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Reasons for Dry Hands

Reasons for Dry Hands Reasons for Dry Hands

Dry skin can be an itchy, unappealing problem, especially when it's affecting your hands, which you use throughout your daily routine for many things. Whether your hands are only slightly dry or severely dry and cracked, it can put a crimp in routine activities. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests moisturizing your hands after washing because they're still damp and thus will lock in moisture--especially if you wash them often. The use of petroleum jelly can help seal in moisture.

Psoriasis and Eczema

Psoriasis and eczema are two of the more severe causes of dry hands. There are many types of both, and each usually requires a physician's care. Types of psoriasis vary. Plaque causes red patches of skin with white scales, while pustular psoriasis occurs as skin containing white, pus filled blisters. Eczema also has many forms, from atopic dermatitis, which causes patches of red, flaky skin, to contact dermatitis--usually caused by an allergic reaction.

Temperature and Chemicals

Cold weather, dry heat from sources such as your furnace and low humidity can rob your hands' skin of moisture. Wearing gloves outside and using a humidifier inside may alleviate this symptom. Frequent sun exposure can "cook" the moisture right out of your skin; wearing sunscreen 365 days a year is suggested by the American Academy of Dermatology. Using cleaners with harsh chemicals can also cause irritation and dryness on your hands, but wearing rubber gloves will prevent contact with such chemicals.


Dehydration is another cause of dry skin. When you become dehydrated, the body pulls moisture from the skin to be used in more vital areas, such as your digestive system. Drinking alcohol can also dehydrate your skin, as can beverages that contain caffeine. Junk food is also known to dry out skin, so maintaining a healthy diet can help keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

Other Causes

Scented soaps and moisturizers also may be causing your dry hands. Excessive use of alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizer drys skin because alcohol is a drying agent. Plants and weeds and insect bites are also potential causes, so wearing gloves when working outside helps protect skin from allergic reactions.

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