Heal Dry Cracked Hands

Dry, cracked hands can be painful, especially when the weather is cold out. You can also develop dry, cracked hands from washing your hands too often. To address this issue, try using natural remedies on your hands. You can also apply commercial products to your hands and care for them properly so they do not become dry or cracked. Taking preventative measure to protect your hands from becoming dry and cracked will put you ahead of the game.


Using Natural Remedies

  1. Apply olive or coconut oil to your hands. Olive and coconut oil are great natural moisturizers. They can also help to heal any cracks or cuts in your hands due to dryness. Apply a generous amount of olive or coconut oil to your hands. Then, rub in the oil well and let it dry. Re-apply the olive or coconut oil as necessary.[1]
    • If you want to lock the moisture of the oil into your skin, put small plastic bags over your hands once the oil has been applied. Clean wool socks or cloth gloves would also work well. Keep them on for 30 minutes or overnight. Doing this will lock the moisture of the oil into your hands as the oil dries.
  2. Use shea butter on your hands. Shea butter is another good natural remedy for hands that are in desperate need of moisturizing. Apply the shea butter to your hands and let the butter seep into your skin. You can apply the shea butter to your hands as needed throughout the day.[1]
    • You can buy shea butter online or at your local health food store.
  3. Soak your hands in milk and oats. The lactic acid in milk acts a natural exfoliator. The amino acids and silica in oats are good for hydrating your skin. Combine one part milk with one part rolled oats in a bowl big enough to fit your hands. Then, place your hands in the milk and oats. Let your hands soak for 10-15 minutes.[2]
    • After 10-15 minutes, gently rinse your hands off in lukewarm water. Your hands should feel soft and less dry.

Applying Commercial Products

  1. Use vaseline on your hands. Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is great for hydrating your skin and locking in moisture. It can also help to heal cracked skin. Apply a generous amount of vaseline on your hands and let the vaseline dry. Put more vaseline on your hands, as needed, to keep them soft and hydrated.[3]
    • If your hands are really cracked and dry, apply the vaseline on and then put plastic bags or cloth gloves on your hands. Leave the bags or gloves on overnight. You should wake up with softer hands.
  2. Get a hand cream with natural ingredients. Hand creams will provide a thicker protective barrier for your hands than hand lotions. Look for hand cream that does not contain any chemicals, dyes, fragrance, or preservatives. These ingredients can irritate your skin more and make it even dryer. Instead, go for a hand cream that contains natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and oats.[1]
    • You can buy hand cream that is all natural online or at your local drugstore.
  3. Try antibiotic ointment or cream. If your skin is irritated and dry, try applying over the counter antibiotic ointment or cream like Bacitracin or A&D ointment on your hands. You can also apply the ointment then put on cotton gloves and wear them overnight. Keep these gloves in a plastic bag as you will use them over and over if you have to deal with dry, cracked, irritated hands often.
  4. Speak to your doctor about a prescription hand cream. If your dry, cracked hands are really bad and do not get better with over-the-counter remedies, you may need prescription hand cream. Talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for hand cream to treat the issue.[4]
    • Sometimes dry, cracked hands that do not heal with home remedies or over-the-counter creams are a symptom of a skin issue that needs medical treatment, such as eczema.

Caring for Your Hands

  1. Wash your hands with mild, natural soap and warm water. When you wash your hands, avoid using harsh cleaning agents that contain dyes, artificial ingredients, or fragrances. Instead, go for mild soap that contain natural ingredients like olive oil, lemon, or shea butter. Use warm water, rather than hot water, as hot water can dry out your hands.[1]
    • If you find you have to put your hands in hot water often, such as when you wash dishes, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Wear gloves with a soft lining when it’s cold outside. Cold weather can make dry, cracked hands worse. Protect your hands from cold weather by wearing leather or wool gloves that are lined with silk or synthetic materials. The soft lining will help to keep your hands soft and protected.[3]
    • Many glove manufacturers are aware of sensitive skin and well-known brands with a nice lining will protect your hands from the cold. Be sure to try on the gloves before purchasing to ensure they fit well and have a soft lining.
    • Avoid gloves that have a wool lining, as this can irritate sensitive skin.
  3. Moisturize your hands regularly. Get in the habit of applying hand cream to your hands throughout the day, up to six times. Carry a small jar or tube of hand cream in your bag so you can apply it to your hands as needed. Have a routine where you moisturize your hands in the morning and at night before bed so they stay soft and hydrated.[1]
    • Try several different varieties to find the one that works best for you.

Sources and Citations

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