Main content
Tips For Beating Winter Skin and Dry Hands


How To Address Skin Peeling On Your Hands

Why are my hands peeling? How do I fight back against winter skin? This Kiehl's guide answers your questions and includes tips on how to manage peeling skin.

No doubt about it: Winter isn’t always kind to the skin. Cold, windy weather can contribute to dry patches, irritation, and even peeling skin. When dryness occurs on your face, a great skincare routine (think: rich face creams, overnight masks, and facial oils) can usually prove immensely helpful. But less obvious is what to do when you experience skin peeling on the hands and fingertips—especially since your hands are nearly always exposed to the elements and, therefore, more vulnerable to dryness.

Normally, the skin’s outer layer, known as the epidermis, sheds every 40 to 56 days in adults. But when the shedding turns into noticeable peeling skin on your hands for no discernable reason, there might be an underlying issue. If you’re concerned that’s what’s at play, you should see a dermatologist. Often, however, it could be the winter weather that’s to blame. Luckily, that’s something you can fight back against (and not just by moving to the tropics, although that’s an option, too). Ahead, we break down the common causes of dry, peeling hands and offer advice on how to address this common cold-weather concern.

Why Are My Hands Peeling?: A Breakdown Of The Common Causes

If you’re dealing with peeling palms and fingers, you’re probably wondering what’s causing it—and, more specifically, what you can do about it. Here, we’ll answer both of those questions and provide tips on the best hand treatments for peeling skin.

1. Washing Your Hands and Using Hand Sanitizer

Loading up on soaps and sanitizers can kill those unwanted germs, but over-washing can strip the skin of moisture and good oils. In fact, some soaps are actually formulated to remove oil (great if your skin is oily, not so much if it’s already dry, flaky, or peeling).

Liquid Hand Soap

Fight Back:

Obviously, washing your hands isn’t something that you can just skip—you need to keep your hands clean. To counteract the effects of frequent cleansing, we suggest swapping your skin-stripping hand soap out for our Liquid Hand Soap. This gentle formula with coconut-derived cleansers, vitamin E, and botanical extracts helps remove dirt and oil without over-drying skin. This soap, which is available in coriander or grapefruit scents, is ideal for over-worked hands subjected to the grimiest of conditions.

When you’re on the go, avoid the harsh smell (and drying formulas) of mainstream hand sanitizers with our Clean Strength Alcohol Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer. This sanitizer is a breath of fresh air because it’s infused with fragrant eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. The rinse-free, non-sticky sanitizer reduces bacteria without drying out the skin for hands that feel clean and comfortable. Stash it in your bag during cold and flu season to help keep bacteria at bay.

2. Taking Hot Showers or Baths

We can’t deny that some of winter’s best pleasures include long soaks in a hot bubble bath or warming up in a steamy shower after a day spent in the snow. While the self-care aspect of these habits is undeniable, hot water can strip your skin, leading to dry skin on your hands (and elsewhere). Of course, we wouldn’t ask you to completely give up the bath or shower—relaxation is important—but experts do suggest you keep bath and shower time to 10 minutes or less, turn the dial to warm, and bathe no more than once a day.

Fight Back:

If the skin on your hands is peeling, exfoliation can help (so long as it’s gentle). Enter: Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish. Infused with shea butter, sweet almond oil, and jojoba butter, this decadent body scrub exfoliates without over-drying. Use it in the shower or simply massage it onto your hands at the sink and rinse (with lukewarm water, of course) for skin that feels supple and soft.

Follow the gentle exfoliation with Richly Hydrating Scented Hand Cream. This hydrating formula with shea butter and vitamin E boasts a rich, velvety texture and absorbs to leave skin feeling soft and nourished. While we definitely recommend applying it when your hands are peeling or flaking, it’s also a great anytime hand cream—stash one at home and one in the car to ensure your hand care needs are covered wherever you go.

3. Cold, Dry Weather and Indoor Heating

The cold, hard truth is winter’s chilly temperatures and plummeting humidity levels can dry out your skin. Unfortunately, so can central heating, space heaters, and wood-burning stoves. But since we’re not polar bears and therefore need some indoor heating, one of the best ways to deal with the season’s tendency to dry out your skin is to limit exposure to extreme temperatures whenever possible. Another way: lots and lots of moisture.

Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Fight back:

While gloves protect your hands outdoors, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve takes over when you’re inside. This heavy-duty hydrating hand salve boasts a thick, rich formula that provides all-day care for active and dry hands. The salve draws water from the air to form a “glove-like” protective barrier against moisture loss, helping to repair the appearance of severely dry hands. Apply a generous layer after washing your hands or as needed for soothed, deeply conditioned hands.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device