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Thread: Hand Lotion and Strings

  1. #1
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Hand Lotion and Strings

    Hi everyone,

    It's surprisingly hard to find info on this, but... does using hand lotion adversely affect string life? I have really dry skin, and all the anti-COVID hand-washing lately is murder on my skin. I also have mild eczema on one finger (yes, just one finger - weird), and it's been especially angry lately and it's becoming painful to play.

    I always wipe off the strings when I'm done playing, but not sure if hand lotion will just wipe off that easy.

    Thanks
    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

  2. #2
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    Hi Erin,
    In a perfect world, you would wash and dry your hands with cool water before you play.
    Avoiding lotion and hot water before playing will prevent softening callouses. This combined with your practice of wiping strings after you play should help keep those strings last longer.
    Have you tried the old remedy of generously applying Vaseline to your hands and wearing thin cotton gloves at bedtime? It works!
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    Also, if lotion gets into the windings of your wound strings, the lotion will not only deaden them by itself, but it will attract lint and dust which will further deaden the strings. For non-wound strings, the lotion may also trap moisture against the surface of the string, causing rust.

    Best bet is to have your hands clean and dry before playing.

    Since we're on the topic of things we put on our skin, bug repellent is frequently asked about. If you have a lacquer or varnish finish on your instrument, bug repellent can permanently mar the finish. It won't hurt most poly, epoxy or acrylic finishes, but traditional hard finishes like lacquer and varnish are very susceptible.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    [About how I tune my mandolins]
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  6. #4
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    I've been using a product called Aquaphor (similar to vaseline) at bedtime - it does seem to help a little. And yes, I was worried about it getting into the string windings. Ok, I'll just wash it off before playing. Was just curious if anyone had tried this, but I guess it's a generally bad idea. All this soap and hand sanitizer lately... ugh!
    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    My wife & son have issues with the alcohol based stuff wrecking their skin & making it sore.
    They swapped to using gloves & treating those as if they are their hands. So moving about between shop, or at work in the kitchen where the youngster is chefing, they use the sanitiser or hand-wash on their glove layer instead of the skin. Then when back home the gloves come off and just normal soap & water washing can be done
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Also, if lotion gets into the windings of your wound strings, the lotion will not only deaden them by itself, but it will attract lint and dust which will further deaden the strings. For non-wound strings, the lotion may also trap moisture against the surface of the string, causing rust.
    This ^^^ I use Burts Bees hand salve, as I get very dry skin. After a week, my strings are black with grime and dead. Been wiping them down, which helps. Doesn't bother me too much, I like dead strings.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    I work in infection control specifically fitting the machines that clean and sterilise surgical instruments. As a result I have been using hand sanitisers for years and some of the hospital soaps are murder on my hands too.
    I have found that the best cure and subsequently prevention of split skin etc is made by a firm called Starkies, Bee Protex. It’s a bees wax based and acts as a barrier cream too.
    The advantage is that it doesn’t rub off on anything you touch ie strings. Maybe there’s something similar available locally.

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  13. #8
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by sonic View Post
    I work in infection control specifically fitting the machines that clean and sterilise surgical instruments. As a result I have been using hand sanitisers for years and some of the hospital soaps are murder on my hands too.
    I have found that the best cure and subsequently prevention of split skin etc is made by a firm called Starkies, Bee Protex. It’s a bees wax based and acts as a barrier cream too.
    The advantage is that it doesn’t rub off on anything you touch ie strings. Maybe there’s something similar available locally.
    https://www.starkiesbeeswaxcreams.com/ I'm guessing this is the stuff?

    I might be able to source some. Thanks much! Normally, I use Eucerin "Intensive Repair" lotion which, when it's rubbed in good and left to sit a while, doesn't really rub off on things (not sure about strings though). Nevertheless, years of "brainwashing" made me not want to touch a stringed instrument without first washing my hands.

    Beanzy said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    My wife & son have issues with the alcohol based stuff wrecking their skin & making it sore.
    They swapped to using gloves & treating those as if they are their hands.
    Even if I wear gloves, I still wash up after whatever I was doing that needed them. Paranoid? Maybe. But... I have a little medical background, so I've learned to be cautious just out of habit. BTW, love the name Eoin


    Y'all are awesome, thanks!
    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

  14. #9

    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Erin M View Post
    https://www.starkiesbeeswaxcreams.com/ I'm guessing this is the stuff?

    I might be able to source some. Thanks much! Normally, I use Eucerin "Intensive Repair" lotion which, when it's rubbed in good and left to sit a while, doesn't really rub off on things (not sure about strings though). Nevertheless, years of "brainwashing" made me not want to touch a stringed instrument without first washing my hands.

    Beanzy said:


    Even if I wear gloves, I still wash up after whatever I was doing that needed them. Paranoid? Maybe. But... I have a little medical background, so I've learned to be cautious just out of habit. BTW, love the name Eoin


    Y'all are awesome, thanks!
    Paranoia about germs is second nature due to the work. My colleague and I have not had much of a change as far as hand washing etc. If you took apart what we did where we do youíd be paranoid too.
    Yes thatís the stuff I use. My background is construction between hospital jobs I fill my time with groundworkís amongst other things. I find concrete edgings particularly bad for drying out my skin (gloves are bad if not worse). I first tried Starkies when I had worked though everything in the local pharmacy with little improvement. Basically I was managing but not improving the cracking skin and knuckles.
    I am not by any means a good mandolin player but I got to the point I couldnít fret notes even the wrong ones
    I honestly thought the guarantee was hype, but worth a go if they were offering your money back. I donít recall if my hands were healed completely in two weeks. But the improvement was enough to convince me. Itís not cheap but I find it value for money, a finger tip worth enough for most days.
    I will add I have no financial interest, just a satisfied customer.
    I havenít noticed any detriment to my mandolin or guitar strings from using it and I wonít claim to look after them. I donít clean or treat the strings I just pick up and noodle every so often.

  15. #10
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hand Lotion and Strings

    This thread name reminds me of Silence of the Lambs.

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