How to Avoid the Plague of Dry, Scaly Hands

It’s that time of year again—we’re transitioning from fall to winter, which for many of us means it’s the season where our hands become almost unbearingly dry and irritated. Beyond possibly grossing out our significant others, our extra dry hands can begin to bleed and crack during the winter, a painful experience we’d all like to avoid. This week’s blog goes through everything you need to know about preventing and treating hands so dry they resemble the Sahara Desert. 

First of all, what is it about the winter that makes our hands need so much more TLC than other seasons? During this colder time of year, we’re exposed to lower humidity (although let’s be honest, we live in Houston so the humidity is definitely still there) and windy weather, which accelerates the water we lose through our skin because of evaporation. Then when we hop in the car and blast the heater, we accelerate that loss even further. Beyond the weather changes, it’s also flu and cold season, so many people wash their hands more often than usual. When you wash your hands frequently, it can strip them of the natural oils your skin produces which can lead to the cracking and roughness. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you stop washing your hands, but it’s important to take preventative measures to keep your hands from drying out and leading to irritation.

Prevention

Wear Gloves

The first step for preventing reptile-like hands is to protect them from the elements. Wear gloves when you’re outside in the cold or when your hands will be in water for a long period of time, like when washing dishes.

Moisturize

Many people drag out the tub of hand cream after their hands are already cracked and dry. The key to preventing the damage in the first place is moisturizing before the hands start showing signs of dryness or irritation. Moisturize often, around five to six times a day, and look for a product with emollients and humectants—two ingredients designed to keep your skin hydrated.

Treatment

Deep-Moisturize Overnight

Before you escape to Dreamland, slather on some Vaseline and cover your hands with a pair of soft gloves. Go to sleep, and when you wake up, wash off the excess petroleum jelly. Your hands should feel much softer.

Avoid Harsh Soaps

The hand soap and laundry detergent you use could be making your dry, scaly hands worse. Opt for a more mild soap and laundry detergent, preferably one that’s fragrance-free to help avoid further irritation.

For many, the rough and painful hands are a sure sign of winter, but for some, it may be caused by an underlying health condition. Be sure to visit your doctor if you have any concerns. Following these tips can help you keep your hands soft and supple this winter (so your partner won’t mind holding your hand as you stroll down the store aisles shopping for presents for the holidays.)

If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like enjoying your favorite winter activities). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook. Our hands heal yours!