How to Heal Cracked Hands Naturally
Dry hands are hard to hide. They can be caused by dry air, dehydration, exposure to the cold, sunburn, eczema or allergies. Diabetes, psoriasis and other auto-immune diseases are less common causes. Improvement may take as little as a few days if they are not inflamed or infected. It's appropriate to try inexpensive home treatments for your dry skin first, but if a home-based regimen is resulting in progress after a week consult with a dermatologist. At that point it would be advisable to have a full assessment of your skin and to consider prescriptions for topical or oral medications.
Assess whether it is safe to self treat your dry skin. If there are open bleeding areas or signs of infection seek medical care promptly. If the skin is peeling off or blistered the problem is not likely to respond to home treatment alone. Painful fingertips or conversely the loss of sensation are common symptoms of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Treating dry skin in that case is fine as long as there are no open wounds but it is important to have a hemoglobin A1C, the blood test for diabetes.
To begin home treatment, exfoliate the skin, very gently, with a paste of sugar and warm water. Cover the hands with the paste and wait for a few minutes. Then rub the mixture into the skin and rinse well.
Soak your hands next. Use 2 cups of oatmeal and about 2 quarts of warm water. Soak for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry very gently. Oatmeal can be used as a cleansing agent, moisturizer, and as an anti-inflammatory agent, according to an analysis in the February 2007 issue of the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology."
Moisturize your hands. Petroleum jelly works well for this purpose as long as there is no cracked skin. Those sites will need an over the counter antibiotic, such as Neosporin. The amount of petroleum you use depends on the time of day. If you are going to be able to wear gloves as you sleep all night, slather it on generously. After rubbing it in to the skin wear cotton gloves topped by latex or vinyl gloves and wear these through the night. But if you are on your way out the door in the morning, rub about a teaspoon all over the hands. Take a few minutes to do this and then wear cotton gloves as long as you are able to do so.
Drink more water than you normally do to hydrate your skin from the inside during this time of healing and add foods that are known to decrease inflammation to your diet. According to researchers in Holland, in a report published in the Feb. 24, 2010, issue of the "Journal of Clinical Nutrition," green tea, foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, avocado and olive oil, along with fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that can lead to healing.
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