How to Treat Dry Cracked Hands
Treating dry, cracked hands is a necessity for some people, especially those who experience dry, winter weather and low humidity climates. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dry skin often becomes worse in the winter or with frequent bathing, although other factors can also play a role. Although dry, cracked hands can be an irritating and uncomfortable problem, you can generally heal your hands with home remedies. In severe cases, it may be necessary to consult a dermatologist.
Wash your hands with warm, not hot, water and a non-drying, moisturizing hand soap. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, washing with hot water can cause rapid moisture loss. Your hands will lose less moisture if you avoid irritating or harsh soaps.
Apply a thick, moisturizing over-the-counter hand cream containing shea butter, almond oil or olive oil. According to the textbook "Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures," moisturizers containing these ingredients help to prevent water from escaping. This helps your hands to heal by keeping moisture locked in.
Scrub your hands gently with a loofah or a soft, natural bristle brush. According to author Norma Pasekoff Weinberg in her book, "Natural Hand Care: Herbal Treatments and Simple Techniques for Healthy Hands and Nails," brushing or scrubbing your hands lightly can help to remove dry, dead skin and help to stimulate circulation, which can help your hands heal.
Limit the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can lead to skin dehydration, deplete your skin of its natural oils and cause further damage.
Rub petroleum jelly into your hands before going to bed every night. Cover your hands with soft cotton gloves to prevent the jelly from staining your bed linens. According to author and dermatologist Rebecca B. Campen, this treatment can help to repair hands that are particularly dry, cracked or irritated.
Apply an antibiotic cream such as bacitracin ointment to the cracks on your hands, advises Campen. This can help alleviate painful cracks and the itching associated with dry, cracked hands.
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