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How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on the Hands

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on the Hands

Overview

Dry, scaly hands can be itchy and unsightly. Skin commonly dries out in winter when the air is cold and dry, but your hands can lose moisture year-round due to skin care habits, aging skin or even genetic factors. Home care is often all that is needed to get your hands looking and feeling good again.

Step 1

Change your hand washing routine. Hand washing is important to prevent the spread of germs, but water washes away the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated. Wash your hands as needed to maintain good hygiene, but avoid excessive hand washing. Harsh soaps and hot water can also dry skin. Wash your hands with a gentle soap and make sure the water is not too hot, recommends the National Institutes of Health.

Step 2

Minimize activities that expose your hands to water. Keep your baths and showers short, about 5 or 10 minutes, recommends the Cleveland Clinic. If you are a professional cleaner, wash dishes by hand or perform other tasks that require placing your hands in water often, wear gloves to protect your skin.

Step 3

Apply a moisturizer to your hands as needed. Thick ointments work well, and applying them after you wash your hands will help lock in moisture. Rub petroleum jelly on your hands at bedtime and wear gloves with cotton lining to moisturize your hands overnight, recommends the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Step 4

Wear gloves when you are outdoors in extremely cold or windy conditions, and avoid excessive sun exposure that may dry your skin.

Step 5

Use a humidifier in your home if your skin dries out in winter. Dry weather and indoor heating can rob your skin of moisture, and this can cause or worsen dry hands.

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