Ode to the cotton glove

Ah yes!  The cotton glove.  A hand saving tool for those of us with eczema on our hands.  Let’s just say that I have a love/hate relationship with my cotton gloves.

hand eczema

My glove stash: Here are all the gloves I could find in a quick search of the house/laundry.

In 2011, when my hands were extremely bad I wore these little beauties 24/7 changing them as many as 5-6 times a day depending on if my hands were oozing or not.  They are fabulous for keeping dry hands moist when combined with a good moisturizing cream.  I used them primarily to keep my hands comfortable as my hands get very painful when they are in full blown eczema mode.  Even before my episode last year I have been wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed for probably 12 years now.  At first it was a way of “trying” to control my nocturnal scratching.  I say “trying” as it kinda helps but not really as one of two things always happens; 1) I rip them off in my sleep and scratch anyways (finding them somewhere in the bed come morning), or 2)I just scratch with them on anyways creating holes in the ends of the gloves with my nails.  Below are just a few of the many examples I have of #2.

These poor gloves have seen the wrath of my noctural scratching.

I have also purchased a couple pairs of bamboo gloves but for some reason they make my hands REALLY itchy.  This is interesting as I am allergic to grass and bamboo is the largest member of the grass family.  Note to self, stay a way from bamboo.

Cotton gloves are surprisingly pricey.  An average pair costs about $7 or more making my stash worth a fair bit. (I think I counted 26 pairs this morning so at ~$7/pair that is about $180 in gloves)

I haven’t talked much about the mental game you play with yourself as you come to a point where you have to wear gloves all the time.  At first I would take them off when I was around a lot of people but my hands LOOKED awful and I just felt like people were staring at them (not sure how true that was though).   Then I just started to wear them all the time.  I wondered about the general public’s perception of  me, things like was a germaphobe or OCD about cleanliness.  I can’t lie and say that I didn’t care because I did care, very much to be honest.  BUT, I had to get over that and just learn that this was what I was dealt.  So, I just wore them and eventually they essentially become apart of me almost, I felt naked without them sometimes.

There were some days when people’s comments would start to annoy me, mostly people at work just trying to be funny.  I got the old “Hey Michael”, if I was wearing only one glove.  Crap like that seems innocent to the person saying them but after awhile it is just annoying and kinda hurtful.  Other times people would ask and I would just say “Oh, I have eczema on my hands”.  People were and are very sympathetic when they find out its because I have eczema on my hands but I can’t help but think what people say (or think) behind my back.  I think if I saw me I would just think I didn’t want to get my hands dirty (or germy) which in our climate of contagious illnesses might actually be a decent idea.

So there you have it my acknowledgement to the cotton glove.  I hate that I need you but love that you are available to help me deal with my eczema.  We’ll have many more days and nights together I am sure.



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12 Responses to Ode to the cotton glove

  1. Joe Mc says:

    Hi Amie,

    See if any of these gloves interest you, we have other colors beside white, too.
    I’ll gladly send you some samples of you like since we have many customers with your condition.

    Link: http://www.gloves-online.com/products.php?cat=152

    Thanks, Joe

  2. Marianne says:

    Have you tried Lee Valley’s cotton glove liners? http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=31204&cat=2,42407,33246

    At 3 pairs for $2.95 they’re quite affordable. The ladie’s ones are on the small side, the finger are pretty narrow — but I have wide hands. I’m going to give the men’s ones a try next time. The men’s might be too large for me to wear layered under latex/vinyl gloves when I do cleaning or painting (without them, the gloves irritate my skin as much as the water and cleaners) but they shoudl be a better size for wearing overnight.

