Hands, Feet and Legs…and tips for avoiding playa foot

feet playa foot

Your hands and feet are about to have an epic experience.

The playa dust–the incessant, everywhere, all the time, in-everything, on-everything playa dust–is not just dust. It’s an alkaline, potentially burning chemical that will strip the oils out of your hands and leave them dry, cracked and possibly raw.

Your feet, too, are about to journey as they probably haven’t done so in awhile, or ever before. Be good to them. You need them functioning at their best.

Tips for taking care of your hands at Burning Man

Wood nail cleaners

Your cuticles are going to take a beating with the playa dust. A brutal beating. I find a wood nail cleaner is much gentler on my battered cuticles when cleaning my playa-dust-encrusted nails.

Liquid Skin for your cuticles

This tip came in from a friend, and I’m totally going to do this in future years. Get Liquid Skin, or a similar brand, and apply it to your cuticles. Your cuticles are going to get torn up. This helps them get less torn up. Some people recommend using Super Glue if that gives you any indication of the lengths people will go through to

Nail clippers

Make sure to clip your toenails before coming out to TTitD where you’ll be walking, walking, walking everywhere. A toenail that is too long and hitting your shoes/boots day in and day out can make for sore feet and a bruising. Been there.

Get a manicure before and after

Some people get manicures before Burning Man and get their cuticles trimmed professionally. Many (most?) people get manicures afterward too. Your cuticles have probably never had an experience like they’re about to get at Burning Man. Some TLC before, during and after Burning Man can pay off in spades.

Color things up

Many people (guys too) paint their nails ahead of time, both for fashion and flair, but also, frankly, because any sort of nail care and keeping one’s cuticles and fingernails clean is simply Mission Impossible.

Work gloves are a must

You’ll definitely need work gloves for camp set up and pack down. You’re going to be loading and unloading trucks and cars, carrying large items, building, moving things here and there. You need work gloves.

Label them well. Bring an extra pair. Bright bold-colored work gloves are a good choice because they’re easier to spot when you take them off and put them down somewhere, which, invariably, you will. Those beige-colored work gloves, oy. They’re so hard to find among all the dusty things.

Here’s a cute video from John “Halcyon” Styn about work gloves at Burning Man.

Taking care of your feet at Burning Man: Beware the dangers of playa foot

Band-aid blister patches

Bring these blister patches… just in case! You’ll probably be walking more than you’re used to. You might be walking in shoes that typically don’t get as much action as they’ll be getting on playa. You might be wearing different socks than you usually wear with a specific pair of shoes in your closet. And, well, you could get a blister.

As you can probably imagine, a blister on your foot could put a huge damper on your mobility (never on your burn, of course, but definitely on your mobility).

Gold Bond foot lotion

If you’re looking for a product recommendation, use Gold Bond foot lotion for your feet and hands. This product was recommended to me by someone who has gone to Burning Man over a dozen times and she swears by it. In the mix of products I’ve tried, I have also found this brand to be a good choice for my playa foot moisturizing needs.

Feel free to recommend some products you like in the comments section.


Be careful how (and where) you shave

I recommend bringing a razor and shaving cream for your post-playa personal care, if nothing else… I don’t know how successful people are at shaving on playa. Do what you need to do here. Be careful about shaving your bits. Sweat, playa dust and chafing from extensive bike riding can do a number on freshly shaved nether regions.

Be super careful about choices to shave or wax those areas and be extra kind to your pubis area… especially if you’re riding a bike around every day.

This gal has great tips for newbies (and others) attending Burning Man.

Foot photo by How-Soon Ngu on Unsplash

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