So I just got my first job in a fine dining joint and I'm cooking on a fireplace. four foot flames, at face level, that probably get 400 plus degrees (judging their temp by the fact that the outer portion of my right arm no longer has any hair on it, due to the fact that its my 'reaching' arm). Anyway, every time I come home, my hands are black. I look like a damn chimney sweep. And its not just soot or ash, its looks and smells like some food remnants that have been cooked on to me. I try to use a clean hand towel during service, and I wash my hands as much as possible (although there is no sink on my station), but still my hands are terrible. I thought about wearing gloves, but I think the extreme heat would melt them. When I come home, I scrub for fifteen+ minutes with soap, water, nail brush etc but there are still stubborn parts that won't come out (along my nail line, in my fingerprint grooves) no matter how long I spend. I thought about using rubbing alcohol, but won't that just dry and weaken my skin, making me further susceptible to the various burns and blisters I have collected from this fireplace? Any suggestions?
Keeping my hands clean
They make mechanic's soap (Lava) that should do the trick.
You could also try using a paste of oil or vasoline, and sugar or salt. The oils will soften the soot deposits if you let it sit in for a few, and the salt is an abrasive that's gentler on skin then the pumice used in mechanic's soap.
Get some good lotion. You'll need it.
Before you start your shift apply a decent amount of a "silicone barrier cream" it will help in preventing the soot from working it's way in.
Wash often and reapply after each wash. It's food safe and doesn't make your hands slippery once worked in.