I Have Really Dry Hands
Dry skin, or xerosis, can cause significant discomfort, and when it affects the hands, dry skin also can cause noticeable flaking, peeling and cracking that makes hands appear older and less attractive. Understanding the causes and habits associated with really dry hands allows you to make changes that will improve the condition.
Many cases of dry hands are caused or aggravated by environmental factors. According to MayoClinic.com, excessively hot or cold weather, central heating and air conditioning, and harsh detergents and soaps are common causes of dry skin. Other potential triggers include hot baths and showers, dehydration and frequent hand-washing.
In some cases, underlying health conditions might be to blame for dry hands. Disorders that can cause xerosis include hypothyroidism, psoriasis and eczema.
Signs and Symptoms
Dry hands usually are accompanied by symptoms like redness, cracked skin and irritation. Itching, flaking and peeling also are common. In the case of eczema and other skin disorders, a scaly rash can be present on the hands or elsewhere on the body. Other potential symptoms associated with dry hands include skin roughness, discoloration and cuts or fissures in the skin.
Left untreated, dry skin can lead to more serious problems. Cellulitis and atopic dermatitis as possible complications of longstanding dry skin. These conditions usually result from severely compromised protective mechanisms in the skin, such as cracked or bleeding hands and open sores. In some cases, conditions like cellulitis can lead to infection, permanent scarring or other serious health issues.
Dry hands don't have to compromise the health and beauty of your skin. According to Medline Plus, changing your bathing habits and increasing skin moisture can help prevent or treat dry skin.
Avoiding the use of hot water, using less soap and taking shorter, less frequent baths can reduce dryness, while applying thick moisturizers daily helps replenish lost moisture. A humidifier can be particularly helpful during winter when indoor air is dry from the use of central heating. Increasing your daily water intake, patting skin dry after washing and using mild cleansers instead of harsh soaps also can help.
In rare cases, dry skin signals a more serious underlying condition. If skin dryness is severe or persistent, talk to a doctor or dermatologist about your treatment options.
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