How to Heal and Prevent Dry, Cracked Hands
People use their hands for all of life’s tasks. So, it’s no wonder that everyone experiences dryness and cracking at one point or another — whether due to a dry winter climate, cleaning products, harsh hand soaps, medical conditions, or other related factors. While dry and cracked hands aren’t usually a major health concern, they sure are uncomfortable. Chapped hands can be itchy and may even crack and bleed, leading to fissures that burn upon contact.
If you suffer from cracked hands and dry knuckles, this article will provide pointers for making your daily life a little less painful. We’ll cover the causes of dry knuckles and hands, how to treat them, and what you can do to prevent the onset in the future.
- Causes of Dry Hands
- How to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands
- When to See a Dermatologist About Dry Hands
- How To Prevent Dry Hands
- Put an End to Your Suffering With Help From DefenAge
Causes of Dry Hands
While the most common cause of dry hands is a lack of moisture — especially if you live in a cold or dry climate — there are endless potential reasons for this condition. Here are some of the other factors that could be contributing to cracking and dryness:
- Aging: The aging process is a major contributor to dry skin. As we age, our skin thins out and stops producing as much oil, leading to dryness. Most people have dry skin after age 60.
- Weather: Cold and hot weather often have an extreme drying effect on the skin.
- Work conditions: Certain jobs can predispose workers to dry hands. Nurses, for example, might get dry, irritated hands from constant hand washing. Hairdressers often get dry hands from the chemicals they use on the job.
- Medications: Some medications, including commonly used statins, can cause dry skin on the hands and elsewhere.
- Medical treatments: Those being treated for cancer and other diseases may experience dry hands as a side effect.
- Medical or skin conditions: Dry hands may simply result from a medical condition such as a thyroid disorder or eczema.
- Poor nutrition: If you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals through your diet, your skin will suffer.
- Smoking: Smokers tend to have less blood flow in their hands and fingers due to nicotine damage, which can have a drying effect on the skin.
- Hand sanitizers and soaps: Harsh soaps and alcohol-based hand sanitizers strip the skin of the oils needed for soft, moisturized skin.
- Genetics: Some people are more prone to dryness than others due to genetics; people with allergies, skin sensitivity, or eczema in the family are more likely to experience it.
How to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands
Relief may be more within your reach than you realize. With all the treatment options available today, you could start feeling better within a day or so by trying the following at-home remedies.
Before bedtime, soak your hands in warm milk before applying your favorite hand cream or ointment. Put on a pair of cotton gloves over the cream and wear them overnight. You’ll wake up to softer skin on your hands in the morning.
Over-the-counter medications like hydrocortisone cream can soothe chapped, irritated hands in minutes. You can often find lotions that have hydrocortisone cream in them so you can heal and moisturize your hands at the same time.
UV Light Therapy
If an inflammatory skin condition like eczema has triggered your dry skin, UV light therapy can suppress the cells causing inflammation and provide immediate relief.
In extreme cases, extra-strength hydrocortisone cream may be needed. These medicated creams are only available to those with a prescription from a doctor.
Wet dressing refers to wrapping your hands in warm, wet fabric or gauze with a dry cloth over the top and leaving it overnight. If you prefer a natural method of hydrating your hands, a wet dressing is a great option.
Use a Humidifier
A humidifier is a machine that infuses moisture into dry air. Consider putting a humidifier in the rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as your bedroom or office. These machines are readily available in local stores and online.
Make it a routine to use rich moisturizing and skin-nourishing creams or lotions morning and night. Consider carrying a hand cream along with hand sanitizer. That way, you can clean your hands without irritating your skin.
How to Choose the Right Moisturizer
Not all moisturizers are created equal. When it comes to hand cream, you need to seek out the best ingredients that have proven to promote skin healing, such as:
- Lipids (including ceramides)
- Humectants (i.e., glycerin and hyaluronic acid)
- Occlusives (mineral oil or petrolatum)
- Other recommended ingredients for dry skin, including jojoba oil, dimethicone, lactic acid, lanolin, and shea butter
- Aloe vera
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Wash Hands Properly
Healing your hands may simply be a matter of correcting how you wash your hands. Be gentle, and don’t scrub. Opt for gentle cleansers without fragrances or other irritants. Use a soft towel to dry your hands, and follow it up with a moisturizer or other soothing topical to lock it into the skin.
Bathe in Oats
Colloidal oatmeal baths are exceptionally comforting for those with dry skin. Just fill your tub with lukewarm water, sprinkle in a cup of colloidal oatmeal as it fills, and soak for at least 10 minutes. Apply moisturizer following your bath for optimal hydration.
Stop Taking Hot Showers
Hot showers and baths can dry the skin excessively. Whenever possible, bathe in cool water to the extent that you can tolerate.
The amount of water you intake daily is directly connected to the condition of your skin. The more water you drink, the better your chances of hydrated, healthy skin and hands.
Harness the Power of Defensins
DefenAge recently released a science-backed product designed to heal and rejuvenate skin on the hands and body. 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream is an all-in-one hand skin solution containing defensin molecules, which have been shown in studies to rival the rejuvenating effects of retinoids without irritation. Age-repair defensin molecules activate young and healthy cells, contributing to refreshed skin. The cream is perfect for hands, with its rich texture but no sticky, oily feel.
In as soon as a week or less, simply applying the 10 Luxe Hand & Body Cream to the hands morning and night:
- Visibly enhances firmness and cosmetic elasticity
- Improves surface skin texture
- Relieves feelings of dryness and itching
- Balances the skin’s barrier function
- Promotes the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid, laminin, and elastin
- Improves visible skin thickness
- Reverses signs of skin aging, premature aging, and sun damage
- Softens skin to the touch
When to See a Dermatologist About Dry Hands
Dry skin on your hands might signify a skin condition or broader medical problem. For example, dry, thick, and scaly hands might be eczema, a dermatological condition that requires more than moisturizer to get rid of. This condition can result in patches of red or dark brown irritated skin, itchiness, burning, deep and painful skin cracks, bleeding, crust, and pus, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. [Dry, scaly, and painful hands could be hand eczema (aad.org)]
The first step toward relief is finding the root cause. Skin irritants (some as seemingly harmless as water) can cause hand eczema. The treatments dermatologists tend to use to heal hand eczema include moisturizers, barrier repair creams, or cortisone creams.
- Moisturize your hands daily
- Start bathing in cooler water
- Drink enough water for your body’s daily needs
- Wear sunscreen to prevent moisture loss and skin damage
- Avoid overwashing your hands or replace harsh soaps with mild cleansers
- Reduce stress, so your body doesn’t trigger dry skin
Put an End to Your Suffering With Help From DefenAge
Dry and cracked hands can get in the way of your life enjoyment. Stop suffering and start living again with help from DefenAge. Our proprietary science-backed formulas are designed to produce soft, supple, healthy skin you’ll feel great in. Browse our inventory and find what you need to revitalize your hands and knuckles.