2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

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2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby lemur » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:51 pm

OK.. this has been discussed many times (it may even be in the survival guide....I might have made a post like this before ) but it's something that can do with some repeating:

THE DUST AT BURNING MAN IS VERY ALKALINE AND IT CAN HURT YOU.
-You'll come knowing you need to stay hydrated,
-You'll come knowing you need protection from the sun..
-Many people come not knowing that they may need to be protected from the dust.

Know that not everyone has skin that reacts negatively to this dust. BUT you wont know until you get there. It is better to be prepared in the eventuality you are one of those people impacted by this.

You might think to yourself: "I am a kick ass beefy strong construction worker, and I work with cinderblocks all day, I will be fine!!" or you might think "I am a dainty person who needs my collection of moisturizers, balms and salves.. and I'm doomed to have a horrible burning man!" DON'T Both of these people could be wrong!! Again.. not everyone has skin that reacts badly to the dust.

If you are one of the unlucky ones: you'll need to protect yourself.

According to the BLM (the federal agency that manages the playa where burning man happens):

The pH of the playa sediments is basic, ranging from 9.97 to 10.21


(source pdf : http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/ ... Report.pdf )

This puts the dust on the playa among friends such as: Milk of magnesia, Ammonia, Borax, Great Salt Lake (utah), Baking Soda

You might have no problems with that stuff in the short term.. but how about living in it for 7 days.. or 10? (or more!)

Ok, I get it.. this might be yuckie.. Now.. what's the problem

-It is a (mild) Chemical Burn
-It can be painful and really put a damper on your fun
-It most often impacts feet, with people wearing open toed shoes, sandals, or no shoes at all.
-It also impacts the hands, specifically the cuticles.
-It may also impact: knees, elbows (some peoples bottoms/butts have been made sore by it)
-It isn't an emergency (unless it becomes infected or severely impairs your ability to do stuff)

As it is described in some fancy pants medical stuff:

"Burns are invariably deeper than first appearance suggests" "alkalis are capable of deep penetration, and can cause severe pain" .. "[a] mechanism by which these alkali injuries are caused is [...] extraction of water from cells [which] causes dessication"


(In laymans terms: it dries the bejesus out of your skin, in feet it can cause cracking of the little folds in your feet, leading to pain, and bleeding.. in hands it can cause pain and bleeding at the cuticles around fingernails leading to a really annoying day.)

OK that doesnt sound so great.. How do I avoid it, or fix it?

-Avoid Exposure to the dust! (wear gloves when making camp or handling dusty stuff, wear socks and closed-toe shoes)
-Clean your skin! (thoroughly rinse and clean the dust off problem areas multiple times a day, I carry a small spray bottle for this)
-Hydrate your skin! (moisturizer/lotion! I bring a 10-12 ounce bottle and use all of it each year just for my hands)
-Counteract the reaction (a vinegar solution works: 1 part white vinegar 3 parts water, some people use lime juice (not me!))

(many people soak their feet in a foot bath each night.. it feels good, i often soak my hands in a hand bath each night, it feels good.. the tingling feeling tells ya its working!)

That's great.. but I didn't listen to any of this..This hurts real bad and I dont feel well, now what?

-Go to one of the three medical stations, they help people with "playa foot" (or playa hand) related problems every year.
-Youll find them in the 3 o'Clock Plaza, the 9 o'clock plaza and just outside of Center Camp.
-Don't be embarrassed or afraid to get help, don't feel like this is too inconsequential .. if it's really messing with you, they are there to help



So kiddies out there for yer first time: in summation bring a big ol' bottle of lotion, maybe some white vinegar, and be prepared to wash your hands, or feet often.. have some gloves.. and an extra pair of closed toe shoes (dont only bring sandals!) just incase... because you dont want to end up like me.. and a friend of mine, who on our first year discovered that we have "PUSSY HANDS" ..it really sucked by wednesday and thursday.. like, a lot.. it hurted.

have a fun burning man!!! remember ..maybe wont need the lotiony stuff, but perhaps your neighbor will!
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby jkisha » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:21 pm

Yup, good advice.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby TT120 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:53 pm

I have construction worker hands, tough as nails and seemingly immune to everything. 3 days on the Playa and they were a mess. Bring lotion!!!
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Eric » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:54 pm

One more trick - if you're like me and have little-to-no reaction to the dust, except for your cuticles, use liquid bandaid on them. Just put some on, it keeps the dust from coming in contact with them & drying them out, while avoiding the bulkiness of gloves. Depending on how your hand is reacting you can do it a couple of times a day or just once in the morning. Massive help.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Oldguy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:04 pm

When wrestling in high school, we used a spray skin to prevent injuries. Our aerosol cans were larger than 1 oz. though.

