Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans (American Academy of Dermatology). Nearly 85% of all people have acne at some point in their lives. By mid-teens, more that 40% of adolescents have acne.
Topical products used in the treatment of acne to exfoliate the skin and unclog skin pores include benzoyl peroxide, glycolic and salicylic acid. When using these products on a continuing basis, they may cause the fingers to become rough and irritated.
Because of the peroxide (bleaching agent) contained in benzoyl peroxide, it is very common to ruin a towel after applying the medication using the fingers, rinsing them with water, and then wiping them off on a towel.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, and scaly patches to appear on the surface of the skin. It affects 7.5 million people in the United States and approximately 125 million worldwide (National Psoriasis Foundation).
Two of the common topical products used to treat psoriasis contain either salicylic acid or coal tar. If the fingers are used to apply these solutions to an affected area, the fingers can become rough, red, and irritated. Also, if there is residual product on the fingers and they inadvertently come into contact with the eyes or private parts of the body, the individual may experience extreme irritation to these areas.
Eczema causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. More than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema (National Eczema Association).
Many products used to treat eczema contain hydrocortisone steroids in varying degrees of strength. If the fingers are used to apply these solutions to an affected area, the fingers can become rough, red, and irritated.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 2.8 million cases are diagnosed in the United States annually (www.skincancer.org).
A topical solution frequently used to treat basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis, a precursor to superficial basal cell carcinoma, often causes redness and irritation. It is important to avoid inadvertent contact with mucous membranes due to the potential for local inflammation and ulceration.
Fibroymyalgia is a common chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body. Approximately 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia (National Fibromyalgia Association). Topical capsaicin is used to help severe fibromyalgia pain. Capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers that causes a burning sensation where it touches tissues.
Hormone replacement creams (estrogen and testosterone) for both men and women are becoming more and more common. If, for some reason, individuals are unable to apply these products onto themselves and need another person to apply them, it is important that the person applying the medication not come into direct contact with it. These topicals are extremely potent, are absorbed into the bloodstream, and nay have damaging or unwanted effects.
Many people don’t realize that, when using the fingers for hormone replacement application, there may be a residue that remains on the fingers. There exists the possibility that residual hormone may inadvertently be transferred to children or pets. This can lead to various unwanted and detrimental results.
Cosmeceutical/beauty applications include topical products used to reduce the buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and to diminish wrinkles. Primarily these include Retin A, vitamin C, glycolic and salicylic acids. These products are designed to cause the dead skin cells to slough off. They can also cause the fingers to become dry, irritated, and rough.