How to Hydrate Dry and Cracked Hands?

Frequent hand washing, disinfection, cold weather, and heavy manual work. These are the most common causes of dry hands. Dry skin on the hands looks unsightly and is often accompanied by unpleasant burning, itching, and cracking. Let's take a look at 10 tips that help with dry hands, home remedies, and the best hand creams to use and what they should contain.




What Causes Dry Skin on Hands

Dry skin on the hands can have various causes and can be influenced by a combination of factors:

    1. Frequent hand washing: Regular hand washing is important for maintaining hygiene, but frequent use of soaps and water can remove natural oils from the skin and cause dryness. Dry hands are often a problem for people working in healthcare. 

    2. Use of aggressive cleaning agents: The use of cleaning agents containing aggressive chemicals, such as detergents, disinfectants, or solvents, can irritate and dry out the skin on the hands.

    3. Bathing in a swimming pool and dishwashing: For example, dishwashing or prolonged exposure to swimming pools can remove natural oils from the skin and cause dryness.

    4. Cold and windy weather: Cold weather and strong winds can dry out the skin. Therefore, the problem of dry hands is more common in winter.

    5. Inadequate hydration. Inadequate hydration and lack of moisture in the body affect the hydration of the skin on the hands.

    6. Stress and emotional factors: Stress affects the appearance of the skin. In addition to causing excessive sweating, all emotional problems can manifest through our skin. 

    7. Aging of the skin: With age, there is a natural decrease in the production of natural oils and moisture in the skin, leading to older people more often suffering from dry skin. 

    8. Allergies: When an allergic reaction to certain substances occurs, the body's immune system triggers inflammation, which can cause various skin symptoms, including dryness. Some allergies may be associated with allergic contact dermatitis, which manifests as rashes, itching, and dryness of the skin. This reaction usually occurs after direct contact with an allergen, such as certain substances in cosmetic products, detergents, metals, or plants.


How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on Hands?

Let's take a look at 10 tips that will help you keep your hands beautiful and hydrated. 

1. Wear Gloves When Working, Cleaning, and in the Cold

The skin on the hands is constantly exposed to adverse effects such as cold weather, high temperatures, or aggressive chemicals. These factors cause the skin to become rough and dry. If you really want to have beautiful and smooth hands, it is necessary to use gloves when working, cleaning, and even in cold weather. It is also recommended to use protective creams that thoroughly moisturize the skin.

2. Use Quality Hand Creams

Beautiful hands are not without effort. Use high-quality hydrating creams with effective ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, or aloe vera. These substances help retain moisture and improve skin regeneration. Apply hand cream at least twice a day, especially after washing your hands.

3. Wash Your Hands Properly

Handwashing is essential for maintaining hygiene, but frequent washing or using aggressive soaps can contribute to dry skin. It is recommended to use gentle soap with a balanced pH. Keep in mind that too hot water can dry out the skin. After washing your hands, thoroughly dry them and apply hydrating cream.

4. Try Gentle Exfoliation

Regular exfoliation of hands helps remove dead skin cells and enhance the absorption of hydrating substances. Use a gentle hand scrub and massage in circular motions. After exfoliation, apply hydrating cream to ensure maximum effect.

5. Do an Oil Wrap

Oil wraps are a great way to intensely hydrate and nourish dry skin on the hands. Use natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Apply a generous layer of oil to your hands, cover them with a towel, and leave it on for 20-30 minutes. Then rinse your hands with lukewarm water and dry them. You can do oil wraps once a week for optimal results.

6. Maintain Hydration by Drinking Water

Adequate hydration is crucial for the whole body, including the skin on your hands. Drink enough water every day to keep your skin hydrated from the inside. It is recommended to consume at least eight glasses of water daily.

7. Avoid Excessive Use of Alcohol-based Disinfectants

Excessive use of alcohol and other aggressive disinfectants can dry out and irritate the skin on your hands. If possible, choose alcohol-free disinfectants or use hydrating cream after each use.

8. Consider Your Diet

Do you eat healthily? A healthy diet is essential for overall health and also for the healthy appearance of our skin. After all, the skin is the largest organ of our body. Consume foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. These nutrients support skin hydration and regeneration. Include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole-grain products in your diet.

9. Use a Humidifier

If you have dry air at home or at work, it can have an extremely negative impact on your skin. Dry air can contribute to the dryness of the skin on your hands. Using an air humidifier in the spaces where you spend most of your time prevents excessive skin dryness.

10. Supplement with Vitamins and Minerals

Caring for your skin is not only about external application but also about what we give our body from the inside. Lack of certain vitamins and minerals can affect the health of our skin and contribute to its dryness. It is essential to supplement these nutrients to keep our skin healthy and hydrated.

