6 Ways To Combat Dry Skin On Your Hands

Dry skin can be a perpetual nuisance for some of us. It can feel like no matter how much lotion we apply, our hands are dry a few minutes later. Slathering on lotion can help bring immediate results — it can even feel soothing for a period of time — yet for some of us, this outcome is not long-lasting.


Washing your hands can dry out your skin. So can exposure to dry, cold air — making winter temperatures less than ideal for those whose hands are prone to dryness. Considering the skin on your hands as part of your regular skincare routine can help protect your skin.

Unsurprisingly, some lotions and moisturizers are more effective than others. Knowing which ingredients to look for in your hand creams and lotions can help prevent your skin from drying out frequently. There are also methods to keep your hands moisturized and tools for preventing dryness that can all be added to your skincare routine for dry skin.

How to get the most out of hand creams and lotions

You may be quick to reach for the nearest hand cream available, which is a completely valid response. However, approaching hand creams with more intention can help address the problem. This includes paying attention to the types of lotions you're using.


There are ingredients you should look out for if you have dry skin. Actively searching for lotions and hand creams that contain humectants, which are ingredients that attract water, is the first step, according to Byrdie. Layering it with products that contain emollients, which hydrate and soothe skin, is the next step before finally applying Vaseline or Aquaphor. This process softens the skin and ensures that the moisture is locked in.

While it's effective, it may be a little bit annoying to have to add so many separate products. There are options like beeswax, which includes both humectants and emollients, Byrdie says. Finding these and keeping them on hand could be helpful for you. Applying them regularly throughout the day can bring about the most benefits and visible results.


The benefits of exfoliation

While it may seem counterintuitive to exfoliate your hands, if done correctly, it can actually be very beneficial. Gentleness is key when selecting a product for exfoliation. Chemical exfoliants are too hard on the skin to be helpful for dry hands. Instead, choosing a cream that contains exfoliants is a smarter and more effective choice. This allows your skin to be moisturized as well as exfoliated all in one go. Applying the exfoliant after showering or bathing can help bring about the best results. You can use a store-bought cream or make your own using ingredients like sugar and olive oil.


Exfoliating your hands, just like any other part of your body, removes dead skin cells. This can aid in creating softer skin on your hands by allowing new skin cells to form. In addition to homemade exfoliants and store-bought creams, you can also use a pumice stone or exfoliant brush to get the job done.

Gloves for protection

Wearing a pair of gloves when washing the dishes or whenever you're exposing your hands to water can help prevent dryness. It's simple: Water dries skin out. Protecting your skin from water with gloves is a great way to prevent dry skin. Gloves can also be an effective measure in the winter when the air is colder and harsher.


In addition to gloves that protect you from water and winter gloves, wearing a pair of cotton gloves at night can be an addition to your nightly routine that results in your hands feeling smooth and soft quite literally overnight.

Before putting on your moisturizing gloves, apply some lotion. You can use your regular cream or add the layers as suggested earlier. Sliding on the gloves once your hands are saturated in the lotion's moisture ensures that it seeps into your skin as well as prevents it from coming off.

Figuring out soap

Obviously, you can't avoid water all day, every day. You're going to have to wash your hands at some point in your day — at multiple points actually. Sometimes you don't have control over which soap you have access to. However, for the soaps at home that you can control, switching them out might just help address the issue of dry skin on your hands.


Ingredients in soap can strip your hands of moisture, which exacerbates the dryness the water already induces. Avoiding soaps with sulfates is step one. Step two is looking for ingredients that moisturize. "Soaps that have ingredients such as aloe vera, vegetable-based oils, shea butter or cocoa butter, milk protein, coconut oil, vitamin E, and glycerin help trap the water in the skin while you are washing," dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare Purvisha Patel, M.D., told Who What Wear.

Additionally, applying lotion or hand cream immediately after washing your hands or working with water ensures that your skin is getting moisturized. Paying attention to the ingredients in your soap and adding hand cream afterward can help keep your hands smooth and soft.


Adding aloe vera

Aloe is another great addition to add to your daily methods of moisturizing your hands. Finding products that contain this plant can be a boost to moisturizing as well as provide numerous other benefits.


Aloe is a plant that looks a little bit like a cactus and is native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, although it's now cultivated in many places with hot and dry climates. Aloe vera gel is commonly used in skincare products to treat a variety of conditions.

Aloe contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, all of which are beneficial to the skin. Additionally, it's known for the antibiotics it carries and its ability to aid in healing wounds. For those with dry skin that cracks and bleeds, this can be especially beneficial. It also soothes skin, which can bring relief if the skin on your hands is irritated.

Relieving stress

Excessive stress takes its toll on the body in a multitude of ways. Just as stress can worsen breakouts on the face for those predisposed to acne, it can also impact the skin on your hands. For those with eczema, it can be particularly important to decrease stress levels since stress can trigger an outbreak.


Stress causes the production of oils in your skin to slow down. "We get dry, rough and much more irritated because those healthy oils act as a protective layer for us," dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., told The New York Times. Replenishing your skin's hydration is crucial in preventing the dryness from worsening; however, addressing the root will serve as a better means of preventing, or at least decreasing, the dryness altogether.

According to Ditch the Label, a quick way to decrease stress can be as simple as finding something to make you laugh; laughter helps relieve tension and reduce stress. Eating a food rich in potassium such as a banana can address heightened blood pressure caused by stress, the outlet says. Doing something creative can also help reduce stress. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant; you can grab a pencil and paper and sketch.