10 Solutions for Rough, Dry, Overworked Hands—Male or Female!

dry hands

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.

avoid these

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.


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.


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.


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.

Body Care & Moisturizers

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

After each and every wash, moisturize your hands. Carry moisturizer with you. Try our Coconut Body Oil or our Radiant Skin Silk—both absorb easily and soothe the skin.

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.

5. Exfoliate

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.

Do you have other solutions for dry, chapped hands? Please share them with us.


comments (74 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. JOEL says

    my hands are realy so hard and dry mainly during day time but when i wake up i find that they are ok. can also cooking oil or the local jerries be used for the same purpose?

  2. JoAnne says

    Where and what kind of gloves do you use for washing dishes and are they hard to find? I only see vinyl ones. I wash my hands a lot because I have pets.

  3. Sandra says

    When you talk about moisturizing hands and putting on gloves, would latex or latex free rubber gloves be advisable? When you say “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” do you mean in addition to the cotton (over it) it instead of? Thank you for all the great info!

    • Michon Newman says

      Hi Sandra! Rubber gloves would probably not be the best option because they do not allow the skin to breathe. By using cotton gloves/wool socks the skin can still breathe 🙂 Try putting the Ziploc bags over the gloves or socks to seal moisture in.

      Good luck!

  4. Ridley says

    Thanks for the great tips for better hand care. The skin on my hands is always rough and dry, so I want to improve that before winter really hits and makes them bleed. I like the idea of using a pumice stone after a shower, to exfoliate my hands.

  5. YAGNESH says

    My hands and feet got dry all the months. I couldn’t find the reason also Dr. couldn’t find it. I need permanent solution. I use lotion but it keep my hand skin moisturize upto few minutes only.

  6. Natalie says

    I am in wheelchair and my hand crack and bleed . They also have calluses. I have tried a lot of hand cremes. I also wash my hand a lot and need to because of bacteria I also use a 99% hand wash that don’t need water and my hand scream with pain. It is very painful. I all don’t wear gloves when doing just a little bit of house hold duties.I forget as I just need to do the chores quickly. I have to invest on a pair of gloves.

  7. Kay says

    Hi so im a hairstylist and for many years maybe like 7 years ever since i started as an assistance my hands have been super dry they get cracked maybe bleed in the winter. Lotiok, Vaseline, ointments dont work. But ill def try the other recommendations and see how it works for my hands.

  8. Ali says

    Hi I’m Ali. I’ve read the given information and i want to ask if these tricks also work for the fingers whose fingerprints are worn off? I’m not using any type of chemical and no apparent reason seems to be there.. Please help me, I will be greatful….

  9. vinod sonawane says

    Thanks for a good information about dry hands. I am a son of farmer also
    I am a student But I do some work in the farm with my father then my hands are very dry and rusty .so I will try coconut oil and I feel better

  10. Riley says

    I’m a musician and live in Alberta Canada. This year my hands are getting drier then usual. But I don’t want to have hands that are too soft and lose hard earned callouses for playing guitar. Any advice?

  11. Ella says

    Hi I’m Ella! I’m 13 and go to an art school as a visual major. Considering I paint a lot, I’ve noticed my hands are becoming really hard and stiff. Anything you suggest?

  12. john says

    hi! im John from kenya im frequentry getting into contact with cement. And im not getting solution to prevent my hands from cracking

  13. Elizabeth J Lawson says

    My husband is a carpenter and during the cold weather months his fingers and thumbs are cracked pretty bad, plus they are sore. Everything that he has tried has some kind of alcohol in the ingredients. Alcohol is drying, is there anything out there that can help with the soreness. Thank You

  14. Jack says

    My hand are dry and dirty since few months it’s not getting clean no matter how many times I wash can you please suggest me any cream or soap that will be great full

  15. Jackie says

    I’m 24, and for the last few years have suffered with my hands being so dry and chapped. I have been to the doctors and they have told me not to use harsh soaps and to use Diprobase gel. I followed every instruction.
    I don’t take hot showers and use gloves when doing the dishes and cleaning.
    I use diprobase, i have tried wearing gloves over night over a thick layer of coconut oil/moisturiser.
    They seem to be getting worse this year and nothing is helping, they hurt and fllaky. My nails/cuticles are also suffering quite badly.

    I work in an office 9-5, and help out at a restaurant in evenings – my hands are starting to bother me, i even try not to hold my boyfriends hand in case he feels how rough they are.

    If you have any other ideas that could help me i’d be forever grateful.

    Please email me with any information.

    Kind Regards,


    • edita says

      I’ve been suffering with dry cracked palms over 20 years, I tried all kind of creams, ointments and nothing really helped. A year ago I found online solution(somebody shared). I started to take 1000mg fish oil and 1000mg flaxseed oil. Week after week it was getting better and better and after about 4 month palms got completely normal and now I even don’t need any cream.