Beaver brand comes in a 14 oz. can.
Last edited by Oldguy on Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Savannah » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:13 pm

Great post, Lemur.

Eric, I looove the Liquid Bandage for my cuticles too! (And for small cuts that aren't band-aid-friendly).

My list of playa moisturizers includes the thickest, most pudding-like lotion I can find, a cocoa butter solid (jar and stick form), travel-size lotion bottles for my Bag of Wandering, saline for eyes and nose, preservative-free artificial tears (as opposed to a redness reducer), sunscreen, and a moisturizer that my face can stand--'cause regular lotion is too oily. You can also dab neosporin in your nose to head off nosebleeds if you lack saline, but it has to be a very light amount because it's hard to breathe through. :lol: And it won't travel up as far as saline will.

Something I discovered about skin the hard way: it's generally okay to have a layer of dust on you for a while, if not overnight. But if you try to wipe it off quickly (i.e., without a shower or sponge bath) make sure your baby wipe is saturated with vinegar, lemon juice, or soap and water. If a baby wipe is too dry, the moisture that IS there only activates the dust somehow, and you'll feel like your skin's on fire 5 minutes later.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:29 pm

100% aloe vera jell absorbs quickly and does'nt leave the area sticky or tacky in any way.

Rub it into an area and in 30 second you would'nt know you put it on except the area is moisterized. 8)
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby AntiM » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:44 am

MyLarry gets playa paws, so he wears gloves a lot. Bag balm does the trick for him. I thought it would be a greasy mess, but no, playa dust won't stick to it at all.

Dust does not bother me, unless it gets into crevices. 8)
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby danibel » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:36 pm

I am a "foot bath" person. I like to drain the cooler into a wash pan, squirt some lemon juice in there, and soak for a bit. The problem with using the lemon juice is that now that pan is grey water and should not be dumped, so I funnel it back into empty one gallon jugs with screw top lids.

I picked up a tube of the second skin stuff. I am going to try that on my cuticles this year. Usually I just wear gloves and my hands end up very rough! I also keep a small travel sized lotion in my daypack. Aloe from TJ's is cheap and light weight for daily moisturizing.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby pink » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:59 pm

I use Burt's Bees coconut foot cream. It's actually more the consistency of vasoline than cream, and I make sure to massage a bunch into my hands while I'm doing my feet. My hands & feet normally look like playa hands & feet: dry, cracked cuticles & cracked heels, so it seems they don't get much worse up there. But I take better care of them up there too.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:41 pm

I have the cuticle issues with my hands, but never had any trouble with my feet.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Major Krash » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:57 am

Eric wrote:One more trick - if you're like me and have little-to-no reaction to the dust, except for your cuticles, use liquid bandaid on them. Just put some on, it keeps the dust from coming in contact with them & drying them out, while avoiding the bulkiness of gloves. Depending on how your hand is reacting you can do it a couple of times a day or just once in the morning. Massive help.


awesome tip! this is the one part I haven't learned how to deal with in all the years....because I am always taking my gloves off to do fine work
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby CornMan » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:04 am

lemur wrote:Know that not everyone has skin that reacts negatively to this dust. BUT you wont know until you get there. It is better to be prepared in the eventuality you are one of those people impacted by this.


It has been my experience that I don't know my feet are so vulnerable to cracking until after the big party on the night of the man burn. It really sneaks up on you. The smart thing that I should start doing is to bring a few packages of new socks, wear something other than sandals, and change the socks regularly. Other than for work, I never wear anything other than sandals all summer long, and it's difficult to break the habit because I'm at Burning Man.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby gaminwench » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:10 am

I've found that a pre-playa pedicure helps immensely. Once there, a daily vinegar foot bath (ooh!aah!) and lotion keeps my feet doing the happy dance ...
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby CornMan » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:18 am

gaminwench wrote:I've found that a pre-playa pedicure helps immensely. Once there, a daily vinegar foot bath (ooh!aah!) and lotion keeps my feet doing the happy dance ...


I've never had a pedicure, but after my first Burning Man experience, I've learned to use a pumice stone to scrub the yucky stuff off my feet during every shower. Now my feet are regularly baby smooth, and that seems to help on the playa. The callouses provide a surface for the dust to deposit or so I have read here on eplaya. When I bought the pumice stone, it was bigger than the size of a chalkboard eraser. Now it about the size of 1/2 of a Snickers bar.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:16 pm

My first year I got really bad playa cuticles, and didn't bring any lotion. I probably should have gone to the med tent but ended up just putting neosporin on them and wrapping my fingertips with duct tape. Worked pretty well! :D
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Savannah » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:31 pm

Emergency Services does not typically have Liquid Bandage, so I highly recommend looking for it in the first aid section of any decent drugstore. I have seen it as cheap as $3.50 on sale; but $5.00 is more typical. You won't regret it.

