Friday, July 29, 2011

A Child with Granny Hands: A Case of Hyperlinear Palms

I've been called many things and many names growing up. People would discuss my fishy skin right in front me as if I wasn't there. They would prod and stare at it and theorize how this came about. But thinking about all that name calling, amuses me now. It seemed to mystify people that someone like me can actually live with something like this.


I live in the tropics where certain afflictions particularly of the skin are attributed to some curse or folklore. Great, right?

Imagine me, being seven arguing I have Ichthyosis Vulgaris, a tongue-twister of a skin condition. But people can just simplify things and tell me stuff like I'm cursed. My hands are cursed. Well, I really have hyperlinear palms, imagine the sight of "granny-like" hands on a seven year-old. The adults can't get over it, they have crazy theories like:

1. I was born with the mark of bad luck. They call it Malas.
2. A palm reader once told me at the shocking sight of my hyperlinear palms, "You will live a complicated life filled with adventure, heartache and riches." Okay, I don't think blogging my life away is the adventure I had in mind. Now about those riches? Hmm...
3. Its your mother's fault, she craved nothing but fish throughout her pregnancy and my skin is the result of it. Locals refer to it as paglilihi, the act of strange food cravings by a pregnant woman that would result in a freaky baby. Hence, moi!
4. Your mother bathe you in too much isopropyl alcohol as a child that's why your skin is so dry.

Personally, my mom blamed herself a lot on the Ichthyosis Vulgaris, she thought it was these medications she took while she was pregnant with me that caused it. Or that she didn't take enough vitamins for me in the womb. I think the concept of genetics and how Icthyosis conditions are hereditary doesn't seem like the plain and simple truth to her. I wish she didn't have to blame herself so much, but my mom is on a different planet on her own anyway. We're not very close you see. And I really felt distant from her growing up. But, still I love you Mommy :)

Kids and teachers would call my hands outright disgusting or really ugly. Or why don't you see a doctor? Why don't you scrub it off? You're Eeew, etc. They would even call others in like their co-teachers and other kids just to see how ugly the lines on my hands were. As a result, my classmates wouldn't play with me. No one would touch my hands during school activities that required holding hands such as dancing or praying the Our Father. One kid cried so hard when the teacher forced him to hold my hand, he felt he would get the disease, so I did him a favor and told him we could just pretend to be holding hands or he could hold to my finger so the teacher won't scold him. So that was grade school for me in the Philippines, having Ichthyosis in this small part of the world is no piece of flake.






30 comments:

  1. i have the same thing my hands arent so bad, lines everywhere, and in the winter the back of my hands crack and look very old. But water and even lotion stings and causes it to be worse. I would joke with people and tell them the lines on my hands are so they can't finger print me and ill never get caught

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    1. Speaking of finger prints, I went to an embassy once to get my palms and fingers scanned so I could get a visa. I really held up the line on that one. The scanner couldn't pick it up for some reason, the machine was having a hard time reading my prints. My hand lines are really all over the place. So the whole thing took two hours and a lot of embassy staff grumbling.

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  2. I have the same thing. I always wondered why my hands looked different. Kids made fun of me too. I remember one boy was being pretty mean to me and I told him I had just taken a bath that's why they looked hat way. Lol! Ya I knew it was a lie but I was like 6 years old. I never knew this was a specific thing, I just thought I had ugly hands. It is comforting to know I'm not the only one though who has to deal with this.

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  3. Well, Hello to all my Shar-pei hand sisters. My father had hyperlinear palms but he died when I was very young & I don't remember them save one faint memory of sitting in his lap around 2 years old and 'studying' them. Up until I was 22 or so, I was ashamed of my hands . Usually I got comments like "You've got really Wrinkled hands" ( duh!) or "What's WRONG with your hands?" At 22 I met a girl my age who had flown from Alaska to Georgia to attend a mutual friends funeral. When she shook my hand she grabbed it and said " Far out! You've got hands like mine!" ( yes, it was the '70's ) I made a comment about how embarrassing they were & she told me she liked hers, they make her unique. Later when my rude cousin asked her "what's wrong with your hands" I stuck mine out and said "Nothing, they look like mine!" That changed the way I felt about my Old Hands. I just started saying I was an Old Soul. Much later in my 40's when I was a home health nurse I had a blind patient tell me she remembered me because of my hands; that was kind of cute. In winter my skin cracks and is real painful. Everybody assumes I have dishpan hands or don't take care of them. Now in my 60's people can't guess my age; my hands look old but my face looks much younger. ( I'll take that trade-off!) Once I was told my hands looked like Naugahyde upholstery; without thinking I came back with," Nope, they're Shar-pei." By the way, my feet are just like my hands.

