how to help dry hands

Keep dry, cracked hands at bay with the right products and aftercare.

Story highlights:

  • Soap, hot water, and hand sanitizers can weaken your skin’s barrier and lead to dry skin.
  • Using pH-balanced cleansers, cool water, and lotion right after you cleanse can reduce feelings of dryness.

  • To help keep germs or viruses from spreading, it’s imperative to regularly wash your hands. But regular washing can also lead to dry, cracked skin. Here's how to remedy this situation.

    what causes skin on hands to feel dry
    Even a traditional soap-and-water wash can leave your hands feeling dry. That's because your skin naturally contains a protective lipid barrier that helps keep moisture in and irritants out. Soaps, hand washes and hot water can damage this barrier. This allows moisture to evaporate from your skin, leading to feelings of dryness.

    do hand sanitizers dry skin?
    Most hand sanitizers are alcohol-based so yes, they are very drying. Ironically, using them too much may compromise your skin’s natural protective functions. Cracked, dry skin can let germs and irritants in – so it’s important to preserve and protect your skin's barrier when you're using hand sanitizers.

    how to protect hands from dryness
    There are three things you can do to protect your skin from excessive dryness:

    1. use a pH-balanced, conditioning cleanser
    Conditioning or "nourishing" cleansers that are pH-balanced clean skin while preserving its barrier. Some even have soothing properties. Why pH-balanced? Traditional soap tends to be alkaline, which can disrupt skin's barrier and trigger dryness. A pH-balanced cleanser is closer to skin's acidic pH.

    2. wash hands with cool water
    Hot water may feel good, but it dries out and irritates skin. If your hands are prone to dryness, wash them with lukewarm or cool water instead.

    3. apply lotion after washing hands or using hand sanitizer
    Your skin loses hydration within 60 seconds after washing. That is why it is important to apply lotion or moisturizer to hands right away. This helps prevent dryness and reinforce the lipid barrier. Look for ingredients like ceramides, phytolipids, Glycerin, Aloe and Hyaluronic Acid.

    For more advice on how to care for dry skin, consult a professional skin therapist.

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