Dry hands are a common skin concern that affects nearly everybody at some point. And if you think about it, it makes total sense: Our hands are one of our main tools for interacting with the world around us. Naturally, this means the hands are subjected to a bit more wear and tear than other areas of the body, which can leave them vulnerable to stressors that cause dryness. Though dry hands are rarely cause for concern, there’s no denying that the itchy, tight feeling that accompanies dryness is uncomfortable.
While applying lotion or hand cream is the most obvious solution when you’re dealing with dry skin on your hands, there are a few other things you can do to help protect your hands and prevent irritation. Ahead, we’ll reveal some of the common causes of dry, cracked hands and provide our best tips and tricks to keep skin soft, smooth, and hydrated all year round.
Why Are My Hands So Dry?
Whether caused by environmental or genetic forces, dry hands result from a lack of moisture in the skin. Several factors can lead to moisture loss, such as your lifestyle, your skin type, and the weather. It’s pretty common for people to suffer from dry skin in the winter, for example, because cold, arid air can leech moisture from the skin. In severe cases, cold weather or wind can lead to extremely dry, cracked hands accompanied by redness and irritation.
Lifestyle also plays a significant role in the development of dry skin on the hands. People that handle chemicals or work with their hands may be more prone to dryness because of increased exposure to irritants. Similarly, frequent handwashing, especially with harsh soaps and hot water, can draw out moisture from the skin and lead to dryness.
Finally, there are several medical conditions that can cause dry skin, including psoriasis and eczema. Certain medications may exacerbate irritation as well.
Can You Prevent Dry Skin On Hands?
While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent dryness, limiting your exposure to irritants (such as hot water, cold air and wind, or chemicals) may help reduce the likelihood of developing severely dry hands. If your job or lifestyle requires you to be in frequent contact with drying stressors, consider wearing gloves whenever possible—it’s not foolproof, but it may help protect your hands from excessive dryness.
How Can I Treat Extremely Dry Hands?
While we can’t tell you how to get rid of dry hands for good, we can offer some helpful tips to protect your hands against dryness and discomfort. Ultimately, the best way to manage dryness is to minimize exposure to irritants and moisturize consistently. Keep reading to learn how to fix dry hands (or at least reduce dryness), plus tips to help protect your hands from drying stressors.
Choose Your Soap Wisely
Washing your hands is a cornerstone of good hygiene—but it can leave your hands dry, especially if you have to lather up often. Hot water and harsh soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it feeling dry, tight, or uncomfortable. To help counteract the potentially drying effect of frequent handwashing, turn down the temperature (lukewarm or cool water is best) and reach for a mild hand soap, such as our classic Liquid Hand Soap. This gentle cleanser helps remove dirt and grime without over-drying the skin. In fact, the formula, which contains vitamin E and aloe vera, helps recondition the skin while it cleans for hands that feel soothed and refreshed.
Moisturize Every Day
Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion
Using a moisturizer every day can help to keep your skin hydrated and feeling its best. To help keep dryness at bay, we suggest moisturizing your entire body—hands included—with a mild body lotion. Try the oatmeal-infused Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion for lightweight hydration. The aromatic formula absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and soothed. We recommend applying it to your hands and body while your skin is still damp to help trap in moisture.
For extra hydration (particularly if you wash your hands often or live in a colder climate), a thicker formula, such as Richly Hydrating Scented Hand Cream, may be ideal. This creamy hand lotion with shea butter and vitamin E smoothes on with a rich, velvety texture and sinks into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and moisturized. You can use it following a shower, after washing your hands, or anytime your hands feel dry or tight.
Using an exfoliating treatment to slough off dead skin can help ensure your hydrating hand lotions and creams can effectively penetrate the skin. For gentle exfoliation, try our Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish. Made with shea butter, sweet almond oil, and honey, this luxurious scrub effectively exfoliates without over-drying the skin. Simply apply a small amount to clean hands and massage it in, focusing on dry, cracked areas. After washing off (again, with lukewarm water), lock in moisture with the hydrating hand cream of your choice.
We recommend exfoliating at least once a week for the best results, but if your skin responds well, you can increase the frequency to a few times a week—just make sure to follow up with a dry hand treatment, such as a lotion or hand cream.
Try a Targeted Hand Cream
Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
When winter approaches and the temperatures start to dip, you’ll likely experience some degree of hand dryness. Using a hand cream for dry hands can help restore lost moisture and instantly smooth and soften scaly skin. As for which hand cream to use, we suggest our classic Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. The heavy-duty moisture treatment soothes and conditions severely dry hands while helping to protect against moisture loss. You can use the salve as your daily hand cream or take advantage of the thick, rich formula and use it as an effective overnight treatment for dry hands. Before hitting the sheets, massage a generous layer of the avocado oil-infused formula onto your hands, then slip on a pair of breathable cotton gloves. The gloves will help lock in moisture (and keep the treatment from rubbing off on your sheets) for super-soft, smooth, hydrated hands.
Repair, Protect, and Restore
Like most things in skincare, prevention and protection are easier to accomplish than repair and correction. But even if you take near-perfect care of your hands, you might still deal with extreme dryness every once in a while, especially in the winter. To address severe dryness—think cracking, peeling, itching, and scaling—reach for a heavy-duty hand treatment with hydrating ingredients, like Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer for Dry or Callused Areas. This soothing, ultra-thick cream is uniquely designed to moisturize and soften parched, callused, or damaged skin. Apply the hand cream for cracked skin to dry areas whenever your hands need serious TLC.