How to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands from Frequently Washing Your Hands

Do you want to know how to soothe dry, cracked hands that are so common during the colder months? It can be even worse for people like me with pre-existing eczema.

image of a hand on pastel background

Our hand’s skincare often neglected. We are so often focused on our faces and bodies and neglect our hands. Hands are easily dried out and compromised from all of our work and using stripping ingredients when we wash our hands.

Frequent washing is good for preventing colds, and flue, but also can strip our skin of the natural oils that keep our hands soft.

How do you stop your hands from getting dry and irritated?

What Causes Dry, Cracked Hands?

The most common cause of dry and cracked hands is the compromise of the outer skin layer of our hands.

The most common elements that damage outer skin layer of our hands are:

WATER: If you frequently wash your hands with water, you will have a loss of moisture.

DRY AIR: dry or cold air sup moisture out of your skin, making it dry and eventually cracked.

SOAP: good old-fashion liquid soap or bar usually strip your skin of the natural healthy fats.

CHEMICALS: they take moisture away from your hands skin.

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Why Should You Take Care of Your Hand Skin?

If you don’t take care of your dry hands in its earlier stages, it may transform into a stubborn condition (dermatitis) that can be difficult to eliminate.

You can suffer from painfully dry and bleeding cracks on your hands, which can increase your risk for infection.

But how do you look after the skin on your hands when you’re washing and sanitizing them so much?

Here Is How to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands

Here are expert-approve ways to keep your hands clean and moisturized.

Choosing Gentle Cleansing and Sanitising Products to Avoid Cracked Hands

Yes, to prevent the spread of the virus you must wash your hands regularly. Before and after eating, especially before touching your face.

If you wash your hands often change your hand soap to a soap-free version.

Soap-free cleansers use synthetic detergents with lover (skin-friendly) pH levels.

If you have sensitive skin or irritated skin after washing it so many times, soapless cleansers could be just the product you need to avoid soap-induced irritation.

Soap-less wash will remove dirt, oil, and bacteria from your skin as well as soap would. Soapless skin cleansers, on the other hand, are different from soaps: They contain less acid and more moisturizing ingredients, which enables them to gently remove dirt and oil from skin – Draelos.

Will Soap Less Hand Wash or Cleanser Kill Virus?

Soap-weather it’s all-natural, hand made, liquid, bar, soap-less, or foamy-has a particular molecular makeup, made up of what are actually called “soap molecules”. Soap is able to dissolve the protective coating around the virus – making it less capable of surviving – while rinsing your hands off with water after breaking down the virus’s coat removes it from your skin completely. – source.

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Best Soap-free Cleansers Recommended by Dermatologist

All of these cleansers are for the face or body and can be used to wash your hands.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Washthis wash uses gentle soap-free cleansing ingredients paired with skin soothing oatmeal to protect and repair the skin barrier. Dr. Zeichner recommends.

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash – inexpensive and easy to find. Yolanda Helfrich, MD, recommends.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – great for everyday use. “Cetaphil is very gentle, comes in a large container, and can actually be used without water if a patient has very irritating skin,” says Dr. Helfrich.

Avoid Other Hand Irritants

  • Wash hands less, use more sanitizer. Using a moisturizing sanitizer will be less damaging than hand washing. Sanitizers that use ethanol instead of isopropanol or rubbing alcohol and include moisturizing ingredients like glycerin.
  • Don’t scrub. Scrubbing can damage skin, especially if you do it a lot. It results in cracks and small cuts that give bacteria a place to grow.
  • Do not use hot water. Hot water strips your skin of its natural moisturizing substances much faster than lukewarm or cold water.
  • Keep your fingernails short. Bacteria like the area under our fingernails.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. It takes about a minute to properly wash and dry your hands.
  • Pat hands dry, do not rub. After washing, pat your hands thoroughly dry with a towel rather than rubbing to reduce irritation.
  • Wear protective gloves. Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes, even when preparing food. Make sure you change the gloves when they get wet or sweaty inside. Avoid using latex gloves if you can.
  • Wear breathable gloves when you garden. You can wear fabric gloves to cut down on hand washing.
  • Wear gloves in cold weather. Protect your hands when you are outside.
image of three pound photos with dry hands examples and text next to them

What to Look for In a Good Hand Cream

It’s not easy to find a good hand cream. Hand creams are either too thick or don’t absorb well enough and feel too greasy.

When buying a hand cream, look for a combination of emollients and occlusive. These ingredients act as a physical barrier to prevent water loss.

LOOK FOR INGREDIENTS like:

ceramides, petrolatum, and dimethicone – will help your skin barrier to keep water in.

Hyaluronic acid or glycerin – will add an extra boost of water to your skin.

“when looking for a hand cream, look for glycolic acid to help prevent the loss of elasticity. Also, beneficial: vitamin E, vitamin B(niacinamide), shay butter, lanolin, and hyaluronic acid. No single cream will have all of these ingredients but try to find one that has at least three of these,” said Dr. Frieling.

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID fragrance, and triglycerides or palmitates if you don’t like greasy residue.

Each of us has unique skin on our hands. Try a few creams listed below and see which will suit you more.

Best Hand Creams to Buy for Extremely Dry Hands

To stop your hands from getting dry, itchy, cracked, and irritated, you must reapply hand cream or lotion after every time you wash them.

It is much easier to do at home by placing a body lotion pump bottle near the sink, by your bed, and in your car.

