Dry hands are a constant struggle, but there are solutions within reach. Perhaps just like you, we felt as though we’d tried everything, but finally realised that the secret isn’t just finding the best hand cream for our skin type; it’s the preventive steps and behavioural changes that ensure dry, cracked hands (including dry fingertips) don’t keep happening.
How to Fix Dry Hands
Always protect your hands from exposure to dish detergent, laundry detergent, and household cleansers that contain bleach or ammonia. Wear kitchen gloves when you’re using such products.
Apply moisturiser immediately after washing hands or using hand sanitiser. Though frequent handwashing and using hand sanitiser are effective ways of maintaining hygiene, they can strip skin of vital moisture. This can be countered by applying a fragrance-free cream for dry hands immediately after either action. If you have trouble remembering to do this, you can stash moisturiser by your sink as a reminder, or carry a travel size with you wherever you go.
Our trick to stop the cycle of rough hands: Switch from your liquid or bar hand soap to an emollient body wash such as Paula’s Choice All Over Hair & Body Shampoo that is so versatile that it doubles up as a shampoo and body wash. . Place these types of products strategically throughout your home and your hands will thank you.
Wear outdoor work gloves when you’re doing manual chores such as yard work and gardening; wear sport-type gloves when golfing or engaging in other athletic activities.
Another thing you can do is keep small tubes or bottles of moisturiser all over the house, including near the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, at your bedside, and in the garage. Keep more in your car, purse, briefcase, and desk drawer. Essentially, a hand moisturiser should always be within reach, and for daytime use, remember to follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater layered on top.
More Tips for Dealing With Dry Hands
What else can you do? We’ve been there with dry, cracked hands—through trial and error, and by consulting the scientific research, we’ve got more skincare advice to share on dry hands treatment:
An intense treatment for dry, cracked hands is excellent to use at night. Dab it on especially dry, rough areas, including cracked fingertips. Seal in the benefits (and keep your sheets clean) by putting on a pair of lightweight cotton gloves before getting into bed.
Consider an over-the-counter cortisone cream to reduce cracks that occur. Cortisone creams should be used only on a short-term basis (no more than 2–3 months), and should be applied before your hand cream.
If the cracks are deep and you’re worried about them becoming worse, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about applying a liquid bandage product to seal the area and help it heal faster.
Severely dry hands can benefit from overnight treatment with moisture-infused gloves. These unique gloves are lined with a synthetic material that slowly releases moisturising ingredients as they are worn. You can use them with or without a separate moisturiser.
Don't forget your cuticles. Massage a bit of extra moisturiser or balm into the cuticles to keep them from becoming rough and ragged. A body butter for extremely dry hands is great for keeping cuticles in top shape.
References for this information
Indian Journal of Dermatology, May-June 2014, pages 213–224
Dermatitis, July-August 2013, pages 170–175
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2012, pages 402–415
Contact Dermatitis, May 2012, pages 247–253
BMC Dermatology, February 2006, ePublication