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Nov 21, 2009 03:32 PM

Prepping Butternut Squash = Dry Skin?

I couldn't find a definitive answer about this online, so I hoped you all could help. I was cutting up some butternut squash for a potluck tonight, and i noticed that after I had put everything in the oven, my left hand felt really rigid. This is the hand that held the squash while I peeled it with a ridged vegetable peeler. I've read that peeling it this way and holding it with your bare hand can cause dry skin, but this is beyond dry. It cracks and peels away the top layer of my palm and fingers. I'm not sure, but it seems like a chemical peel? Maybe too much vitamin A? Is this similar to those alpha-hydroxy products that women use on their face and hands? If so... maybe I discovered a cheap face peel? lol

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  1. hmm, not sure, but my daughter has allergic skin reactions to the flesh of pumpkins and some fruit. Her skin gets itchy & red, some cracking & some hives. Maybe an allergy?

    1. That's ODD! There is something in plants in the squash family that makes cut pieces particularly stick together. And I'm sure that's the same stuff that makes your skin feel vaguely shrink wrapped after you've handled a lot of peeled winter squash.

      I thought that's what your post would be about. But it sounds much more extreme than that! Like you have an allergy to it or something.

      Did using lotion after you discovered this give you any relief?

      1. The effect has been noted before
        (a thread with posts dating from 2004 to this month).

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Heh, one year later... thanks for the link. I'll try baking the entire squash first next time.

        2. This happens to me too. Wikipedia has a little bit about it, calling it a type of contact dermatitis. (


          After a particularly bad reaction, I now use gloves when peeling and chopping butternut squash.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chrischris

            I hate having gloves on my hand. Another alternative is to split the squash in half lengthwise. Then it will sit stable-ly (is that a word?) on a cutting board so you can draw the peeler along it and chop it into uniform chunks with a minimum of handling.

            A stainless ice cream scoop with the sweeper blade is a great way to get the seeds out. The steel edge is strong enough to get down to the flesh and the sweeper blade ejects the seeds into your compost pail without handling.

            1. re: chrischris

              I can't manage wearing gloves and peeling all at the same time, but, since I get this reaction too, I find that it helps if I coat the inside of my hand with olive oil before handling the squash.

            2. Happens to me too with pumpkins as well.