One of the key minerals for the skin is zinc. Deficiency of this mineral can contribute to excessive skin dryness. Zinc is part of many dietary supplements focused on hair, skin, and nails, and it helps maintain the skin's normal condition.

Another important element is biotin, also known as vitamin B7. Biotin deficiency can lead to extremely dry skin. Biotin supports healthy skin function and contributes to maintaining its natural hydration.

Vitamin C is also crucial for healthy skin. Its deficiency can affect collagen levels in the skin tissue, leading to dryness and cracking of the skin. Collagen is essential for proper healing and skin hydration.

To support healthy skin, it is advisable to include foods rich in these vitamins and minerals in your diet. Dietary supplements focused on hair, skin, and nails can also be helpful in ensuring an adequate intake of these nutrients.

How to Choose the Best Cream for Dry Hands

Let's now look at what to consider when choosing a cream for dry hands.

Hydrating Ingredients to Look For

When choosing a hand cream, the first thing to look at is its composition. The best hand creams contain specific ingredients that have proven benefits.

  • Glycerin is one of the most effective ingredients for hydrating the skin. It has the ability to attract and retain moisture in the skin, helping prevent dryness and keeping the skin smooth.
  • Panthenol is provitamin B5, which has anti-inflammatory properties and supports skin hydration and healing. It is an excellent ingredient for the regeneration of dry and irritated hands.
  • Cocos Nucifera Oil (coconut oil) is one of the key ingredients in many hand creams. This natural ingredient has nourishing and hydrating properties that help keep the skin of the hands soft, flexible, and healthy. One of the main advantages of coconut oil is its ability to penetrate deep into the skin and lock in moisture.

Substances that Protect against Dryness

The best hand creams should contain ingredients that create a protective barrier on the skin, preventing moisture loss, and protecting hands from external influences.

  • Shea Butter is a natural ingredient rich in fatty acids and vitamins. It has excellent hydrating and protective properties that help retain moisture in the skin and prevent drying.
  • Cera Alba, also known as beeswax, is a natural ingredient found in many hand creams. It provides protection and strengthens the skin barrier. It creates a thin protective film that prevents drying and protects the skin from external influences. This helps maintain hydrated, resilient, and healthy skin. Beeswax also contributes to strengthening the skin barrier and retaining moisture.
  • Hyaluronic Acid retains moisture in the skin. This natural substance can bind a large amount of water, contributing to skin hydration and elasticity. Additionally, it creates a protective film on the skin's surface, preventing further drying and protecting the skin from external influences. Thanks to its regenerative properties, it supports skin renewal and helps improve its texture and elasticity. Hand creams with hyaluronic acid are a suitable choice for those suffering from dry hands, needing intense hydration and protection.

Vitamins for Dry Skin

Vitamins play a crucial role in maintaining skin health. The best hand creams often contain vitamins that strengthen and rejuvenate the skin.

  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It also supports skin regeneration and improves its elasticity.
  • Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which is crucial for healthy and elastic skin. It also has the ability to brighten the skin and reduce signs of aging.

Consider Your Skin's Specific Needs

We all have individual skin needs, so it's essential to choose a hand cream that caters to these needs. If you have sensitive skin, look for a cream with gentle and hypoallergenic ingredients. People with very dry skin may consider a cream with intensely hydrating ingredients. If you have a tendency for atopic skin, try creams that are natural and suitable for skin with atopic tendencies. For hands exposed to frequent washing or aggressive environments, a richer cream might be more suitable. If you work on the computer, you might prefer a cream that hydrates without feeling greasy.

What to Watch Out for When Choosing

If you have dry hands, it's good to avoid certain ingredients in creams that could contribute to further drying or irritation of the skin. Some ingredients may have an adverse effect on dry hand skin. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid:

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol-based substances like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol can dry out the skin. Avoid creams containing high amounts of alcohol, especially if you have very dry skin.

  2. Fragrance: Avoid creams with a strong fragrance and opt for products with a gentle, hypoallergenic fragrance or no fragrance at all. "Parfum" may be listed in the ingredients, but it should clearly state that it is hypoallergenic or hypoallergenic perfume or a natural scent.

  3. Silicones: Some silicones, like dimethicone, can create a protective film on the skin but may also clog pores and hinder the skin from breathing. This can worsen skin dryness. Choose creams with lighter, natural oils instead of silicones.

  4. Sulfates: Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), are commonly used as cleansing agents in cosmetic products. These substances can strip the natural oils from the skin and cause further drying. Look for creams without sulfates or with gentler cleansing agents.

  5. Parabens: Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetic products. For some people, they may cause irritation and allergic reactions. Try to select creams without parabens or with natural preservatives.


