Your hands are perhaps the busiest part of your body, given that you use them for every task throughout the day. However, most people tend to take these hard workers for granted, often disregarding their need for a bit of “Tender Love and Care.”
The huge demands you put on your hands on a daily basis subject their epidermal or surface skin to continuous wear and tear, which render them rough, dry, and wrinkled.
To counter this damage, you must undertake certain skin restorative self-care measures and therapies to help your overworked hands return to their former glory.
In the absence of proper pampering and protection, your once soft, supple hands will start to look like they belong to a much older individual.
Causes of Dry and Rough Hands
Many factors contribute to dry hands. Some of the common factors that can strip the natural oil from your hands and lead to dryness are:
- Dry air
- Cold weather
- Low humidity
- Sun exposure
- Excessive hand washing or immersion in water
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Swimming in chlorinated pools
- Use of soap bars
Symptoms of Dry and Rough Hands
The common signs associated with this condition are roughness and dryness. In some cases, cracks may also form on the skin. There may also be bleeding.
Simple Ways to Get Relief from Dry and Rough Hands
Here are some home remedies for dry and rough hands.
1. Massage Your Hands Using Olive Oil
Keeping the skin moisturized is of utmost importance in order to fight dryness. If you are looking for a natural moisturizer, olive oil is one of the best options you have.
The antioxidants and healthy fatty acids present in olive oil can help heal dry hands. It keeps your skin soft, supple, and moisturized.
In addition, it offers several antiaging skin benefits.
- Massage your hands using warm olive oil for about 5 to 10 minutes twice a day for soft and smooth hands.
- Mix equal amounts of olive oil and fine sugar. Rub this homemade scrub on your hands using light, circular motions for a few minutes. Wait for 5 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water. Pat your skin dry and apply a light moisturizer. Use this remedy twice a week to soften your hands.
- Include olive oil in your diet.
2. Cleanse Your Skin with Oatmeal
Oatmeal is another great healer of dry and rough hands. It works as a natural cleansing and exfoliating agent without drying out the skin.
In addition, its protein content helps prevent skin dehydration and keeps the skin moisturized.
In a 2012 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, researchers tested the skin-moisturizing properties of oatmeal-based skin care products for dry skin and found them to be safe and effective.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of ground oatmeal, ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey, and a little water to make a paste. You can also add some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Rub this mixture on your hands.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Follow this remedy once a week.
3. Apply Coconut Oil on Your Hands
The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil is great for dry skin and can help heal rough hands. Moreover, it soothes skin damage caused by exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
In a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, researchers found coconut oil to be as effective and safe as mineral oil when applied as a moisturizer.
- Before going to bed, apply warm extra-virgin coconut oil on your hands.
- Massage your hands for about 5 minutes using circular motions.
- Wear gloves overnight for best results
- Repeat this simple remedy daily.
4. Reap the Benefits of Honey
Honey is a natural moisturizer that has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. It helps lock in moisture to keep your hands extra soft and smooth.
It also offers anti-aging benefits for your skin.
- Rub a little honey all over your hands and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Then, rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this one to two times daily for soft hands.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of honey and glycerin. Apply the mixture on your hands, wait for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily.
- Another option is to add a few drops each of lemon juice and olive oil to 2 teaspoons of honey. Apply the mixture on your hands, allow it to dry, and then rinse it off with warm water. Use this remedy a few times a week.
5. Moisturize Your Skin with Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera contains natural moisturizing properties that help the skin retain its moisture.
In addition, it forms a protective layer on the skin and also improves the skin tone.
- Cut open a fresh aloe vera leaf and remove the gel-like substance.
- Apply the gel on your hands and massage your hands gently for a few minutes.
- Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Use this remedy one to two times daily.
6. Yogurt can be Beneficial
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that a yogurt pack with natural ingredients improved the moisture retention, brightness, and elasticity of the treated skin.
- Apply a spoonful of fresh plain yogurt on your hands and gently massage your hands for 5 minutes. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water. Do this daily or every other day.
- Alternatively, mix 3 teaspoons of plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of gram flour (besan) to make a paste. Apply this paste on your hands and allow it to dry on its own. Finally, rinse it off with lukewarm water. Use this remedy one to two times a week.
7. Use a Humidifier
If your hands turn dry quite often, especially in the winter months, using a humidifier can help solve your problem.
Central heating systems, space heaters, and fireplaces cause the air in the room to become too dry. This can ultimately lead to skin dryness.
