WARNING: This post includes discussion of my bloody knuckles.
The cold and incredibly dry air here does funny things to your skin. For the first month, I didn't have any real trouble with it. Over the past two weeks, however, my hands have started to degrade. It began with some slightly rough skin on the knuckles. The roughness spread along my fingers, and over the backs of my hands. My hand have now taken on a funny sort of parchment feel, and their skin doesn't seem to work very well any more.
By that, I mean it's not very tough, resilient, or even flexible. Whenever I bump something - be it climbing around in the telescope or just reaching into a drawer - the skin tears and splits. My left index finger somehow has 6 distinct cuts on the first knuckle, and my hands are generally turning into a bloody mess. It seems that the nerves don't seem to work very well in these conditions either, because although my knuckles have all been cut, scraped or torn, they never seem to hurt.
I've been avoiding skin cream so far because of the oily residue it leaves, but I think it's time to give in.