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If you are at work, then see if you can put a tube with hand cream in your purse and desk drawer.

  1. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast or La Roche Posay Lipokar Balm AP + Body Cream – barrier-repairing balm. This particularly good hand cream for winter, especially if your hands are dry and cracked. A little bit of balm goes a long way, and the small container is easy to carry in your pocket.
  2. Keihl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – extra-strength moisturizing to soothe and condition severely dry skin. This cream is fab! Your hands will feel nice and smooth, with no trace of dryness the whole day. Great to apply every morning.
  3. Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream – This cream is soothing to the skin without feeling greasy and absorbs quickly. You cracked skin will be healed in 3 days.
  4. Aveeno Eczema Moisturizing Cream – “oatmeal” formula soothe skin and reduce redness, itchiness, dryness, and irritation. Easily absorbs and gives moisture to cracked skin.
  5. Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream – improves the elasticity of the skin. Soft and dense but not too greasy. Shea butter not only will smooth your skin, heal cracks, and make your nails and cuticles stronger.
  6. CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream – moisturizes hands with hyaluronic acid and calms skin with niacinamide and replenishes the skin’s natural barrier with three different ceramides. It’s definitely moisturized hands but fills a bit oily and slippery right after application.
  7. L’Occitane Shea Butter Body Lotion – oats reduce inflammation plus honey for soothing and softening the skin. Non-greasy and absorbs really quickly into the skin.
  8. Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion or Vaseline Extremely Dry Skin Rescue – non-greasy, unscented moisturizer. You may have to apply this one every few hours from maximum effect.
  9. Lubriderm Intense Skin Repair Lotion – it’s one of the best lotions for my dry and itchy skin. It works wonders on dry, cracked hands and feet during the winter. It’s a bit thicker than Vaseline, so I go through the bottle faster.
  10. Hemp Hard-Working Hand Protector – heavy-duty thick consistency, will leave your hands to feel oily and take a couple of minutes to sink into your skin. You’ll have to reapply it throughout the day. It comes in two sizes. I like to throw small size tube in my purse. Also because of smell (like a freshly dogged earth) and packaging, it appeals more to men than women.
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Use a moisturizing cream each time you wash your hands. I use a body lotion with a pump instead of hand cream and have a bottle by each sink in my house (bathrooms and kitchen) as a reminder.

Most of the ingredients in hand lotion and hand creams are the same, the only difference is texture. Lotion tends to be a bit thinner than hand cream.

Seriously, the most important part is to use it after each time you wash your hands!

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lotion and hand cream on the bedside table

What is Best for Extremely Dry Hands?

Nighttime is the perfect opportunity to use an ointment. Like Vaseline, Aquaphor, or CeraVe Use greasier ointment treatments, they are more effective in trapping moisture and healing hands.

For extra moisturizing at night, put thick hand cream or ointment on your dry cracked hands, such as Vaseline. After, cover them with a pair of cotton gloves or socks, before going to bed. By trapping moisture with the gloves will help your hands to absorb more of the ingredients into your skin. You will wake up with baby-smooth hands.

Best Hand Cream for Night Treatment

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream – you need only a small amount because the products spread a lot. It does not absorb quickly, so your hands might feel a little greasy for a few minutes.

Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment – for extremely dry, cracked, chafed or damaged skin. Very greasy and fills like Vaseline. This is an effective ointment to use as a nighttime cream. Otherwise, it’s likely to leave greasy marks on everything you touch.

100% Natural Shea Butter from The Body Shop – If you want a more natural solution. It is extremely greasy but works. I transferred my Shea batter into the mason jar for easier application.

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If you’re on a tight budget, here’s a money-saving tip we used to do growing up. You could just apply on your hands what you have at home an oil, whatever cream or Vaseline then put plastic bag and socks over your hands at bedtime.

Home Remedies for severely dry, cracked hands and fingers

I found these recommendations on Pinterest (source here), use them at your own discretion.

Most of you do not know that the oils you frequently use in the kitchen are a great remedy for dry and cracked hands. Olive and coconut oil are some of the amazing oils for moisturizing your dry hands.

Simply, put a few drops of plant-based oil in your hands, rub them for about two minutes, and then rinse them with warm water.

Best Plant-Based Oils for Hands:

  • peanut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil

Exfoliate

You can exfoliate dry and cracked hands with:

  • Put 1 tablespoon of sugar in your hands
  • Add a few drops of plan-based oil
  • Rub the front and the back of your hands
  • Apply moisturizing cream
  • Do 1-4 times a week

Or

  • Mix some honey and white sugar
  • Rub them with your hands and fingertips to peel the dead skin
  • Wash your hands
  • Apply a moisturizing lotion after

Sealing Up Cracks in Your Hands

  • Seal cracks. Dermatologists recommended trying super glue or liquid band-aid for sealing cracks and fissures in your skin, to protect it and make it less painful while it heals.
  • Do not pick at the skin. It can make your skin vulnerable to infections and make the itching worse.

GOT A QUESTION?

Do you have any questions about “How to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands”? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

I would love to hear from you! Have a fabulous week and take care!

Irina Nikitina – Founder of Modern Fifty TV

How to remedy and heel severe dry, cracked hands overnight with hand cream, night hand balm or DIY natural remedies. How to relive itchiness, redness, and irritation from frequently washing your hands so damn much. All that washing might have you deal with such skin issues as: dry, itchy, red, painful skin on your hands. #modernfiftytv #handcare #dryhands

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