  3. Kelly says:

    Hi there,
    I also hate my skin but it’s not eczema that I have. I have an incurable skin disorder called Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis (or EHK for short). I’ve also tried the cotton gloves on the hands after putting a heavy duty cream on my hands and the gloves end up in the bed someplace. Not fun, so I have given up on that one. I also do the nocturnal itching – I try to keep my nails short but sometimes that doesn’t even help. I will just rub and rub until the skin comes off and then I find out what I did in the middle of the night when I get in the shower the next day…

    Anyways, I found your blog on BlogHer and the title just struck me. I do have the courage to post pictures of my skin on my blog but sometimes I just don’t. I have vented on the blog about various experiences with dermatologists, medications, creams, etc. I hope you continue with this blog, it’s a good resource for those of us who have different kinds of skin issues – genetics or not..

  4. Harriet says:

    Great article. I too suffer from eczema, particularly on my hands. I’m going to try and purchase some cotton gloves in different colours and styles and make it my fashion statement this winter. I hate it when people stare or make remarks, I sometimes wish that they would wake up one morning smothered in it and see what they say then.

    • Amie says:

      I agree, I do secretly wish people (and there opinions) could wake up one morning and have to live their words.

      Did you ever find some in different colours?

  5. Marlene says:

    Thanks for your article. For years, I have wrapped my fingers and palms with Saran wrap after applying ointment to deal with my eczema breakouts. This has been very time consuming and annoying. I will definitely try using cotton gloves and save the plastic wrap for leftovers.

    • Amie says:

      Great Idea Marlene. I think the wrapping in plastic wrap was an old school trick. Although sometimes I still like to put my creams on, cotton gloves and a nitrile glove on top for a couple hours but only if I am desperate and my hands are really bad.

  6. Jaz says:

    Hey 🙂
    I have suffered from excema my whole life and when I was little had to be tied up because it was that bad. It has gone way better but i always suffer from dry hands that are itchy and splotch same with my arms. I can’t find any moisturisers that help… I have used lanolin free etc and fatty creams and every moisturiser you can name 🙁 Does anyone have any tips? What do you use?? 🙁

    • Amie says:

      Hi Jaz! Thanks for the visit. I only use glaxal base and coconut oil for moisturizer. When its really bad I turn to Vaseline. I always apply before bed and than put on my cotton gloves.

      • Lara says:

        Hi Amie, my girl has severe excema all over but her hands & feet are always open (she mainly rubs the skin off so the nail trimmings, gloves etc… seem to not help her much). I hope you find the magic ‘something’ that works for you. One method we have tried that works for her is wax treatments. The hospital do wet wraps etc.. with steroids daily but to relieve her itching (and this is the only thing she says does that) she dips her hands & feet in melted wax (unscented paraffin) several times & leaves it on for about 15 mins then peels it off. It really makes a difference when she isn’t flared up & stops the splits along her fingers, helping her hands heal faster. Her skin is also more water repellent for about 12 hours later which helps stop some of her reactions. The doctors say that by forming a barrier it keeps more moisture in her skin instead of it drying out. Good luck & thank you so much for your ode to cotton gloves – great to make her feel she’s not the only one 🙂

  7. Monica says:

    Dear Amie, I, myself went through the whole eczema route, and for me, the well meaning advice of EVERYONE who saw my tortured flesh drove me to absolute distraction…. Not that I didn’t try each and every suggestion, most of which were hideously painful and some of which even made the condition worse. When the eczema began creeping up my arms to my shoulders, down my legs, and even to my scalp, I knew I couldn’t stand much more. I did try a product called Chickweed Healing Salve, which can be found online (an Amish product I originally found in Ohio) which helped a great deal. But I wanted to understand why I had this condition to begin with. I knew it grew way worse when I was under stress, but how did it start? Finally, I got diagnosed with a severe systemic candida infection. I endured a really strict diet for a month, adding back in foods month by month, and surprise, the eczema cleared up like magic. Since I am now very careful about eating sugar or other junk food carbs, I’ve not had any more problems. The lifestyle change was slow, and the initial month on the diet difficult, but in retrospect, it was beyond worth it, and my health has thanked me over and over. You might think about getting checked for candidiasis. Good luck.

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