The best way to soothe irritated, dry hands is to moisturize… and moisturize often throughout the day, especially after washing. Keep a pump lotion near all sinks for on-the-spot treatment. Stash a pocket-sized hand cream in your bag for on-the-go days. Oil-based creams are more emollient, giving richer hydration and longer-lasting results. Look for ingredients that create a moisture-sealing barrier like Lanolin, Glycerin, Dimethicone and Hyaluronic Acid.
We often remember to stay hydrated in the summer months, but it’s equally important during the winter, when biting winds and drying indoor heat can really take a toll on skin. Drinking water can hydrate every cell in your body and give your skin that dewy suppleness you crave. Shoot for eight 8 oz. cups throughout the day. Water-rich fruits and vegetables are not only hydrating, but also contain vitamins and antioxidants to help repair cells. Melons, berries, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers are just a few good choices. Also, watch your alcohol and caffeine intake, which can be dehydrating.
Throughout the course of the day, we might wash our hands dozens of times. All this sudsing can leave your hands drier than the Sahara. Washing is important, but there is a kinder way. Opt for lukewarm water, not hot. Avoid harsh soaps with antibacterial or deodorant properties which can strip skin of vital moisture. Refrain from using liquid hand sanitizer, which contains up to 60% skin-drying alcohol.
Speaking of gloves, you really should wear them whenever the temperature dips. And there are so many chic styles in leather, wool or cashmere, detailed with bows or fur, or even fingerless varieties that are protective yet practical. Make the most of the long overnight hours by slathering hands with skin-softening cream (or even Olive Oil) and topping with a pair of cotton therapy gloves. Your hands will feel baby-soft and kissable by morning. Supercharge the nighttime results by sleeping with a hydrating humidifier.
Treat your hands to an at-home spa day with these simple tricks. Start by soaking hands in warm water for only 5 minutes to soften calluses. Exfoliate with a good scrub. After exfoliating, rinse and pat dry. Finish with your favorite hand cream. Add some essential oil for a blissfully soothing experience. Rosewood Oil kickstarts cell turnover. Jasmine Oil restores youthful elasticity.
Sometimes, even with extra TLC, hands can become cracked, a condition that is particularly painful on your heavily-used fingers. One way to stop a crack from spreading is to try an OTC medical adhesive. A professional paraffin treatment can really restore chronically dry hands. An even easier solution is heat therapy moisturizing mitts. They quickly deliver deeply hydrating, skin-repairing results, without all the mess and aggravation of hot wax… or the pricey salon visit.
If after all of these treatments, you’re still struggling with raw, irritated hands, it may be time to consult a doctor to rule out more serious concerns.