Sometimes bandaids/tape are unwieldy for fingertips, and they just get dirty so fast . . .
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby 9ah » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:01 am

Was that you that sent out this email last week? See you in camp this year!

lemur wrote:OK.. this has been discussed many times (it may even be in the survival guide....I might have made a post like this before ) but it's something that can do with some repeating:

THE DUST AT BURNING MAN IS VERY ALKALINE AND IT CAN HURT YOU.
-You'll come knowing you need to stay hydrated,
-You'll come knowing you need protection from the sun..
-Many people come not knowing that they may need to be protected from the dust.

Know that not everyone has skin that reacts negatively to this dust. BUT you wont know until you get there. It is better to be prepared in the eventuality you are one of those people impacted by this.

You might think to yourself: "I am a kick ass beefy strong construction worker, and I work with cinderblocks all day, I will be fine!!" or you might think "I am a dainty person who needs my collection of moisturizers, balms and salves.. and I'm doomed to have a horrible burning man!" DON'T Both of these people could be wrong!! Again.. not everyone has skin that reacts badly to the dust.

If you are one of the unlucky ones: you'll need to protect yourself.

According to the BLM (the federal agency that manages the playa where burning man happens):

The pH of the playa sediments is basic, ranging from 9.97 to 10.21


(source pdf : http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/ ... Report.pdf )

This puts the dust on the playa among friends such as: Milk of magnesia, Ammonia, Borax, Great Salt Lake (utah), Baking Soda

You might have no problems with that stuff in the short term.. but how about living in it for 7 days.. or 10? (or more!)

Ok, I get it.. this might be yuckie.. Now.. what's the problem

-It is a (mild) Chemical Burn
-It can be painful and really put a damper on your fun
-It most often impacts feet, with people wearing open toed shoes, sandals, or no shoes at all.
-It also impacts the hands, specifically the cuticles.
-It may also impact: knees, elbows (some peoples bottoms/butts have been made sore by it)
-It isn't an emergency (unless it becomes infected or severely impairs your ability to do stuff)

As it is described in some fancy pants medical stuff:

"Burns are invariably deeper than first appearance suggests" "alkalis are capable of deep penetration, and can cause severe pain" .. "[a] mechanism by which these alkali injuries are caused is [...] extraction of water from cells [which] causes dessication"


(In laymans terms: it dries the bejesus out of your skin, in feet it can cause cracking of the little folds in your feet, leading to pain, and bleeding.. in hands it can cause pain and bleeding at the cuticles around fingernails leading to a really annoying day.)

OK that doesnt sound so great.. How do I avoid it, or fix it?

-Avoid Exposure to the dust! (wear gloves when making camp or handling dusty stuff, wear socks and closed-toe shoes)
-Clean your skin! (thoroughly rinse and clean the dust off problem areas multiple times a day, I carry a small spray bottle for this)
-Hydrate your skin! (moisturizer/lotion! I bring a 10-12 ounce bottle and use all of it each year just for my hands)
-Counteract the reaction (a vinegar solution works: 1 part white vinegar 3 parts water, some people use lime juice (not me!))

(many people soak their feet in a foot bath each night.. it feels good, i often soak my hands in a hand bath each night, it feels good.. the tingling feeling tells ya its working!)

That's great.. but I didn't listen to any of this..This hurts real bad and I dont feel well, now what?

-Go to one of the three medical stations, they help people with "playa foot" (or playa hand) related problems every year.
-Youll find them in the 3 o'Clock Plaza, the 9 o'clock plaza and just outside of Center Camp.
-Don't be embarrassed or afraid to get help, don't feel like this is too inconsequential .. if it's really messing with you, they are there to help



So kiddies out there for yer first time: in summation bring a big ol' bottle of lotion, maybe some white vinegar, and be prepared to wash your hands, or feet often.. have some gloves.. and an extra pair of closed toe shoes (dont only bring sandals!) just incase... because you dont want to end up like me.. and a friend of mine, who on our first year discovered that we have "PUSSY HANDS" ..it really sucked by wednesday and thursday.. like, a lot.. it hurted.

have a fun burning man!!! remember ..maybe wont need the lotiony stuff, but perhaps your neighbor will!
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby lemur » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:12 am

yep. thats mE

forgot to include my 'lemur' name on that post ..and im guessing nobody knows my other various names!


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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:26 pm

lemur wrote:i will be therE

Good.
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:24 am

Great tips!
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Re: 2013 REMINDER: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE DUST

Postby DrewDubious » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:02 pm

Is it worse than sheetrock dust? :)
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