Chapped, Cracked Hands
Chapped, cracked hands can cause pain and irritation, especially when they don't seem to heal. Many things can irritate your skin and cause chapped hands, but only a few different remedies help treat and protect your skin. If your chapped hands aren't responding to at-home treatments, talk to your physician about other possible treatment options.
Chapped hands may appear red, irritated, and your skin may feel tighter after bathing. You may also notice chafing where skin is flaking off. The cracks may begin as tiny cracks, but when left untreated, they can develop into deep fissures that bleed.
Typically, dry or chapped hands only last for a short period, such as during winter months, but sometimes it can be a lifelong problem, according to MayoClinic.com. If you have sensitive skin, you may suffer from dry, chapped hands all the time. Winter can draw the moisture out of your skin when the air becomes cold and swimming in the summer can cause your skin to dry out.
Certain items or products may dry out your hands, causing them to become so chapped that they begin to crack. Harsh soaps and cleansers, such as bleach, may dry out your skin. Hot water can cause dry skin, as it strips natural skin oils away. Medical conditions, such as psoriasis, hypothyroidism and contact dermatitis, can also cause dry, chapped hands.
If your hands are chapped due to weather or low humidity, use plenty of moisturizer and consider placing a humidifier in your bedroom or living room. Using a moisturizer will help restore hydration to your skin, and the humidifier will help restore moisture to the air around you. If you spend long periods outdoors, wearing gloves can protect your hands from wind and dry air. Shorten the amount of time you spend bathing as prolonged water exposure can cause dry skin. If a medical condition is causing dry, chapped hands, your health care provider may prescribe a topical solution to help heal the skin as well as treat the underlying condition.
Allowing your skin to become so dry that it cracks can increase your risk for infection. Bacteria, dirt, germs and viruses can enter your body through cracks and tears in your skin. Signs of infection include oozing fluid, such as pus, and crusting. If you believe you may have an infection, contact your health care provider right away.
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