enjoy velvety hands again?
Written by Marion, Aesthetician/Cosmetician | published on | updated on 30/03/2020
Your hands are constantly exposed to the environment and their skin dries out easily, which can lead to tightness and cracking. What can you do to keep your hands soft and supple?
The signs of dry hands
The skin on your hands is dry if it appears dull and feels rough. You may also experience tightness and itching. The condition worsens with the cold and, when you rub your hands, you may notice that they have become scaly and dead flakes of skin come away. You may also experience redness and tightness resulting in painful cracking. These cracks can be extremely sore. Skin with atopic tendencies is more prone to eczema with the associated irritation and itchiness this causes.
What is atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition that often starts in childhood and usually disappears once adulthood is reached, but not in all cases. It leads to eczema flare-ups with redness, dry skin, scabs and itching. It affects the hands and other areas of the body (particularly skin folds). Atopic dermatitis often presents alongside other allergies and/or asthma. Moisturisers and emollient creams that are appropriate to the patient’s age are used to treat outbreaks of the condition. Allergy specialists may also prescribe anti-histamines to be taken during the flare-up. It is important to treat the skin because, as well as causing discomfort, lesions and scratching can encourage bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus.
What makes hands so prone to dryness?
From dawn til dusk, our hands are exposed to a vast array of environmental stressors. Sun, cold, moisture, dryness - our hands really take a beating.
What's more, our hands are busy all day long and we have to wash them several times a day. While this is essential to maintain good hygiene, constant washing has unwanted side effects: water and soap tend to destroy the natural hydrolipidic film that prevents the skin from drying out. Household products and other detergents are ultimately the worst enemies of dry hands. Their harsh, grease-removing properties mean that they strip oils from your hands while you clean your home, making your skin prone to losing its natural moisture.
What can you do to prevent dry hands?
Avoid hard water
As a starting point, find out whether you have hard or soft water. This is sometimes indicated on your water bill, but if not, DIY stores and garden centres sell special testing kits. If you have very hard water, look into the option of installing a water softening system. Your dry hands will certainly benefit, along with your electrical appliances!
As soon as you put your hands into water containing cleaning products, it can damage your skin. Even if you're pushed for time, it's worth spending a few seconds putting on a pair of rubber gloves each time you do the laundry, clean the house or wash the dishes. You might also choose to avoid the majority of industrial chemical household cleaning products, opting for equally effective natural products instead, such as white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda.
As soon as the weather turns cold, wear gloves outside. This is an effective way to prevent cracking and chapping.
Ensure you dry your hands thoroughly
Whenever you wash your hands, ensure that you dry them thoroughly, including between the fingers. The damper your skin, the more it will become dehydrated. Avoid all harsh cosmetic products, opting instead for gentle soaps or lipid-enriched cleansers which are less damaging to your hands’ hydrolipidic film.
Treatments for dry hands
Dry hands need special care to prevent discomfort and premature ageing.
Exfoliate your hands
Use a gentle scrub twice a month to remove dead skin. This will boost the effectiveness of your moisturising cream.
Apply hand cream
It is essential to apply a moisturising hand cream regularly. However, do not overdo it, as this will stop your skin producing its own hydrolipidic film, which is so important for skin health. This protective layer is made up of a range of substances with a slightly acid pH, including sebum, sweat, keratin and dead cells.
When should I apply hand cream?
Save your hand cream for specific times of the day. For instance, apply it once in the morning before you leave for work, after you shower and before going out if the weather is cold. In the evening, choose a nourishing cream specifically designed for dry skin which will provide benefits throughout the night while your hands rest.
There are also repairing, healing creams which can work wonders on very chapped and damaged hands. Ensure that you choose high-quality products containing as many natural ingredients as possible, such as sweet almond, argan or avocado oil, honey or shea butter. Cocooncenter’s site features a whole range of products for dry hands.
Don’t let cold weather and environmental stressors ruin your hands! With a few useful tips and well-chosen skincare products, you will keep your hands soft and supple.
Dry hands – 3 key takeaways:
- Always be mindful of your skin’s delicate natural barrier, the hydrolipidic film. This layer protects your skin from becoming dehydrated, so please take care of it!
- If you have dry hands, then you need to use nourishing, moisturising products designed for this condition, whatever your usual skin type.
- If you have eczema on your hands, consult a dermatologist or allergy specialist who can test for any potential food or contact allergies which could worsen your dry-skin condition.