Dry Calloused Hands
Although you might not like the way they look and feel, moderately dry, calloused hands aren't likely to cause you any health problems. When hands become severely dry or calluses become too thick, though, they can cause discomfort. More severe cases might need medical attention, but in milder cases, at-home care techniques can help you heal your dry skin and remove your calluses on your own.
When hands are excessively dry, the skin may feel rough and itchy and appear flaky or cracked. Skin can also be red and inflamed. Calluses are patches of hardened, dry skin and may have a gray or yellow tone. They typically appear at the base of the fingers or any other part of the hand that receives an unusual amount of pressure. Calluses usually don't cause pain unless they become too thick.
Dry skin occurs when something destroys the skin's protective layer of natural oils. Frequent hand-washing or contact with water, using harsh soaps or other chemicals, and inclement weather can all strip away natural oils on the hands. The skin then loses the moisture it needs to stay strong and supple, according to the website for the University of Wisconsin's health services clinic. Calluses form because of repeated pressure or friction, usually from a tool or piece of equipment you use frequently.
To help heal dry skin, switch to a mild soap designed for sensitive skin types. For severely dry or cracked hands, use only a non-soap cleanser such as Cetaphil, Aveeno or Neutrogena, recommend health care experts from the University of Wisconsin's health care clinic. Pat hands dry instead of rubbing and apply a thick moisturizer immediately after drying. To remove calluses, soak your hands in tepid water for 10 to 15 minutes, then use a pumice stone to gently rub away the calluses. Medicated callus-dissolving creams can also help. For thick, painful calluses, you might need a health-care professional to trim them.
To protect your hands' natural oils, minimize the amount of time your hands are in contact with water and chemicals such as household cleaners. When possible, wear rubber gloves for tasks such as doing the dishes. To prevent calluses, wear gloves to protect your hands from pressure and friction when you work with tools or use sports equipment.
Consult a health-care professional if your hands itch severely, are cracked or bleeding, have a rash, or home care doesn't improve the dryness. Painless calluses don't require treatment and can even be beneficial in protecting your hands from cuts and pressure. If thick calluses cause you discomfort, ask your health care provider about having them trimmed. To avoid injury, don't try to cut or trim them yourself.
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