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Dry Skin on Hands

There are several possible causes for dry skin on hands. Read this story to know about the causes and remedies for dry peeling hands.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Dryness of hands is a bothersome condition. You find it difficult to work with dry hands, as its roughness can be felt every time you touch any surface with your hands. Sometimes, cracks may develop, which may become tender and itchy, and exacerbate your problem.
The skin of the hands tends to dry up very easily as compared to any other part of the body. The oil glands present under the skin surface produce oils that keep the skin moisturized. This oily substance usually gets absorbed into all the surfaces that you touch, and this constant removal of oil causes the skin to dry out.

Probable Causes

Environmental factors play a major role in the drying up of skin. Dry hands are a common problem in the low temperature and humid conditions of winter months. In this harsh condition, the skin loses its moisture very easily. Those people who live in dry climatic regions may face this problem of dry hands throughout the year.
Prolonged exposure to sun can also evaporate the moisture from the skin, and make it dry and damaged. Indoor heating or air conditioning can also lower the humidity level of the air. As a result, moisture from the skin surface escapes into the air, thereby drying out the skin.
Excessive hand washing can result in dessicated hands. Use of hot water for washing, the chemicals present in soaps, and hand sanitizers tend to strip off natural oils from the skin surface and make it dry. Extremely dry hands could also be a side effect of some medicines like aspirin, diuretics, sulfa drugs, etc.
If the cause of dryness is psoriasis then patches of red dry skin can be observed. This is an immune system disorder that promotes abnormal skin cell growth, and results in the accumulation of thick skin cells which are dry, itchy, scaly, and sometimes even painful.

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on Hands

There are some simple measures which when taken at home can help you to get rid of dry hands. A few of them are given below:

Avoid Harsh Soaps

Always use good quality moisturizing soaps for washing your hands. You have to make sure that laundry detergents or dish washing soap should not come in contact with your hands while washing clothes or dishes. Wear gloves for doing these chores in order to protect your hands.

Apply Hand Lotion

Every time you wash your hands, you must apply a generous amount of hand lotion thoroughly all over the hands, afterwards. A hand lotion without any perfume or dye is best suited for this purpose. Those with natural ingredients like avocado oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter are better options as these components have excellent healing effects on dry cracked hands.

Exfoliate the Skin

Exfoliation is important to get rid of the layers of dry dead skin cells from the hands. You can prepare an exfoliant at home with olive oil and table salt. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and rub this moisture gently on the hands using small circular motions.
Give special attention to problem areas where the dry skin is peeling. Then wash off with plain warm water and apply hand lotion. Do not exfoliate the skin if it is broken.

Use Paraffin Wax

When dry skin on hands cracks, treat them with warm paraffin wax. Apply a good amount of hand lotion all over the hands and then put them in warm paraffin wax. Allow the wax to dry properly and then remove it. You will find that your dry skin has turned soft and supple. For best results, it should be done three times in a day.

Apply Petroleum Jelly

An effective solution for severe dry skin on hands and feet, is petroleum jelly. Apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly on them before going to bed. Rub it well into the skin in the areas that lie in between the toes and fingers, the cuticles, and knuckles.
After application, wrap the hands and feet with plastic and then wear gloves and socks. Keep your hands and feet covered while sleeping. Next morning, you can notice a marked improvement in the skin condition.
Dry skin can be prevented by following a few simple steps. Avoid any skin care products that contains alcohol. Apply sunscreen on the hands before going out in the sun. Increase the humidity of the indoor air by using humidifier. Maintain a balanced and healthy diet to keep your skin naturally healthy.