  16. jade says

    hi my name is jade and i have heaps of lines on my hands and i am only 14 and really want to make them go away and have smoother hands

  17. liliana says

    hi my name is Lili and I’m just 13, I clean a lot and help my mom in other things and my hands r so dry , and do u recommend something that we can find at home cause I have economic problems and I just ask my mom to buy me oils .

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Lili,

      Try a sugar scrub and then moisturizing with oil! Coconut oil or olive oil could be super helpful. If you’re doing a lot of cleaning, try wearing gloves so that it doesn’t effect your hands so much.

  18. Matt says

    I’d just like to add that while gloves may help, they can also be a problem. My hands sweat while wearing gloves all day at work, and they’ve dried out quite a bit (probably from sitting in their own sweat). Although, I imagine that they would be just about as bad (plus some scratches) if I didn’t wear them.

  19. Hailey says

    Hi, I turned 12 On 16-3-16 I’ve began to get very wrinkled hands….Very I hate it I’ve been Using dove silky Skin lotion cream, Baby Johnsons lotion, Still wrinkley, Less soap like people said I’ve tried steaming My hands an dlotioning, HELP

  20. Alisha says

    I work in food service & I wash dishes everyday. My hands are very dry. I don’t know how I can resolve this problem. I’m really desperate.

  21. Donna says

    I highly recommend an investment in a box of disposable gloves, the kind you see in the food industry or home health care. Load up with lotion, and hold glove on with a rubber band. (You can easily function with the gloves on if you need to pick up something or do whatever in the middle of the night, rather than using a Ziploc bag as mentioned in one of the posts.) Plastic gloves retain all moisture and will heal quicker than anything suggested here. I’ve been trying to find a cure my whole life and this is THE best solution.

  22. angela says

    I have the worst dry hands because I live in a cold climate – and it got worse when I turned 40. I dont like GREASY lotions – so I recommend the Valencia Orange All Purpose Lotion from Made from Earth. . .I use this as my hand lotion and it works great – NO MORE CRACKS AND WRINKLES. They looked gross. Plus it smells like FRESH oranges and I can carry it in my purse. PLEASE protect your hands, because you dont want wrinkled hands when you get older !!!

  23. brandim says

    I keep a bottle of Made from Earth’ Holistic Honey Lotion at my desk. Not only does it heal my dry hands, but the smell, which is great, actually wakes me up during that afternoon lull. Instead of grabbing a candy bar or coffee I put on some lotion and the smell wakes me up, while taking care of my skin. Love it!

  24. zoha khan says

    Hi I’m zoha from KSA, I need your help please! Can you suggest for me something Home remedies To get rid of Rough and Patchy hands! :'( Please.. I need Soft and smooth hands and palms!

  25. Karthik says

    Hi I am karthik from Singapore

    I’m working from fish farm so chemical use hand skin dry ready Moisturiser also use ready never clear very pain and itch how to solve???

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Karthik,

      Thanks for your email! If you’re working with chemicals, we definitely suggest wearing gloves if you can. We would also suggest seeing your doctor since you’re having such pain and irritation.
      If you’re working with a moisturizer already, try the Coconut Honey Mask as a treatment a couple of times a week on your hands.

  26. Greysen says

    Hi, I’m a 19 year old male. I’ve had a very hard time with my skin overall sense 2010. Peeling all around my skin, bad calluses etc.. The Dr.s took a skin biopsy on me, and figured out that I have “Chronic inflammatory dermatitis”. My hands started drying out really bad around December of 2014. So last winter.. My Dr. Told me to try “aquaphor” hand ointment, and I’ve been using it every day all day for over a year now. I literally can’t go without it, because if I do my hands will dry out immediately. I’ve been told that it takes out natural oils from my hands, which concerns me a lot, because I feel like at this point it’s token out like every single bit of natural oil left in my hands…. Idk what I should use or do. Even my finger nails have been dieing on me. I’d appreciate your guy’s opinion on what I should try.

  27. mohammed says

    Hi I’m Dhulqarnain from Ghana. I’m a mechanic my hands are becoming dry,crack and hard Especially my palm. please what should I do to make it sotf and good looking .Thanks

    • M says

      What are you washing with? Cleansers meant to remove motor oil are harsh and expensive. Try scrubbing with a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and your choice of oil. Regular vegetable cooking oil is fine. Follow with a gentle hand soap. This method also works great for painters. For cracked skin you could follow that with lanolin ointment. Wear gloves at work when you can.

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Kizza,

      I’m sorry to hear that! We would suggest working with our Radiant Skin Silk daily for rough hands! A great treatment for the hands every couple of days is the Coconut Honey Mask. It might seem strange to use a face mask on your hands, but it feels wonderful 🙂

      I hope that helps!

  28. jemma barrios says

    Hi! Im jemma from kuwait. My hands very dry also bcoz i always wash dishes even if i put cream & olive oil but still very rough & always crack. I will try all of these i hope these can help me. Thank you very much.

