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Dry And Cracked Hands: Symptoms, Causes, And Remedies

Posted on October 09 2020

group of hands together

When you stop to think about all that your hands do on any given day, it makes sense that the skin on your hands can easily become dry. And having dry or cracked hands can be a real bummer, not to mention unsightly, uncomfortable, and possibly painful!

If you’re dealing with dry, rough skin on your hands, you need to know what causes it and how to treat it. In this article, we’ll go over just that.

Let’s start with typical symptoms and causes of dry or cracked hands and then get down to business with five remedies for your thirsty skin.

Symptoms Of Dry And Cracked Hands

It’s not too hard to tell if you’ve got a case of dry hands. And when that dry skin starts to split open, your cracked hands are an even more obvious sign that you need to show your skin some TLC!

What do dry hands look and feel like?

You may notice that your skin is itchy, red or ashy-colored, and feels tight like it’s pulling. Your hands might feel rough to the touch and begin to develop small lines that can turn into cracks and even begin to bleed.

Let’s take a look at a few of the factors that can cause your hands to become this way.

Causes Of Dry And Cracked Hands

woman holding sticks with dry cracked hands

Your hands stay busy all day long and it’s really no surprise that they’re especially vulnerable to becoming dry. In addition to daily wear and tear, there are a few specific factors that contribute to dry hands.

Weather

If you’ve ever experienced the dry, itchy skin when winter rolls around, you’ll know that the weather can have a big effect on your skin.

Low humidity zaps the moisture out of your skin. Add wind and you have a recipe for dry skin. This is why many people notice dry and cracked hands during the winter months.

Plus, this doesn’t just apply to the outside air. When cold weather rolls around and you turn the heat on inside, this also lowers the humidity inside and can dry your skin out.

Winter is not the only culprit though. Depending on your climate, the summer months and lots of time in the sun can be drying as well.

Hot Water, Soap, And Other Products

One reason your hands can get extra dry is because of how frequently you wash them! Washing your hands well and often is a must to keep yourself (and others!) healthy, but it can really do a number on your skin.

It strips your skin of its natural oily barrier that keeps it smooth and locks hydration in.

Hot water plus soap that’s filled with synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals is asking for dry hands. And that’s not to mention hand sanitizer — and goodness knows everyone is using their fair share of that!

Another time hot water dries out your skin? When you’re taking a shower or washing dishes.

Medical Conditions

While environmental factors are often the culprit of dry and cracked hands, that doesn’t mean you should automatically rule out a skin condition or other medical condition.

Eczema, for example, can make your skin dry, flaky, red, and itchy. If you have any doubts about the dry and cracked skin on your hands and what might be causing it, you should consult your doctor.

Doctor writing prescription for client for dry cracked hands

Knowing what causes and contributes to dry and cracked hands can help you figure out how to remedy the uncomfortable situation. Now that we’ve covered that, let’s jump straight to our five tips to get you back to smooth, soft hands.

Remedies For Dry And Cracked Hands

1) Lather Up With A Gentle Hand Soap

hand washing with a gentle soap to prevent dry hands

We mentioned above that washing your hands can be one of the causes of your dry skin. But that doesn’t mean you should swear off hand-washing! It is, of course, super important.

(For tips on how to keep your hands clean and help your kids get into the hand-washing habit, click here.)

So, instead of kicking hand-washing to the curb in the name of moisturized hands, keep scrubbing up, just make sure that you use a soap that will both clean and soothe your hands at the same time.

That means looking for a soap that is antibacterial, made with natural ingredients, and is free of synthetic fragrances and ingredients like SLS, parabens, phthalates, silicone, dyes, and formaldehyde.

Babo Botanicals Lavender Dream™ Plant Based Hand Soap is designed to cleanse, moisturize, and protect your hands with antibacterial Manuka Essential Oil from a family-owned farm in New Zealand.

Babo Botanicals Lavender Dream™ Plant Based Hand Soap for dry hands

It’s also made with organic argan oil, shea butter, olive oil, and aloe vera to leave your hands hydrated and smooth. That means clean, soft, sweet-smelling hands for the whole family!

2) Wear Gloves

woman cleaning wearing gloves to prevent dry cracked hands

Using a moisturizing soap when you wash your hands is one way to go on the offense and keep your hands from drying out even further. Another way to play offense is to wear gloves — both rubber gloves and winter gloves

Sometimes you’ll have to be elbow-deep in hot water while washing dishes. In that case, use rubber gloves to keep your hands out of the water. Rubber gloves are also a good idea when you’re cleaning house and dealing with harsh cleaning products.

Since the cold, dry winter contributes to dry skin, winter gloves help mitigate the effect of the weather on your hands. Slip your gloves on any time you head outside, even if it’s just for a short time.

3) Apply A Natural Oil

Taking preventative measures like using a moisturizing soap and wearing gloves help you avoid dry skin in the first place or ensure that your hands don’t get exponentially worse. But that’s not enough to turn dry and cracked hands into soft, smooth hands.

One great way to moisturize your hands is to apply a natural oil like almond oil or coconut oil. All you have to do is gently massage a bit of oil into your skin.

Just remember that your hands will be quite oily for a few minutes so plan to sit back, relax, and not use your hands while the oil soaks in.

For overnight, deep hydration, apply almond or coconut oil at bedtime. Then, put on a pair of light gloves or socks so that the oil can work its magic all night long.

4) Use A Deep-Moisturizing Ointment

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Skin All Natural Healing Ointment

For more deep-moisturization and healing, turn to an ointment that contains natural skin-soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, shea, and cocoa butter.

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Skin All Natural Healing Ointment is crafted with all three of those ingredients and designed for adults with sensitive, dry, or eczema-prone skin.

Made with 100% natural and 70% organic ingredients, this non-greasy formula is perfect for your chapped hands, but it can be used for much more! Try it to relieve eczema, dry spots, bug bites, chapped lips, and poison ivy.

Apply this ointment as needed to your dry and cracked hands.

5) Apply Aloe Vera Or A Hand Mask

Aloe based lotion being applied to cracked skin

If you’ve ever used a mask on your face, the idea of a hand mask is similar. It provides your hands with moisture, hydration, and skin-healthy ingredients. 

You can use aloe vera in this way. Simply apply this hydrating, calming gel to your hands and let it sit for a few minutes while you kick back. Then, gently rinse it off. That’s all there is to it.

By the way, if you’re on the hunt for a soothing aloe vera gel that’s free of junk and additives, look no further than Babo Botanicals After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel.

A homemade hand mask can be almost as simple as applying and rinsing aloe vera. There is no shortage of hand mask recipes online that can be made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen — ingredients like potatoes, olive oil, honey, eggs, avocado, and yogurt.

Treating your hands to a mask doesn’t have to be complicated!

Back To Smooth, Soft Hands

two people holding hands

Due to excessive hand-washing or cold weather, dry and cracked hands can come knocking at your door. But don’t let it get you down.

Wash your hands with Lavender Dream™ Plant Based Hand Soap, wear gloves, moisturize with almond or coconut oil, treat your hands to Sensitive Skin All Natural Healing Ointment, and try a mask or aloe vera treatment.

By addressing the causes of your dry skin and putting our five tips into practice, your hands will be smooth and moisturized before you know it!

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