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  4. My daughter has been misdiagnosed. Her dermatologist said it was exema. I have never seen anyones exema look like her condition. I have just discovered this. She could sure stand seeing and meeting someone with the same skin condition. It has effected her life so much. People can be very cruel. Even some doctors are ignorant.

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  5. Hi all! I too have Ichthyosis, along with my older brother, my mom, and 2 of my aunts (mom's sister and dad's sister). So yeah, my brother and I got double-whammied with it running in both sides of the family.
    We tell people we are lizards when asked about our "odd" looking skin. Since my brother and I grew up with (and still have) various reptiles it kinda fits anyways :)
    I remember kids telling me that my hands felt funny but don't recall being hurt from insults or anything. I'm blown away at how rude and hurtful some people can be after reading this thread! Well, just so you know, you are BEAUTIFUL and I hope you have let go of the angry words; those people probably don't have anything nice to say nor do they have any manners!
    Through the years I've tried all kinds of lotions and soaps to remedy the itchy skin and FINALLY found a combination that works for me: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing body wash and Goldbond Ultimate Healing lotion. I know everyone is different but still wanted to share. The key is to take the time to apply enough lotion to soak in as opposed to just quickly applying. Also, the more you shower the more you strip the natural oils from your body so that's something to consider.

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  6. I have this problem. My hands are nothing but deep lines and wrinkles. Palms and the top side. Feet are the same way. What can be done to fix this? Is there anything the dermatologist can do that will make my hands "normal"?

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  7. Hi Amber - i am the same as you tops and bottoms of my hands and feet. they actually were'nt that bad until after i had kids and its like it has tripled in terms of the amount of lines and dryness! i saw my dermatologist and he said that this will happen with pregnancy - makes me not want any more babies now. plus both my kids have it too. First child not so much and second child pretty bad - he has it worst than me poor thing! i was told that there is nothing you can do but moisturise all the time (which i do). I'd love to hear if others have any other ideas on maintaining it but i dont believe there is any way of making them look normal. I always think - if they look like this now then what will they look like at an old age! i hate it!!

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  8. My mom had it, I have it. I definitely remember being asked why I had "old lady hands" in elementary school. I'm almost 40 now and haven't worried much about them in years. I just figure I'm growing into them! One thing though is that because my mom had these unique hands as well, it's like I can see a part of her every day even though she has passed away.

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    1. I so understand how you feel. I remember when I was young being taunted by my 'old' hands and have never, until now, had a name for it. I thought I was alone. Seeing all these posts feel able to accept to it a little better. That's so sweet though you feel you can see your Mum in your hands

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  9. I am a 22 year old female who has grown up with this issue. I was teased and harassed harshly growing up. Among my peers , they do not seem to notice as much. The ones that do ask why my hands are dry I usually say its from lifting 💪. I live up North, so the climate is rough on skin. I have tried everything I can think of to help aid my condition. I have heard hormones may help or steroids. I have considered investing in acid that takes the first layer of skin off(the first layer is what is infected). Of course skin replaces itself completely every 28 days, so I would need to repeat. I'm hoping this will at least help some of the build up of skin. Thins I have found to help is bathing in cold water so I do not strip as much of the oils in my skin. Argon I find most effective since it is closest in relation to the natural oils we produce. I also have turned to baby wash instead of a lot of other soaps and shampoos. Products such as these, do not posses as many harsh phosphates that dry out skin more. I try to exfoliate often to reduce the skin build up and then always rehydrate. Its nice hearing others have similar issues , a lot of the time it feels like your kind of on your own. It can be terrorfying meeting new people with this issue. Often times I feel self conscious out on dates , I'm scared to death of a guy holding my hand! Or thinking of how I won't want to show anyone a ring on my hand if my hands look like this. It is my hope that someday someone finds a cure.