What causes dry hands?

Allergies, frequent hand washing, disinfecting, and inadequate skin protection in winter or during excessive gardening, dishwashing, or other manual work can contribute to dry hands.

What is the difference between dry and cracked hands?

Dry hands are characterized by a lack of hydration and can be rough, itchy, and lose their natural moisture. On the other hand, cracked hands have fissures or cracks in the skin, which can be painful and even bleed. Cracked hands are often a result of extreme dryness and lack of protection. It is essential to treat both dry and cracked hands to restore their healthy appearance and comfort.

What are the causes of dry and cracked hands?

There are several factors that can contribute to dry and cracked hands. Among the most common causes are frequent hand washing with harsh soaps, excessive exposure to water and humidity, cold weather, inadequate hydration, the use of irritating chemicals, or frequent use of alcohol-based disinfectants. Other factors include genetic predisposition, aging, hormonal imbalances, and various dermatological conditions, such as eczema or dermatitis.

What is the best time to apply hand cream?

The best time to apply hand cream is after washing or exposure to water. After washing your hands, the skin is often dried out, so it's suitable to apply hand cream immediately to restore moisture and the protective barrier. If you are exposed to a dry environment or aggressive substances, you should also apply hand cream to maintain hydration and protection.

Can dry hands be a sign of a health problem?

Yes, dry hands can be a sign of various health problems. For example, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, thyroid issues, or even diabetes can cause dryness and irritation of the skin, including the hands. If you experience frequent and severe dryness of the hands that does not improve with regular care, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist to help diagnose and treat any underlying health problems.

Can winter worsen dry and cracked hands?

Yes, winter can worsen dry and cracked hands. Cold air and low humidity in winter can dry out the skin and cause moisture loss. Cold weather also contributes to exacerbating cracking and irritation of the skin on the hands. It is essential to protect your hands with gloves and regularly moisturize them to minimize the negative effects of winter weather.

What are some home remedies for treating dry hands?

Some home remedies for dry hands include using wraps with coconut or olive oil.

How to make a homemade mask for dry hands?

The easiest way is to mix olive oil with honey. Apply it to your hands and leave it on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Another option is to mix avocado with yogurt. Again, apply for 15-20 minutes and rinse off.

How to choose the best hand cream for dry hands?

When choosing a hand cream for dry hands, it is essential to look for ingredients that provide hydration and skin renewal, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, coconut oil, vitamin E, and beeswax. Additionally, avoid creams containing irritants like alcohol.

How to prevent hands from cracking and bleeding?

To prevent hands from cracking and bleeding, you need to take good care of your skin with quality creams and protect them from external influences.

How to get rid of dry skin on hands?

To get rid of dry skin on hands, it is essential to regularly moisturize your hands. Use quality hydrating creams and oils that contain hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin. Avoid using harsh soaps and irritating substances. Exfoliate your hands regularly to remove dead cells and support skin renewal. If the dry skin on your hands is more severe and doesn't improve, we recommend consulting a dermatologist for further professional care.

How to prevent hands from drying out in winter?

To prevent hands from drying out in winter, it's essential to follow several measures. Wear gloves to protect your hands from cold air. Use quality hydrating creams and apply them regularly. Avoid using too hot water when washing your hands, as it can further dry out the skin. If possible, humidify the air in your environment using humidifiers. Regular water intake also contributes to skin hydration from within.

What are some of the best natural remedies for treating cracked hands?

There are several natural remedies that can help treat cracked hands. Coconut oil is rich in hydrating properties and helps lock in moisture in the skin. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in the healing of cracked skin. Olive oil is another effective hydrating remedy that can restore the moisture of the skin. Honey is known for its healing properties and can help with the healing of cracked skin. To apply these natural remedies, use a small amount and gently massage them onto the affected areas of your hands.

What to do with cracked hands that bleed?

If you have a fresh wound, it needs to be treated. Skin that tends to crack needs better protection. Use quality creams, wear gloves when working and in winter, and avoid chemicals.

What is the effect of a wrap on dry hands?

A wrap for dry hands is an effective method for retaining moisture and hydrating the skin. It can be done using hydrating products like creams or oils, which are applied to the hands, and then a plastic wrap or gloves are placed over them. This wrap helps enhance the effectiveness of hydrating ingredients and prevents their evaporation, leading to better hydration for dry hand skin.


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Lucie Konečná, from nanoSPACE
Lucie Konečná has been working in the field of nanotechnology for 7 years. She is a co-author of the Czech is Nano project and has been involved in building public awareness of nanotechnology. Lucie has been managing operations of the nanoSPACE e-shop since May 2020.