Cream for Cracked Hands
Dry, cracked hands are not just an aesthetic issue; they can be itchy and uncomfortable. Washing your hands with harsh or drying soaps can contribute to --- or even cause --- the problem, especially if you are in a profession that demands extra careful hygiene, such as health care, teaching or cooking. Many products on the market can treat dry hands, and moisturizing hand cream is one of the most effective.
Dry skin starts with a tight feeling, especially after bathing or showering. If left untreated, dry skin can start to look dehydrated. Flaking and peeling may occur, leading to itchiness, redness and the appearance of fine cracks that may become deep, bleeding fissures. Cold weather exacerbates dry skin, as does swimming in salt water or chlorine and washing your hands with harsh soaps.
Hand lotions come in many varieties. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you look for a hand cream that contains lactic acid or urea, which work well on the driest skin. Glycerin and dimethicone are also found in many hand creams because they attract moisture to your skin. Thicker emollients like lanolin, mineral oil and petroleum jelly can coat your skin, trapping water underneath it for your skin to absorb.
A 2006 study published online at PubMed Central found that frequent hand washing dries the skin and can lead to irritant contact dermatitis, or dry, itchy skin, if left untreated. The study also found that applying a hand cream immediately after hand washing hydrated the dry skin and prevented further drying after continuous use of more than 12 days.
The best way to apply hand cream to treat or prevent dry cracked skin is to massage the hand cream into damp skin right after washing your hands. Dampen your hands before bed, apply hand cream and wear cotton gloves to sleep in for a more intensive treatment.
Dry, itchy skin is one of the symptoms of a thyroid disorder, warns MayoClinic.com. If you have dry, itchy or cracked skin that doesn't improve at all after several days of treatment, you should see your doctor or dermatologist to make sure it's not the sign of a more serious condition.
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