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  10. hi i have the same problem i'm 15 year old male and i never hear the end of it from people i talk to the worst one is "your hands are crusty" or "dont shake my hand id rather kill myself" and i guess it does make me happy that other people have this condition too but it kills me that i'm the only one in my high school with this skin problem, on top of that i get mad fun of on the daily cause of it and i feel awkward going to the school about it , even my principal asked how i "messed up my hands that bad" i have also heard from one of my teachers " you ever use lotions?" and its all the time. i use as very thick moisturizers and i have IV or All dry skin its very embarrassing and i think in the end it cant be fixed but i wish people were more aware of this skin condition. because when i have to explain to my best friend of 4 years why i hate my skin and hands they tell me its problem and i need to find out how to take care of it (this person is really nice, they even said they couldn't understand my pain and that they would if they could, this person wants to understand. so no i dont make bad friend decisions , cause he defends me too in public.) < i only said that so no one would think i choose bully friends and thats why, cause its not. kids these days are horrible

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    1. Same... I'm 14 years old and I'm a girl. I'm always trying to hide my hands. It really hurts when people are commenting on my hands or when they are making fun out of it. It does make me feel a little better to read this blog but in real life I'm still the only one with this problem and I just feel alone and different. I feel you, stay strong.

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    2. I'm a 15 year-old girl in high school as well. I've always been teased at school for having "old woman hands". I glad there are so many other people dealing with this, I always thought I was just weird. I think I get it from both sides of my family, but my dad has the same hands as me- which isn't really what you want to hear when you're a teenage girl. It sucks how cruel kids can be about something a minuscule as the skin on your hands. This might not apply to everyone, but I always feel like my hands look nicer when I've taken care of and painted my nails.

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  11. For what it's worth. I have Ichthyosis. I have used basis soap and moisturised with baby magic lotion. I am a 65 year old male and have used this method Fo 57 years. I am constantly embarrassed in public by ignorant waitresses, check out people, ect announcing to everyone that I smell like a baby

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  12. can someone of you show me a photo of your hands(top of hands),ma son ,2 years old have ichthyosis and his hands and feet are so dry and wrinkled,i',m so disappointed and helpless

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  13. It's great to see this blog. Have only one met one person in real life outside of my sister and mom who have this. I have a mild case, did not get a "granny hands" comment until I was 11 and no skin cracking till I was 8. Handling the dry legs is more difficult - the teenage years were especially difficult when they cracked and bled fairly routinely. I tend to ornament my neck and my wrists and ignore my hands.

    I take the good with the bad, because my face is unaffected and I look younger than my siblings with normal skin. And I figure, if this is my cross to bear, well it's a very small one. Doesn't affect my longevity, and only requires about 5 minutes a day to treat.

    Also, one of my hobbies is lotion making. There are very few products commercially that work for true ichthyosis. And so many extra ingredients we may be sensitive to.

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  15. Its comforting coming across this publication, I have had this condition for my life time (in my late 20's). I have used several hand creams but condition remain the same, apart from my hands/palms and feet/soles the other part of my body skin remains soft and very tender. I have across Amlactin 12 alpha-hydroxy and Ammonium lactate 12 creams online, but I guess its for another skin related codition. if anyone has successfully treated this, kindly share the secret formula.

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  16. I too have the same problem, I'm 29 and too was teased and bullied at school ! The worst one for me was "chicken fingers" that really got me down ! I have really prominent lines like in the picture and them too underneath my feet. I too was told that I had eczema as a child and was prescribed things like, E45 oilatum bath soak etc but nothing ever got rid of it, that's when I knew there was some "different" about me to all the other kids at school! I was an alien with some short of disorder etc that wouldn't go away!
    I remember all the girls applying nail varnish and I would even consider it.
    Now older I've come to understand that I have to live with it, I'm now a nurse and always look at the bright side that I could always be worse I.e born with a facial doformaty etc.
    I am finally getting married next year to my soul mate but even now still I won't show my hands in front of him and I've said I won't be having any cameras on my hands on my wedding day as it's been drilled into me for years! But hey go I'm just happy there is an actual name for it and there's others like me :) just wish there were something I.e like a campaign or something so people are made more aware for those young ones so they too won't suffer what I did!

