Scleroderma and Dry Skin


What’s the best product for dry, cracked skin with scleroderma? Whatever the hell you like. Please allow me to explain.

First, due to poor circulation, the skin does not get enough blood to feed the fingertips and hands. As our skin breaks down and replaces healthy tissue with scar tissue, sebaceous glands do not usually regenerate. Sebaceous glands secrete oil or a waxy substance to lubricate our skin. There are studies that show sebaceous glands growing back in rabbits and mice, but they all do not have scleroderma.

Over time, our skin loses the maintain moisture. When Raynaud’s is new, this happens slowly and scar tissue from dead skin begins to appear. Eventually, along with the onset of the granular healing of ulcers, the cracked dry skin exacerbates pain and can make a minor ulcer, a major ulcer with the smallest of injury.

For me, it all seemed to happen at once, but looking back I can map out the pattern of color change and soreness, to light pitting -which took about two years to occur. The extremely dry skin came after pitting. But just like everything, it may be different for you. I am basing this on my experience. I’m not an expert, but here’s my story. Maybe you can use my experience to help you or someone you know.

The ulcers with severely dry skin become overwhelming. Especially when Raynaud’s kicked into high gear due to a drop in temperature or stress.

Scleroderma skin, especially on hands and feet- at least for me- is nearly impossible to keep from cracking. The only thing I have found to extend the efficacy of any moisturizer is to at least massage lotion into the area, twice a day, constantly re-applying lotion, and a, monthly mani-pedi.

Massaging lotion or a preffered oil morning and night in addition to applying and reapplying a moisturizer helps keep the dry skin manageable. When I’ve been suffering from pain in the skin on the bottom of my feet or hands, moisturizer helps prevent pain from dry skin and helps the integrity of the skin.

I like to use sunscreen for the face on my hands. It’s not as greasy as some hand lotions and zinc oxide – the active ingredient in sunscreen, has anti-inflammatory properties. But most of the time, I just use whatever is closest. When I run out or forget to bring my lotion with me, I have used antibacterial ointment, and lip gloss. One time, at my lady-parts appointment, while I was getting dressed, I grabbed a little packet of lube. It was an especially cold dry day in Wisconsin and that lube provided a little relief and protection from the cold dry air on my fingertips and knuckle until I got to my nearest store.

It is my opinion that the best brand of any kind of lotion or oil is one that you or I like. Every lotion loses its efficacy after a while. I rotate between Nivea 48 hours, Vaseline brands, light oil, and Lush when I’m feeling fancy.

One patient suggested a diaper cream like Desitin. I may give that a try. Not sure if I like the smell, but there are times when my dry skin is worse than usual, so I’m going to keep some around and try it out the next time it happens.

The terms, “natural” and “organic” are arbitrary. I love buying organic and natural, but it’s been my experience that without constant reapplication and massage, every lotion is not effective. Whether it’s natural, organic or petroleum jelly, use what works best for you and fits in your budget.

various skin moisturizing products dumped from a bag.
Here are the contents of my facial skin-care bag and the all-over body moisturizers I use. I change it up all the time. Samples and stuff that comes as a gift with purchase are my favorites. It’s the best way to justify using some upscale facial moisturizers on my hands. It’s nice sometimes, but I don’t think it works better than the all-over body lotions for hands and feet. Murad has some great starter kits. I’ve been using them for 10 years on my face because it works for me and I’m not getting any younger.