"locking" part of a mesh in sculpt mode

Hi everyone! I have a problem that I haven’t been able to find the answer to by searching, so any help is appreciated:

I’m trying to make some animations for a game, and I need to have multiple different characters all doing the same actions, BUT their hands need to be exactly the same. I have a generic mesh and I want to copy it to different layers and edit each with sculpt mode. I need to block off just the hand part so that it isn’t affected by the sculpt tools.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance. I’m using 2.53

Masking and mesh hiding features are in development but not yet finished.
Right now you can use the clipping border feature (Alt + B) to only show the geometry in the selected area. It’s not a good solution but hopefully it can work out.