Dry, Flaking Hands
Dry, flaking hands can be a nuisance at best, but they can also be accompanied by more troublesome symptoms such as itching, burning and redness. Determining what's causing your condition is usually the only way that you can banish it for good. For most people, dry and peeling skin on their hands is related to an external trigger. However, in some cases this can be a symptom of a greater issue.
Several common causes are to blame for peeling skin. Exposure to cold, dry air in the winter can sap the moisture from your skin, particularly on exposed areas such as your hands. Chapped hands may also become sore and red, and even crack and bleed. Additionally, lack of air circulation can make the skin on your palms and fingers flake off. If you wear thick gloves for long periods of time, for example, you may have issues with the skin on your hands.
If you suspect your dry, flaking hands have been caused by the elements, authors Joe and Teresa Graedon of "The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies" suggest that you attempt to restore balance by replenishing the moisture in your palms. Rub the area with vitamin E oil several times a day to heal up the skin, then follow up the treatment with a hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion. If your hands are extremely dry, you might consider slathering your palms and fingers with lotion, then putting on white cotton gloves and letting the moisturizer soak in overnight.
Contact dermatitis triggered by external allergens can also dry out your hands. If deep moisturizing doesn't work, you may want to switch to hypoallergenic or all-natural versions of your hand soap, lotions, shampoos, detergents and cleaning supplies. The chemicals in these products can cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin. The peeling can also indicate that you've developed an allergy to a certain metal, fragrance or clothing material.
Your dry, flaking hands can also signal that you have a more serious condition that requires medical attention. Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, staph infections and toxic shock syndrome can all manifest themselves in the form of a rash or peeling skin on your palms. You should see a doctor immediately if you suspect one of these issues is the culprit, or if the peeling is accompanied by pain or redness.
Even if you nurse your skin back to health, you'll want to keep an eye on the area and visit the doctor if the condition appears to be returning. Also, if the dry, flaking skin is accompanied by a fever, weight loss, fatigue or joint and muscle pain, you should seek help regardless of the suspected cause.
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