What Causes Dry Hands?
There are plenty of reasons why our hands lose their moisture, from environmental factors to simple daily habits. In order to prevent dry hands, we should understand what causes dryness in the first place.
More often than not, dry hands are caused by small changes to our surroundings, especially cold and arid weather. Having cold or dry weather can put your skin through the ringer, not just the ones on your hand. This is why people who are prone to dry hands often suffer more during winter. Lower moisture in the ambient air means that whatever moisture is left in your skin is being drawn out and evaporated.
Too much heat can also cause your skin to dry out, as this also speeds up the evaporation process. This means that working around heaters, fireplaces and stoves that use open flames can lead to dry hands.
Too Much Handwashing
While it may seem like a good thing to do, washing your hands too often can actually lead them to dry out quickly. This can be especially problematic if your work requires a lot of handwashing, like nurses, doctors or even people who handle food a lot. Taking too long in the hot shower or bath can also lead to your hands drying up.
Using Strong Chemicals or Detergents
Exposing any part of your skin, including your hands, to harsh detergents or chemicals can cause dryness. Strong soaps, in particular, are usually formulated to remove oil from your skin, oil that can actually help with locking in the moisture in your hands.
People who are also routinely exposed to certain chemicals can have their skin irritated and cause severe drying if not properly protected. This can be especially problematic to people who work in factories or anywhere that has strong chemicals. Swimming too long in heavily-chlorinated water, such as in pools, is also a huge factor at drying your hands out.
For some people, having dry hands is not caused by any of the factors listed above. Having dry hands could be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, which makes their skin very easily irritated, and could even break out if they’re stressed. Some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, can also lessen the amount of blood being circulated to the skin, which also leads to dry hands.
How to Keep the Hands Moisturized?
Now that we know what can cause dry hands, we can start working on how to moisturize them and keep it that way. There are plenty of ways you can moisturize hands, and not all of them require a lot of effort. Here’s just a few remedies you can look into.
The easiest way to moisturize hands is by using a moisturizer. A good moisturizer can help do the job of the natural oils in your skin that has been washed away by water or soap. Oils are meant to seal in the water in your skin and prevent it from escaping during dry or hot weather. You can use moisturizing creams or lotions as often as needed to keep your skin healthy.
Wear Rubber Gloves
If you have to work with water a lot, or if you need to clean dishes or wash anything, wearing rubber gloves can help prevent your skin’s natural oils from being washed away, and in turn, keep your hands from drying out. Gloves can also prevent your skin from making contact with any harmful chemicals or cleaners that you may have to use.
Use Gentle Soaps
If for some reason you can’t use rubber gloves while you work with water, then try to use soaps and detergents that aren’t too harsh on your skin instead. Certain cleansers and shower gels have ingredients that help moisturize hands, like some lotions or moisturizers would.
In certain weather conditions, it’s probably best to simply stay inside to keep your skin from drying out. If that isn’t an option, then make sure to cover up properly. Make sure to wear properly insulated gloves and make sure that every inch of your body isn’t exposed to the drying effects of the environment.
Use a Humidifier
Because a significantly lowered humidity causes your skin to dry, it should also follow that improving the moisture in the air should help a lot to moisturize hands. Although humidifiers are often used by people with breathing problems, you can actually use these machines to keep the air around your home from drying up.
For some medical conditions, like eczema, being in stressful situations can worsen the problem. Stress can trigger a flare up, so making sure you avoid stress and keeping yourself relaxed can help prevent your skin from drying, even on your hands.
When To See The Doctor?
Even after tracking down the cause of your hands drying up, and doing every remedy available that can help moisturize hands, the sad truth is that you may still have the problem anyway. Sometimes, the best course of action is to visit a specialist or a doctor. Here are some of the signs you should watch out for in order to determine whether you need to see a dermatologist.
While dry skin can cause your skin to go dull, it usually isn’t so severe that you’d actually see any drastic change in coloration. If you notice any patches of discoloration on the skin of your hands, where there wasn’t before, you’ll need to go to the doctor for a checkup.
Because dryness causes your skin to lose its elasticity, cracking, and eventually bleeding, can occur. Open wounds can become entryways for bacteria and viruses to enter your body, getting yourself treated is a good course of action if you notice bleeding on your skin that you don’t know the origin of.
Swelling and Redness
Skin is meant to be supple and elastic. If you feel any tenderness or hard lumps on it, then you should visit the doctor as soon as you can. Swelling and extreme redness could be indicators of injury or a severe allergic reaction, both of which will require treatment to prevent it from getting worse.
What Products Can Be Used?
The best times to use moisturizing products is when you first notice any of the symptoms. Depending on the situation, some products are better suited than others. Here are just some examples of skin care product types that do wonders with dry hands.
Hand creams, depending on the brand, are known to have high oil content. This makes them extremely useful at keeping the moisture in your hands from escaping. They are also known to provide a much deeper, nourishing effect on your skin as well. They are best used during times when there is less moisture in the air, or during winter, when it can get really cold.
Much like hand creams, lotions are also used to help moisturize hands. Unlike creams, lotions tend to be higher in water content, making them a good source of moisture for your skin. Since there’s less oil content in them though, lotions aren’t that good at locking in moisture. This means they’re best suited for warmer climates, or when there’s higher humidity, like during summer.
Lotions also tend to be less thicker than cream, and don’t usually leave an oily residue after putting it on.
Masks can be used to provide your skin some much needed treatment from dryness. They can give your skin a spa-like experience, all in the comfort of your own home, and the best part is, they’re not just for your face anymore. Hand masks make use of the same method as regular face masks, where your skin receives the concentrated effects of skin moisturizing ingredients delivered to your hands without making a huge mess.
Our body produces oils naturally. These oils, as we’ve mentioned before, help keep your skin moisturized by keeping the water where it belongs, and not evaporated through the air around you. Sometimes, however, the oils our skin produces may not be enough to do this. That’s where essential oils come in.
Depending on what kind of oil you’re using, you can have a variety of beneficial effects aside from keeping the skin on your hands from drying out. Some oils can have antimicrobial properties, others can help your relieve stress, and some can even help you sleep.