Do you have rough, cracked, dry hands? Think you can’t do anything about it? Think again!
Even if you’re working construction every day, or have your hands constantly in water, you can take steps to help protect and soothe your hands, so that you can feel equally comfortable at work or headed out to a nice restaurant for dinner.
What Causes Hands to Crack and Bleed?
We all know that our hands suffer when we expose them to bad weather, lots of water, dirt, chemicals, and the sun, but why is this, exactly?
Up against the elements
The most common cause of dry, cracked skin is a compromised outer layer. Skin is made to hold onto moisture and to naturally rejuvenate itself, but exposure to the sun, cold air, wind, dirt, chemicals, and more, can gradually damage this layer, so that skin can no longer hold onto moisture.
Damaged skin is also more vulnerable to environmental pollutants and UV radiation, which can accelerate dryness and aging.
The following factors can all contribute to a damaged, compromised outer layer in skin:
Dry air: Air such as that which occurs in dry climates and during the cold, winter months, saps moisture out of the skin.
Water: People who consistently have to wash their hands or immerse their hands in water experience a loss of moisture, as the water steals the skin’s natural moisturizing oils away.
Chemicals: People who work with chemicals on a daily basis, or who regularly use chemical-based household cleaners, often have severely chapped hands. These chemicals rob the skin of its own moisture, and damage the outer layer, leaving skin vulnerable to all kinds of problems.
Soap: Old-fashioned soap bars are drying to the skin. Many of today’s commercial cleansers and hand soaps also disrupt skin’s normal integrity, which slows the natural process of skin repair and creates dryness and cracking.
Other factors, such as medical skin conditions, allergens, and certain medications, can also contribute to dry, cracking skin.
10 Ways to Rejuvenate Overworked Skin
If your hands are suffering, try these tips to make them more comfortable.
1. Avoid soap if you can
Avoid formulas with synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and sulfates, as these are all drying. Foaming and antibacterial types are also likely to strip your skin of its own natural fats and oils. Choose moisturizing cleansers instead, and be sure you rinse thoroughly.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
3. Avoid hot-air dryers
There are becoming more and more popular because they save money and the environment, but they can easily dry-out your hands. Pat-dry with some toilet paper or simply shake dry, then put on your lotion!
4. Wear gloves
You may already do this, but sometimes we forget. The best treatment is always prevention, so whether you’re out on the job, gardening, or simply washing the dishes, gloves will help protect your hands from damage. Avoid vinyl ones, however, as they can make skin even more dry. Use cotton and leather.
We have learned to exfoliate our faces, but we often neglect our hands. Yet the skin on the hands—especially on the back of them—is thin, fragile, and even more susceptible to damage than some areas of the face. If you’re severely dry and calloused, try a pumice stone after bathing. You can also put about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar in your hands, add in some olive oil, and rub both the front and back of your hands to loosen up that dry, dull skin. Use 1-4 times a week, depending on your skin’s needs, and always apply a moisturizing lotion immediately afterwards.
6. Wear gloves to bed
Damaged hands need serious moisturizing, so it’s time to deep-treat overnight. Apply a super thick moisturizer like our Coconut Honey Mask, some jojoba oil, or vitamin E, then go soak in the bath or the sauna, or better yet, put on some cotton gloves or wool socks and go to bed.
You can also try placing Ziploc bags around your hands with rubber bands around your wrists to lock in the moisture. Rinse off in the morning.
7. Use a humidifier
Particularly in the winter and in dry climates, a humidifier can be a lifesaver when it comes to your skin. The most important place to have one is in your bedroom, so you can take advantage of it while you sleep.
8. Invest in some pure aloe
This natural substance is a miracle worker when it comes to providing moisture.
9. Bathe in oats
Cooked or raw oats are great for chapped hands. Add it to your bathwater, or mix it up with some warm olive or jojoba oil in a basin and soak your hands in it for 10-15 minutes.
10. Pure coconut oil
This stuff is magic for skin because of its unique combination of fatty acids. Apply it directly onto skin and wear gloves for the best results.