Home Remedies for Dry Cracked Hands
Your hands can become dry and chapped from using abrasive soaps, overexposure to water and cold, dry or windy weather. In severe cases, cracks may develop that could attract infection and inflammation, according to Harvard Health Publications. Dry hands can usually be treated with home remedies such as increasing humidity levels, avoiding hot water as well as applying oils and moisturizers.
Always wash your hands in warm water since hot water removes natural skin oils more quickly, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Limit your bath or shower time to 10 minutes. The prolonged soaking of your hands can make your skin even less hydrated.
Use Non-Soap Cleansers
Dry, cracked hands should be washed with non-soap cleansers, according to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Pure soaps that don't contain moisturizers, deodorant bars and cleansers that contain alcohol can strip much-needed natural oils from your hands.
Apply a moisturizing cream, lotion or ointment after you wash your hands while the skin is still moist, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. Moisturizers help dry, cracked hands because they provide a tad of water to the skin and contain a greasy substance that acts as a protective seal over your skin to lock in water, according to Harvard Health Publications.
UIHC says Vaseline Petroleum Jelly & Crisco vegetable shortening can both be effective ointment moisturizers. Moisturizers should be reapplied liberally during the day and evening when possible especially to those areas prone to dryness (hands, arms, legs) and when itchy.
If your skin is extremely dry, apply oil to your hands. Oil tends to last longer than moisturizers and keeps water from evaporating from the surface of your skin, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic. Oils that may help soften and smooth dry, cracked hands include baby oil, mineral oil and vegetable oil.
Wear Protective Gloves
Protect your dry, cracked hands from further chafing by wearing protective gloves when you do the dishes or perform household chores that require the use of cleaning products. Ammonia, bathroom cleaners and bleach can be drying to the hands, according to MotherNature.com. Rubber gloves with cotton liners may help keep your hands from sweating, which could further dry out your skin.
Keep Your Environment Moist
Hot, dry indoor air can be drying to your hands and may intensify itching and flaking, according to the Mayo Clinic. A humidifier can help restore moisture to the air in your environment. If you use a portable humidifier, keep it turned on while you sleep.
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