To solve this problem, use a humidifier that will help adjust the humidity in your house. The moisture added by the humidifier in the air can help alleviate dry skin.
Place a humidifier in your home, especially in your bedroom, to prevent the air around you from getting too dry.
Be sure to clean the humidifier from time to time to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.
8. Sunflower Seed Oil can Provide Relief
Sunflower oil works as a soothing emollient for dry and rough hands.
It contains a number of monounsaturated fatty acids with skin-restorative potential, courtesy of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
A study published in Pediatric Dermatology examined the effect of sunflower oil and olive oil on the skin barrier. The study was conducted on 19 adult volunteers with and without a history of atopic dermatitis.
Results showed that sunflower seed oil exhibited considerable potential for preserving the integrity of the stratum corneum or surface layer of the skin. It was also found to improve skin hydration without any signs of erythema or skin redness.
Based on these findings, it’s safe to say that sunflower oil is beneficial in alleviating different degrees and forms of skin irritation-from a simple case of dry skin to chronic acne and eczema.
- You can also add vitamin E oil to sunflower oil to boost its effectiveness and benefits.
The following remedy is neither backed by scientific evidence nor reviewed by our health experts. Nonetheless, a number of general users have reported an improvement in their condition using this anecdotal remediy.
Use Milk Cream Paste
The high-fat content of milk cream works as a natural moisturizer for dry and rough hands. Also, the lactic acid in it helps exfoliate dry skin and maintain the skin’s pH levels.
- Rub some fresh milk cream on your hands. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse your hands thoroughly with lukewarm water. You can use this remedy daily.
- Alternatively, mix 2 teaspoons of milk cream and 2 tablespoons of gram flour. Apply this paste on your hands. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Do this two to three times a week.
Preventing Dry and Rough Hands
You can keep your hands from becoming dry, hardened, and aged by undertaking certain precautionary steps against the common culprits for damaging and compromising the outermost layer of your skin. These include the following:
- Excessive hand washing is to be avoided as it removes moisture from the skin. Similarly, people who immerse their hands in water for extended periods tend to have chapped, wrinkly hands. Wearing gloves may prove useful in this regard. Moreover, it’s always advisable to moisturize your hands once you’re done washing them.
- Keep your hands protected from dry air prevalent in arid climates and environments by wearing skin-protective gloves or mittens, particularly during the cold, winter months. Insufficient humidity in the environment doesn’t fare well for your skin.
- Conventional soaps tend to dry out the skin by stripping it of its natural lipids. The continued use of harsh soaps without subsequent moisturizing can disrupt the skin’s normal integrity and thereby hamper the process of skin repair. Nonalcoholic, unscented cleansers that come with added oils and fats are your best option.
- If your hands are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis, as in the case of dishwashers and house cleaners, you are likely to have severely chapped hands. To minimize exposure, be sure to wear gloves when dealing with these irritants, and thoroughly wash and moisturize your hands thereafter.
If you have dry and rough hands, don’t lose hope. You can keep your hands soft and nourished with the right skincare routine.
When to See a Doctor
In case there are signs of infection, it is recommended to see a doctor. At times, extremely dry hands may need a prescription ointment or cream to heal.
A dermatologist can examine the hands and rule out the possibility of any kind of infection or other medical conditions that may be causing the problem.
- Do not use hot air dryers to dry your wet hands. Instead, pat your hands dry with some toilet paper or a soft towel.
- Wear cotton gloves when doing household or gardening work. This will help protect your hands from damage.
- Exfoliate your hands at least once a week.
- Use a humidifier in the winter to help prevent the hands from getting rough and dry.
- When working out in the gym, especially with dumbbells and other weights, wear gloves to avoid hard calluses that cause rough skin.
- Before going to bed, apply a hand cream or moisturizer and wear gloves overnight.
- Eat foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients to give your skin a natural glow.
- Drink enough water to keep your skin and body hydrated.
- Gently massage your fingers, palms, and top of your hands for 10 minutes daily to improve blood circulation.
- To protect the skin on your hands from harmful UV rays, apply sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply after washing your hands.
- Do not wash your hands with water that is too hot or too cold.
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- Evidence Brief: Humidifier use in health care. Public Health Ontario. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/eRepository/Evidence Brief_Humidifier_use_in_health_care.pdf. Published 2017.
- Danby SG, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, et al. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatric Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22995032. Published 2013.