Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bag Balm Soothes Dry and Cracked Hands

Even though I've known for many years that Bag Balm is the best way to soothe sore, dry, and cracked hands I had allowed myself to run out. In December, when I spent some cold days up at The Shack, my hands turned from dry and cracked to bleeding and painful. I drove down to the local pharmacy and bought a tub of Bag Balm. I felt immediate relief as soon as I applied it. 

Bag Balm - the Legend

I spent a portion of my childhood on the farm. Bag Balm was an ordinary part of farming and barn life.  My parents kept a tin of the stuff in the barn for the animals. It was then I learned to use it on my hands. But I had no idea the origins of this soothing balm. I just knew we always used it.

Please note - as far as I know, Bag Balm is not currently approved for use on humans by the FDA. Please be very clear about this and do  your own research as I am not a medical or dermatology expert. However, I do believe that because it is safe for use on cow udders, it is safe for my use. Besides, there are no warnings that the farmers should use gloves while applying this balm to the cow udders.

In preparation for this article, I did a bit of research about the origin of Bag Balm and how it came to be used on our farm.  The Legend of Vermont's Original Bag Balm is a fun and quick read. The very summarized version is that in 1899, in the "Northeast Kingdom" a pharmacist had created a soothing potion for cow udders. A farmer, John Norris, tried some on his cows and was an immediate fan. He bought the formula and the rights, and began marketing this healing balm.

Bag Balm Uses

I used the balm on my hands and feet. I've used it to soothe my dog's sensitive skin and on the pads of his feet. As a child, we used it on skin abrasions on the livestock. 

I buy a larger tin and store it either near my bed or take it along to The Shack in my supply tote. At night, I just spread some on my hands and go to sleep. In my opinion, it has a slightly creamier consistency than "Vaseline".  During those painful days at The Shack, I applied some to the cracked areas around my fingernails each time I was indoors for a bit. The balm soothed the pain and softened the skin.

My tin of Bag Balm
Uses reported by others include:

  • the care of the pads of the search and rescue dogs after 911
  • cow udders
  • livestock skin and wound care
  • tattoo care
  • athletes use it to prevent chafing

For more information, customers describe other uses in their reviews on Amazon and in the "tried and true uses" tab of the Bag Balm site. You will find a variety of packaging to choose from; tins,  a pail, and a travel tube size. I prefer the 8 oz tin size

Bag Balm - 8 oz Tin

Related Link:

While at The Shack, only my hands suffered during that cold December visit. My hands were already dry and cracked from frequent hand-washing at work and then I did one too many outdoor activities during my camping visit. Fortunately, I had sufficient firewood, sleeping bags, insulated coveralls, and a new Free Country jacket that kept me warm otherwise. 

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.


  1. Dry and cracked hands are a real problem for both my husband and myself. We really needed a good recommendation and review for a product that works. Thank you!

  2. I remember my dad using something similar to this on my hands when I burned them as a young child. I think farmers are pretty savvy about balms that work well for humans and animals.

  3. I need to share this information with my husband. I'm sure we've heard of using Bag Balm on dry skin, but not sure why we've never tried it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I've never heard of Bag Balm, but after reading your article and the story behind the product, I definitely want to try it. Thanks, Dawn Rae.

  5. We use it too. My husband's family had horses and they used it so we tried it.

  6. I love Bag Balm too, the best thing for my dry feet and my hands especially the cuticle area. Great Review and endorsement for a product that really works.