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  18. I'm a 15 year-old girl in high school as well. I've always been teased at school for having "old woman hands". I glad there are so many other people dealing with this, I always thought I was just weird. When I was younger it used to upset me to tears when people would pick on me for my hands. I would wear shirts and jackets to cover them. I've begun to come accustom to comments like "what's wrong with your hands?" "You have old lady hands" and my all-time favorite "Do you moisturize - like - ever?" It sucks how cruel people can be about something a minuscule as the skin on your hands. I think I get it from both sides of my family, but my dad has the same hands as me-which isn't really what you want to hear when you're a teenage girl. This might not apply to everyone, but I always feel like my hands look nicer when I've taken care of and painted my nails.

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  19. Bless you Macy, nice to see you feel confident in applying beauty products to make you feel better and please ignore vile comments others give you ! Feel confident in the skin your in Hun, that's what I always say ! It's the best way. We could always be a lot worse Hun :)

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  20. Omg I have the really the same experienced like you when i was young. My classmates always making a fuss and they used to call me chicken skin actually. As i saw the photo of your hand i have the same. I remember, when my teacher paired me to one little boy for a dance he doesnt wanna hold my hand. He used a little stick for us to hold on to like pretending were holding hands as he doesnt really want to touch my hand.

    Btw, It was in the philippines too.

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  21. Hi everyone! I'm a 38-year old woman and I've had this for as long as I can remember. I too have the 'granny hands'.
    I don't know if this will help anyone but there are a couple of things I do in the hopes of mitigating the effects, I guess:
    1. I hide my hands a lot but i gesture a lot while speaking so hey! I get my nails done in the hope that it'll distract from the appearance. I hated wedding pics of my hands. My husband's hands look smoother than mine and he's 10 years older! Maddening!
    2. Luckily, it's not on my face
    3. I used to do monthly body peels in an effort to help to shed the dead skin cells. 20-30% salicylic acid peels and 20% glycolic peels every 3-4 months. Especially my legs, thighs, back.
    4. I mix a lot of the creams I use to moisturize with: coconut oil, almond oil. I also use creams with urea. 10-20% urea helps to soften especially during winter months.
    5. I also use my heavy cream concoctions and then wrap my legs and thighs in cling wrap either overnight or during the day if home. I wish it was easy to wrap my back!

    It sucks having this and even harder being a child or teen. I think it gets a little easier as you get older. It's also great if you have a solid supportive team who understands our condition but doesn't judge or recoil but most of all, eventually you've got to accept that it is what is and love yourself in spite of it. I hope it doesn't come across as flippant or preachy. This line of thinking definitely came with age and just going about my life. Good luck to my fellow 'granny hands'!

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  22. I am almost 70 and have had granny hands all of my life. Guess what? I have grown into them..my hands look old but I AM old now..I have taken pains to moisturize so my hands look the same as they did when I was 25...I use lanolin products..this sounds weird but I use lanolin products that nursing mom use on their nipples. I put it on my hands and feet after exfoliation...also a tip: don't wear loud nail polish or fancy rings..underplay your hands and call attention to your face..there are soooo many worse conditions to have...I know I was self conscious as a young woman ..but when I accentuated my assets ..I really forgot about my hands!

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  23. I also have 'granny like hands" I'm a 15 year old girl and have many problems with people at school asking me why my hands are like this. I feel very uncomfortable because no one in my school has this condition and I feel so outcast. I helps to know that other people have this to as it doesn't make me feel like I'm the only person with this daily struggle.

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  24. I also have "granny like hands", I'm a 15 year old teenage girl, and I'm the only person at my school with hands like mine. They are very wrinkly and when people notice them they just stare and ask why my hands are like that. I find this uncomfortable and want to hide them all the time so no one will notice them. I'm the cold weather they get worst and show up more wrinkles that I have on my hands. I felt outcast like no one else this, but then I found this site and made me realise I'm not the only one with this daily struggle.

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing. Through this blog I finally understood why my hands are so deeply lined. I'm 14 years old and I literally avoid giving high fives to people. People always say things like "wear some lotion" or "why are your hands so crusty". It's so frustrating but at least I know the condition I have now. I'm also very thankful that I'm not in any pain from this condition like many people are.

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  26. Omg I thought I was the only one with this problem. Reading all your comments and it feels good to know that there are people out there with the same issue as mine. Been bullied in school and made fun off. Hated my hands and feet. Never liked anyone touching my hands. Avoided it. I'm 26 now and not as fussed over it as before. But as still is a comfort to know I'm not a freak. There are people out there just like me ♥️

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