The simple answer to this question is that our hands (along with our faces) are the most exposed parts of our body. Even if you wear gloves in the winter, you will likely have to take them off throughout the day, resulting in exposed skin. Wind and snow work quickly to damage your skin barrier.
Our hands are also the parts of our bodies that are washed and sanitized the most. Hand soaps and hand sanitizer can strip the skin with repeated use each day.
In most cases, environmental conditions are to blame. For example, most people don’t experience skin dryness in the summer when the weather is more humid. In the springtime, there isn’t much skin dryness either. However, it isn’t always the weather that affects the skin. It can be other issues, like chemical exposures, skin conditions, medical issues, allergic reactions, and other similar issues. If your hands are constantly dry, there are a few reasons why this might be happening, which we will discuss in this article.
Excessive Hand Washing
In the past year, people have been washing their hands like crazy. While this is one of the best ways to control the spread of sickness and germs, it does, unfortunately, take a toll on your skin. The top layer of your skin is sensitive and delicate. Even if you try to be gentle, the continual use of soap on the hands combined with rubbing them on a cloth or paper towel starts to wear down the skin, resulting in skin that is irritated, dry, and flaky.
Our natural barrier is also made of oil. The barrier gets broken down even with gentle and mild soaps. Any excessive hand washing will result in stripping the skin of its natural oils. Here are two tips to follow to help minimize the effects of excessive hand washing:
- Wash your hands with warm water. Any extreme temperature (hot or cold) will make the skin drier.
- Pat your hands dry; never rub them. Even if you are using a fluffy, soft towel, rubbing the skin is too rough and will result in dryness and irritation. If you are somewhere that has an air dryer for the hands, you can use that, but keep in mind it is blowing hot air, which can be drying.
Cold Weather Mixed With Heating
In the winter, we are constantly going into varying temperatures and weather conditions. Outside, the weather is freezing cold with rain, snow, and wind. These are all detrimental to our skin and contribute to drying it out.
On top of that, the heat is on in our cars and homes. The heat is already drying to our skin. When combined with the cold weather, it can be a disaster for our skin!
Skin Conditions Such as Eczema
Unfortunately, another reason why your skin might be dry is because of an underlying skin condition such as eczema. This condition is a blanket term for inflammatory skin conditions and dermatitis.
One main symptom of eczema is having dry hands and skin. Cracked, scaly skin is also common, which is why some people mistake eczema for dry skin, especially in the winter. If you suspect you have eczema, it is best to go to your dermatologist and have your skin checked out.
What Products Should I Use to Help With Dryness?
Thankfully, there are a lot of products out there to help with dry skin. And while our hands can seem like the most affected area of our body in terms of dryness, it can really happen anywhere. Our hands seem to pose the biggest annoyance for us because we are continually using them throughout the day for various tasks. No matter where you have dry skin on your body, hydration is key. Check out our suggestions below for keeping your skin hydrated all day long.
For hands that are being washed excessively, we have just the product for you. Our Hand Defense sponge will help you cleanse, gently exfoliate, and moisturize all at the same time. Plus, the sponge works to give you a deeper cleanse compared to just using soap alone. It helps you get to those hard to reach places like your cuticles and underneath your nails, which can easily trap germs if not washed properly. It’s also infused with an antibacterial agent to help fend off germs.
The sponge gently buffs away dead skin, which is notorious for causing flakes and dryness if it is left unremoved. And if all those things weren’t good enough, it’s also made with ingredients that will help soften, smooth, and moisturize your dry hands! Cocoa butter, shea butter, and oatmeal protect the skin and infuse it with moisture.
Another product you need is a good hand cream that will help to lock in moisture and prevent dry skin altogether. Every single time you wash your hands, you should be following up with a decent-sized squeeze of hand cream. There is really no way to get around the constant hand washing right now, and using a high-quality hand cream is your best bet to prevent cracked and red skin. Our cream is infused with hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and macadamia seed oil.
The body can be treated similarly to the hands. However, we are obviously not cleansing our bodies as often as our hands each day. But while excessive washing may not be an issue for the body, extreme temperatures can be. Taking hot showers and then going outside in the cold is drying to the skin. Similarly, being inside your house or car with the heat on and then going into the freezing temperatures is not good either.
You need two things to keep the body hydrated: a good exfoliant and a great body lotion. We recommended our body lotion because it contains ultra-hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, argan oil, avocado oil, and vitamin E. These ingredients work to lock in moisture and keep the skin smooth all day long. You can apply it in the morning, right before you go to sleep, and any time you need an extra boost of moisture.
In order to make your body lotion even more effective, use a body buffer in the shower right before you apply your lotion. Our buffers work to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize the skin. The sponge works to gently remove dead and dry skin, and the other ingredients help to cleanse and nourish it. When you get out of the shower and dry off, immediately apply your body lotion to keep your skin smooth and healthy.
No matter the time of year, our feet are pretty much always dry and cracked if they aren’t regularly taken care of. The skin on the bottom of our feet is just naturally rough and needs to be exfoliated weekly (if not daily). The best way to take care of your feet is by using our pedi buffers. These are specially designed to deal with rough and tough skin. The exfoliating buffer removes dead skin, revealing smooth and soft skin underneath.
The winter weather and excessive hand washing are the two biggest culprits for dry skin. It doesn’t matter if you have a strong skin barrier or a weak skin barrier. Extreme temperatures and scrubbing the skin daily will impact anyone’s skin, regardless of barrier strength. If your skin is reacting to the weather and is irritated from all the hand washing, don’t worry; you aren’t alone. Thankfully, there are a few products, tips, and tricks you can use and follow in order to soothe the skin and keep it hydrated.
The real key to maintaining your hand’s skin health? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! That means moisturize your hands with lotion every time you get out of the shower, every time you wash your hands, and before and after you go out in the cold.
If you want a more intense treatment, you can use certain ointments, such as petroleum jelly, and slather it on your hands before bed. Add a top layer of our hand cream, then cover your hands with a soft pair of gloves. When you wake up in the morning, your skin should be soft and smooth.
COVID-19: How to care for dry hands after washing them so much | UCLA Health
Eczema: Dry Hands May Be Sign of Eczema | MedicineNet
Prevent and Soothe Chapped Winter Hands | WebMD
How to Heal and Prevent Dry Hands | Healthline