Your hands are constantly in action, so they'll need some extra TLC to stay in prime condition.
With the winter months in full swing, many of us are afflicted by the dreaded chapped lips and dry cracked hands. Besides being flakey and itchy, the skin on our hands can actually crack from being so dried out by the icy cold winds. And we’re constantly using our hands too, making the wounds vulnerable to infection and not-so-pretty scars. It’s one problem we shouldn’t put off. Luckily there are plenty of habits you can practice to help restore those dry hands to their former glory.
How to fight those dry, cracked hands
Lather on that hand lotion
How many times a day do you practice your skin care routine? Most likely no more than twice a day. But your hands need much more pampering than that. Think about how many times a day you grab a door handle, tap on a keyboard, or lift a dumbbell. All that constant moving and stretching easily dries out your hands.
We recommend keeping a hand lotion in your work space or purse, and moisturizing your hands after each time you wash your hands. A natural hand lotion will help heal any existing cracks, as well as protect against additional damage. Look for ingredients like plant oils and butters that naturally contain healing vitamins.
Just any ol’ moisturizing cream won’t do. Avoid skin-drying alcohols, silicones, and artificial fragrances that can weaken your skin barrier over time. Here are our top picks:
Coconut Hand Butter Cream from 100% Pure
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
Take yourself on a tropical getaway with this luscious-smelling hand cream, scented with only natural ingredients that are healthy for your skin. It’s made with a base of nourishing cocoa and shea butter that softens and moisturizes dry skin.
Organic Hand & Body Lotion from Puracy
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
Sometimes simple works best, especially when it comes to sensitive or damaged skin. This formula is lightweight and a long-lasting moisturizer, making it ideal for active hands.
Hand Cream from Andalou Naturals
Cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan
We love the inclusion of omega 7 fatty acid rich sea buckthorn oil in this hand cream. In addition to nourishing plant oils, this formula also contains fruit stem cells to help protect your hands all day long.
Hand & Body Lotion from Avalon Organics
This formula is made of a blend of botanicals such as oat bran and chamomile that help soothe cracked hands, while plant oils and hyaluronic acid help restore moisture back into dry skin.
Try natural remedies for dry skin
Have you ever looked at the ingredients of your go-to moisturizer? There can be a lot more than just moisturizing ingredients packed into one little bottle of lotion. We’re talking about synthetic thickeners made from petroleum-based ingredients that give the formula that pillowy soft texture, but don’t actually do anything for your skin.
We love naturally-derived ingredients because they’re often rich with antioxidants and vitamins that your skin needs to stay healthy, strong, and overall more youthful. Here are some of our favorites:
Cocoa butter: Cocoa butter melts at just below body temperature, making it easy to spread across dry patches of skin. It’s rich with antioxidants too that help protect skin.
Shea butter: Shea butter has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it soothing to use on itchy or irritated skin.
Argan oil: Vitamin E is essential to moisturizing and protecting skin. Argan oil has a significantly higher amount of vitamin E compared to other plant oils.
Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil is known to be incredibly lightweight on skin, and fast-absorbing too. Its compatibility with skin makes it a popular ingredient for all skin types.
The less exposed your hands are to the elements, the less likely it is for them to be dried out or damaged. Outdoor winter air tends to be more dry, and it easily whisks away the protective sebum and moisture from your skin. While bundling up for your trek outdoors, don’t forget to put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands and fingers! They’ll go a long way in keeping your hands smooth.
Change your hand soap
So you know by now that it’s a good idea to use a hand cream after washing your hands. But what about the hand soap you’re using? Harsh synthetic detergents that strip more than just dirt and bacteria from your hands are commonplace in drugstore hand soaps. It’s worth looking into more gentle formulas that cleanse just as well as their conventional counterparts, but are more forgiving on your skin. Stick with cool to warm water, and limit your hand washings as much as you can.
Limit use of hand sanitizers
Hand sanitizers have already gotten a bad rap for including triclosan in their ingredients. In addition to posing health risks and contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs, there’s not too much evidence that triclosan is effective. Fortunately there are now natural hand sanitizers that use essential oils instead to fight harmful bacteria. But they still rely on a high percentage of alcohol ingredients to cleanse your hands that also end up stripping the natural oils from your hands. If your hands are already extremely dry or you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid using hand sanitizers.
Use a humidifier
Is your heater on full blast? That’s understandable for the cold weather brewing outside. But heaters can quickly dry out your skin, nose, lips, and even your throat. If you’re suffering from flakey skin below your nose, on your lips, your hands, or struggling with throat pain every morning, you might want to invest in a humidifier to bring your home environment back to a balance.
Treat skin conditions
Are none of the steps above helping? You might be fighting an infection, medical or skin condition that requires additional treatment on top of regular maintenance. If you’re bleeding or see drainage from your skin, they might be signs of a more serious problem. Check in with your doctor to get your skin evaluated.
Dry, cracked hands may take longer to treat if you’ve been fighting the problem for awhile. But with regular moisturizing and good habits, you can restore that rough skin to its previous radiance and smoothness. Your hands are important, so make sure you take proper care of them!
Our skin tends to lose moisture more easily as it ages, but fortunately there are ways to fight that while treating yourself to self care too:
Best Hydrating Serums for All Skin Types That Need That Glow: Recommendations for the most potent hydrating serums to brighten skin, with oil-free options too!
10 Best Natural Face Moisturizers for Every Skin Type: Why natural face moisturizers are an easy way to improve the potency of your skin care routine.