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Caring for Dry Hands

Find out what causes dry, flaky, cracked skin on our hands, how to avoid it and get relief with NIVEA

Caring for Dry Hands

Dry hands are a common concern and are usually nothing serious. However, given how much we use our hands, it can be irritating and uncomfortable, and maybe even make you feel a little conscious. So if you want some tips on how best to care for them or even try some home remedies to relieve your dry hands, read on to find out more. 

Symptoms of dry, cracked hands

Dry hands can be pretty easy to spot. Here are the most common symptoms of what dry hands look and feel like: 

·       Skin on the hands is flaky and scaly 
·       Skin on the hands may be itchy and chapped
·       Skin on the hands may be red, or darker skin may look gray
·       Skin might feel tight like it’s pulling
·       Skin might feel rough to touch
·       There may be small lines that then develop into cracks
If your skin is very dry, the cracks on your hand may bleed and become sore. This means even the simplest tasks like typing, buttoning clothes, or just turning over in your sleep are very painful. If bacteria entered the open skin, there’s a chance that your hands could become infected.

What causes dry hands?

If you’re wondering ‘why are my hands so dry’, here are some of the common factors that contribute to dry hands.

1. Weather

One of the main culprits for causing our hands to feel dry and itchy are the elements. In winter as the air turns colder, the lack of moisture in the air causes the skin on our hands to dry out, and the wind exacerbates this. However, it’s not just the cold air. The lower humidity of the heating inside can also sap moisture from our skin. In hot summer months or drier climates, the sun can also have the same drying effect on our hands.

2. Hand washing

Proper, regular hand washing is a must to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy. Yet it can take a toll on our hands and cause them to dry out. Hot water and some soaps can strip skin of its natural oily barrier that not only keeps it smooth but hydrated too. Think of all the times we wash our hands a day – doing the dishes or having a shower – and what that means for our hands. Add to that the drying effects of the copious amounts of hand sanitiser we’re all using, and it’s no wonder our hands are suffering.

3. Medical conditions

Most cases of dry hands are caused by one or both of the above factors. However, sometimes this drying out can be due to an underlying medical or skin condition.
For example, eczema and psoriasis can make our skin dry, flaky, red and itchy. Underlying conditions like atopic dermatitis can cause our hands to suddenly feel dry, rough and inflamed. Dry hands can also be a symptom of diseases, such as diabetes and thyroid conditions. 
If your skin is extremely dry and painful, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice from a doctor or dermatologist.

4. Lifestyle triggers

Many of the common lifestyle factors that negatively impact our bodies, can also play havoc with the skin on our hands:
·       Not drinking enough fluids can cause dry, flaky hands
·       Alcohol dehydrates our body, making skin look and feel drier and less plump. 
·       Ageing skin naturally loses moisture and is generally drier and less elastic.  
·       Nicotine impacts the immune system and can inflame the skin, which can lead to conditions like psoriasis developing.
·       Stress activates our sweat glands, causing us to become more dehydrated and with conditions like eczema or psoriasis, stress can trigger flare ups.

How to prevent dry hands?

The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to keep our hands hydrated and prevent them drying out. 
woman applying Nivea hand cream

1.     Invest in a moisturising hand cream
This is a must. Our NIVEA 3in1 Q10 Anti-Age Hand Cream has a nourishing formula for 24h protective care. Using the skin’s own Coenzyme Q10 and UV filters, it visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles, helps prevent UV-induced age spots with regular use and leaves hands beautifully smooth. 
2.     Protect hands from the sun

We all know that the sun can dry our skin out. Remember to use sun screen on your hands too and protect them from the sun’s drying, damaging effects.
3.     Switch our soap
Although hand washing is one of the big causes of dry hands, we can’t avoid hand washing. Looking for gentler soaps that will both clean and soothe your hands at the same time can prevent irritation
Hands often get overlooked in our skincare routines, but hand care is especially important if you’re prone to dry skin. Discover the complete range of NIVEA Hand Creams. With everything from mild formula soaps to bundles enriched with skin-caring ingredients, it’s easy to find the right product to nourish your hands. 

4. Wear gloves

If you spend a lot of time with your hands in water, wearing gloves is ideal for a layer of protection to stop hands drying out.

5. Avoid heat

Hot air dryers can really dry out the skin as the hot air can over dry the hands. Use paper towels instead and gently pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it which can cause irritation. Similarly, hot water for washing hands and when taking showers is drying on the skin. Use lukewarm water instead. 

How to treat dry hands

Prevention is often the best treatment, but for hands that are extremely dry, cracked and in need of repair, here are some treatment ideas:
NIVEA 3in1 Repair Care Hand Cream with Provitamin B5 brings instant relief to extra dry and chapped hands. Its concentrated formula also deeply repairs dry skin with intensive moisture, plus it provides 24 hour protection for well-cared-for hands all day long. 
There are also a whole host of soothing remedies we can try at home to soothe thirsty hands and replenish our skin’s natural moisture barrier.


Need help choosing the best hand cream? Get some tips on choosing the right product to keep your hands hydrated and happy. 

Hand cream

3 home remedies for dry hands

1. Bathe in oats

Raw or cooked oats can really rejuvenate the skin. Add some to a small bowl mixed with olive oil and soak hands in it for a while, or soak in a bath of oats with water – but remember not too hot. 

2. Exfoliate

Exfoliation can really help to remove dead, dry and damaged skin. Try using a gentle solution at home by mixing olive oil, coconut oil (or any carrier oil, such as jojoba, almond or grapeseed) with 1 or 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Or substitute sugar for salt to make a gentler scrub.

3. Apply aloe vera

With natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s no wonder aloe vera is such a common skin care ingredient. Aloe vera gel is a great natural remedy to soothe dry, rough and chapped hands. Slather on clean hands after a bath or shower to lock in moisture.

Looking after dry hands in winter

two girls smiling

Winter can be harsh on our hands. Even if you usually have smooth, supple hands, the cold weather and heating saps our skin of natural oils, leaving them dry, chapped, rough and red. Here are some ways to prepare and care for our hands during the colder months.
1.     Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
The key is to start moisturising before there’s a problem. Heap on your favourite hand cream and make sure you do this regularly – around 5-6 times a day to seal in moisture and keep your hands protected.
2.     Wear gloves
Talking of protection, putting on gloves in the winter not only keeps the chill away when the temperature drops, but are a must to protect hands on cold days. 
3.     Use a humidifier
Using a humidifier is a good idea during winter to keep moisture in the air. Increased humidity levels will salve dry hands, and soothe them if they are itchy too. It also works in the same way if the skin on your face is feeling dry or you have chapped lips.
For more advice on looking after dry hands and skin in winter, read our Winter Skincare Guide

A few final tips for dry hands

In our busy lives it’s easy to forget to care for our hands, until it’s too late. Make sure you’re prepared with these final tips:
Stock up on hand creams
Keep pots of hand cream next to the wash basin at home and work, and pop one in your bag. That way you’ll always have some to hand and be reminded to use it. Applying cream after washing hands is especially good as moist skin absorbs active ingredients quicker.
Slather at night
Before bed, slather your most moisturising hand cream on your hands then cover with a pair of soft gloves or socks. The moisture soaks in overnight, so you’ll have smoother, more hydrated hands by morning.
Seek advice
Remember, if your symptoms are severe and causing you a lot of pain and discomfort, don’t suffer in silence. It can be a sign of a more serious condition, so contact your doctor for further help and advice.