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Topic: Eczema and Polymer Clay  (Read 2125 times)
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Partly confused all of the time...

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« on: October 14, 2010 08:22:34 AM »

Ok this is a weird question and I don't know if any of you will know the answer but here we go...

I have very severe eczema and dry skin, pretty much all over my body and unfortunately I shed dry skin cells pretty badly most of the time.
I've found that when I work with Polymer clay after baking any skin cells that may have got on the work seem to rise to the surface. Although I try my best to be flake free when working on pieces it's obviously something I have a hard time controlling. I've also noticed that even if there doesn't seem to be any on the piece when it goes into the oven there is after.

Sorry this is maybe a bit of a gross subject but I would appreciate thoughts on why this happens and ways to prevent it?

Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010 09:34:42 AM »

I've found that when I work with Polymer clay after baking any skin cells that may have got on the work seem to rise to the surface. . . . I've also noticed that even if there doesn't seem to be any on the piece when it goes into the oven there is after.

Are you saying that on a finished raw clay piece you don't see any cells, but after that piece is baked you see them on the surface of the baked clay?  If so, does the surface actually feel rough or are you just seeing something that looks like flakes/etc that can't be felt on the clay? 

If it's the latter, it could be that what you're seeing isn't skin flakes but "plaquing" which sometimes shows up when translucent-containing clays are baked (and even dark colors can qualify, especially Sculpey III colors). There are things you can do to control the plaquing or deal with it so let us know if that's the case.

If it's really flakes, you might want to check out the suggestions on this page at my site for avoiding dust (especially while making sculpted items), and also some of the suggestions for avoiding little clay bits or other bits getting onto white clay:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm ...click on these categories:
....Fingerprints, Smoothing, Dust
....White or Any Clay--Keeping Clean

You might also get some info from this page, under the Rashes and Allergic Reactions category:

I guess you could try slathering with something like hand lotion/etc just before you work with raw clay and maybe that would be a stop-gap for awhile, or perhaps make a lightweight forearm-covering to wear at that point.  The part-sleeve could be made from a woven or knitted fabric, tight or loose, and perhaps have thin elastic or a bit of knitted t-shirt ribbing at the wrist end to hold it in place and keep it out of your way?

If none of that helps, I can ask a friend and someone who does a lot of claying if that's a problem for her since she has a ecxema on her forearms and what she does about it.

Diane B.

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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010 12:34:54 PM »

I would suggest just using gloves like I do. Keeps my hands and fingernails from getting clay on them, plus, I don't have to sand/buff as much because there are no fingerprint residue.

Rock, paper, scissors? Why, yes, I've used them all.
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010 12:19:09 PM »

If you're worried about latex allergies, as well, you can use nitrile or neoprene gloves instead.

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