I'm 30, female, and have undergone a mysterious change in skin texture for the past 6 months. I'm a professional musician (a string player, so my fingers make direct contact with the strings), so my job literally relies on my hands, and lately, they've been really dry.
The best way I can explain it is that the skin on my fingers & hands isn't retaining any moisture at all. The skin is so dry that the fingerprint ridges are easily detectable. The skin is smooth, but almost TOO smooth - so roughness is not one of my problems. In terms of playing, it feels like I've lost traction on my fingers and they slip off too easily. As opposed to what it used to feel like with normal skin (supple, plump, soft, etc.), the adjectives I would use to describe my fingers and palms now are: dry, dusty, waxy, and paper-like.
I've also noticed that I don't sweat as much (hardly at all) on my palms anymore, even in the sauna. We don't have sweat glands on our fingertips, but we do in our palms, so that's weird. It's almost like someone's put a dessicant (drying agent) on my hands and sucked the life out of them.
I don't do dishes, so that's not the problem, and there have been no changes in soaps/lotions, etc. I did move apartments last July, but it was only 1mi away, so I'm guessing it's the same water source. I have a theory that it could be something in the water, such as too much chlorine, but I don't know. I was in the Czech Republic for vacation last month, and my hands felt PERFECT there.
I've seen a Derm twice, who gave me some cream with Urea, and suggested getting blood work done, specifically for thyroid and B12. I got the results back, but haven't had a follow-up appointment yet, so I don't know how to interpret everything. In my own research, I know that thyroid/B12 issues & diabetes can all lead to dry skin. Also anemia. Here are some my levels:
Vitamin B12 (serum test): 251
B12 seems on the low side of normal (the normal range on the lab paper says 243-894, although people online say in the mid-range of that is better).
As far as the skin on the rest of my body, it's dry, but not as bad as my hands. I am also thirsty even though I drink a lot of water and although I exercise, I'm prone to feeling zapped at times during the day, especially after I eat. I've also struggled with mood issues and some sort of cyclic depression. No other symptoms to speak of.
Any ideas? I really need to get the situation with my hands figured out, because it's interfering with my ability to do my job.