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Dry Palms of the Hands

Dry Palms of the Hands Dry Palms of the Hands

Overview

Xerosis, the malady commonly known as dry skin, is a common complaint, especially in harsh temperatures and arid climates. Wind and sun exposure can dry out your skin, making it uncomfortably itchy and rough to the touch. The palms of the hands may become particularly dry, which can be quite painful given the hands' usual degree of movement and contact with various surfaces and substances.

Causes

Physical causes of dry hands include heredity and hormonal shifts such as those common to aging. Environmental factors may also contribute to dry skin on your palms. If you regularly clean without wearing rubber or latex gloves, hot water and harsh cleansers can dry out your hands and cause your skin to wrinkle. The palms of your hands may become drier in the summer or winter, especially if you spend a lot of time outside without gloves or sunscreen.

Symptoms

According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, dry skin is most frequently found on the arms and legs. Dry skin symptoms may be caused by dermatitis or eczema, an illness in which the skin turns dark red or brown, is extremely itchy and may crack and bleed from lack of moisture. MayoClinic.com states that eczema most often arises in childhood, but has been known to continue into or first arise in adulthood. Other symptoms of dry hands include flaking, peeling and a scaly appearance.

Treatment

Using hand repair cream or a thick moisturizing lotion may be all it takes to heal your dry hands. An old home remedy is to spread petroleum jelly on your hands and cover them with cotton gloves overnight. Lotions containing olive oil, aloe or lanolin may be especially soothing. Shower and wash your hands with a moisturizing body wash formulated with cocoa or shea butter instead of regular soap. For severe cases, a dermatologist can prescribe corticosteroids or antibiotics.

Prevention/Solution

Taking brief, tepid showers instead of soaking in a hot bath can keep your hands from drying out. You can wear gloves when you clean or go outside in harsh weather, making sure to slather on hand cream first. Drinking at least 64 oz. of water each day helps keep your skin hydrated from the inside out and may help prevent wrinkled hands.

Considerations

Appropriate treatment for skin conditions depends on correct diagnosis by a trained physician. If preventative measures such as lifestyle changes don't work, evaluate your chronic symptoms for clues to your possible condition. A dermatologist can diagnose the illness causing your hands to itch, crack and bleed. If you suffer frequent colds or infections, your dry skin could be one of a constellation of symptoms of an autoimmune disorder. Visit a dermatologist if home remedies have failed, especially if you have other symptoms of illness.

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