Dry hands are more of a cosmetic issue than an actual heath concern, at least in the majority of cases. Still, this does not mean that they should be ignored, especially because they look and feel rough, parched and generally unpleasant.
For some people, hands become dry every now and then due to a number of reasons, such as harsh weather or contact with chemicals. Others seem to suffer from it more often. However, in most cases dry hands can be relieved quite easily, especially if the problem is approached with patience and perseverance.
Symptoms and causes of dry hands
Logically, the main symptom of dry hands is dryness. The skin of the hands, both on the palms and on top of the hands, is dull, dry, often cracked and wrinkly. There may even be some flakes of dead skin. The skin between the fingers may also become dry, and the cuticles and the skin around the nails becomes very rough.
In case of severe dryness, the skin may crack and bleed. Cracks may become infected, which requires a more serious approach and medical treatment.
Harsh weather, especially cold, windy and dry air during fall and winter is the main reason for occasional dry hands in most people. However, some people experience this all year round, mostly because of the lack of moisture. The lack of moisture can be associated with generally inadequate water intake or with improper production of sebum in the skin.
Harsh chemicals in cosmetic products and household cleaning products also strip away the moisture from the skin, causing dry hands. The same goes for any kind of rough work that includes hands.
How to treat dry hands
As it is explained above, dry hands are not a health issue and they are more of a cosmetic concern. In order to make the hands soft and silky again, it is recommended to follow a few tips.
Firstly, the skin of the hands must be protected from the factors that contribute to drying. This means wearing gloves or mittens when spending time outdoors in the winter and wearing latex or other protective gloves when handing chemicals. Products used for hands, such as soap, lotion and others, should be mild and pH neutral.
It is important to make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Inadequate water intake is one of the main causes of dry skin on all parts of the body.
Hands must be properly moisturized after prolonged contact with chemicals, water, dirt, dust, after exposure to wind, direct sun or dry indoor air. It is recommended to use a moisturizer or a special hand lotion whenever the skin of the hands starts feeling tight and dry and after each washing of the hands. Petroleum jelly and Vaseline are great for dry skin. For best results, these products should be applied generously before bedtime and the hands should be covered with cotton gloves during the night, so the moisture can stay locked in.