here that seems to be very popular, but of course I can't remember the name, LOL. Is there anything you can do to treat the underlying cause and is there any relation to allergies? Don't know much about it.
For hand creams---I like whatever is on sale :) I have a tube of Body Shop Hemp something or other that has lasted forever. I don't think I like the Neutragena Norwegian one, LOL. I love Avon's Vita Moist (although I have a body lotion version--I don't know if there's a hand cream version--leave the top off and let some of the water evaporate), and I have a store brand body lotion that is fragrance free that is also great as fragrances are often irritating. Of course, both these products contain parabans, so that might be an issue for some.
There is a neat one at Wal-Mart that has a cow spotted container, was originally an udder cream. And there's a popular cream horse lovers use too...