Helen Gurley Brown’s Contribution to EMS

Helen Gurley Brown was the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan. She passed away this last year.

One of the things she is known for is her love of Crisco as a skin cream. It was the one thing she always carried with her while traveling. She first started using Crisco after surgery. Her surgeon at the time recommended it to soften skin and reduce scaring.

“Nor does she explain why, at 75, she sprang for a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy, saying only, “Whew! I get to keep most of my breast.” Keep it, please God, for what? We never find out because she would rather explain that Crisco shortening, which she used as an emollient after surgery, also helps nails grow strong. Now she carries a tub of it everywhere she goes, prompting David to observe that it’s like “being married to an apple pie.” from http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/17/helen-dear/print

20 years ago was the first time I heard of using Crisco as skin lotion. One of the ER nurses used it after washing her hands. She explained that it kept hands soft and prevented broken skin and split cuticles.

Thinking about it I realized she was right; skin is the last defense to infection but only if it’s unbroken. Paramedics are not famous for skin care. We wash often and rarely condition our skin. Most don’t get frequent manicures, not even the women.

The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is by protecting against our weakest link, broken dry skin. Especially if you get split raw cuticles then try Crisco. You will be astonished how quickly it can heal them. It is very inexpensive skin care.

I have used Crisco on my hands for many years now. After getting out of the shower I put a little daub on my hands and rub it into my fingers. No big deal.  Invest 15 seconds and 2 cents to keep your skin intact where it touches things. There is no lingering smell or oily feeling.

Using gloves correctly is of course important. You just shouldn’t depend on it as being your only barrier. Take care of your final barrier by taking care of your skin a little better. In this, Helen Gurley Brown may have made an important contribution to EMS.

I am just not advising anyone to take this stuff internally. I keep it in the bathroom and use olive oil in the kitchen.




About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for EMS1.com, on AmbulanceWorld.com and Multibriefs.com. I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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