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Joseph,

      Try exfoliating using salt or sugar mixed with olive or coconut oil. Rinse off, then apply a natural lotion like our Radiant Skin Silk. 🙂

  29. Stephanie says

    Hi it’s stephanie
    At school there is this boy that says that I have wrinkly hands and now I don’t like showing my hands to anyone
    Please help????

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Stephanie, Don’t let this boy make you feel bad about your hands! No one should make you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes our hands just get dry from being outside. It’s an easy fix! Before you go to bed, put lots of coconut oil on your hands and cover them with gloves. You’ll wake up to super soft hands!

  30. chelsea says

    Hi my names chelsea in 18 my hands are horrible they are peeling and its making my confidence really bad please help me.

  31. Claire says

    The skin around my fingers peel like it is dead. I use cloves to do dishes and use aquaphor ointment on hands all day. Ive tried band aids but as soon as they come off I’m back to peeling my skin. I now have ridges in my nails. Is there any hope?

    • Jennifer says

      I have been using grapeseed oil on my cuticles at night with great results! I work in healthcare (frequent washing and hand cleaning) and live in a very dry climate. Grapeseed oil has a smaller molecule so it can absorb better than olive oil. I just keep it in a dropper beside my bed. Highly recommed!

  32. Nosh says

    my hands were getting drier by the day since I turned 40 and no lotion or cream seemed to work. what I found to work great is a balm from sunnyqnyc.com it has pretty much restored and saved my hands.its has many ingredients including mink oil, emu oil and lots more.

  33. Serish says

    Hi I use coconut oil but it is out if date since 2009 do you think I shall still use it, my hands are really scaly in been my fingers and they sting really bad, I avoid using hot water, fairy washing up liquid and other liquids, I rarely using hand wash only after I’ve cut onions or chillies. What else can I use??? Please help me!!

  34. jennie says

    I have really bad dry hands I find that corn huskers oil works best you can find it at Walmart or a local store.

    • admin says

      Hi Valentino! Do you use anything on your hands currently? Organic oils and lotions can help restore moisture to your hands. Our Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion works perfectly to keep hands soft . Simple apply to you hands in the morning and at night, or whenever you feel like they are dry.

      You could also try an overnight treatment. We have a Coconut Honey Mask that is designed for the face but also works for dry hands and feet. You can apply to your hands, put gloves on and leave them on overnight. The honey helps the coconut oil bind to the skin, and over night, your skin will have lots of time to soak it up. Wash off the mask in the morning when you wake up.

      I hope this helps! You might also try aloe if your hands are suffering from sun damage/dryness from the wind. Aloe is very healing!

      • Patrick Wuashie says

        Hello am patrick from ghana am suffering from hard and a rough palm I feel very shy to go to crowd and in fact is really limiting me please help me get smooth and a soft palm to fulfill my call on earth.

        • Annmarie Skin Care says

          Hi Patrick,

          We would suggest working with our Coconut Honey Mask as a treatment for your hands every couple of days along with a great moisturizer like the Radiant Skin Silk several times a day. I would also suggest looking into the hand soap that you’re using. Chemical hand soap can certainly cause roughness and irritation in the hands.

          • Patrick Wuashie says

            Please I bath with rexona soap and wash with kleesoft to wash the hand and body lotion I use is razac.

  35. Gabi says

    A&D ointment is a skin protectant. I often find that a dab of that plus lotion (can be ANY if you’re desperate, but coconut oil, argan oil, olive oil lotions etc work best) mixed together helps it spread evenly and makes my hands feel instantly better, even for the first time washing them after using it. I have problems with eczema and my finger skin becoming rough and painfully splitting open often, aside from prescribed medicine, this is the only other way I’ve found relief .

  36. Nisha says

    Hello I am Nisha from India . Actually I find my whole body so rough and sometimes wrinkled. it gets worse in winter. I am just 20 I suffer from depression . I need a suggestion as early as possible . its a humble request

    • Micheline says

      Two of the top side effects of hypothyroidism are depression and fatigue.
      Dry skin is another. A thorough thyroid panel may be in order. Ths, t3, t4, reverse t3…..

    • TAMSYN says

      You should have a doctor check out your skin. You may have a more difficult skin condition. My son suffers from ichthyosis, which is an extremely dry skin problem. His skin forms scales and if not kept supple, it itches or cracks and bleeds. Taking care of yourself may help with the depression.

  37. Kevin says

    Hi There.

    I fish in very windy,cold and wet conditions in Canada and I find that using lipbalm on cracks in my hands before moisturizing helps to quickly rejuvenate my hands.

    Thank you


  38. Sufia says

    Hi…I’m Sufia from Malaysia..I’m just 12 and my hands is so rough..I just read all the tips..Is there anything else that I can REALLY use??

  39. louuse says

    thanks for the good info about dry hands ,i work in aged care in food services ,and find it hard to keep my hands soft I have tried so many products ,so i will tyr coconut oil and see how that goes

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