It can be very easy to forget taking care of your hands. We use them every day to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, yet the skin on the hands seemingly takes such a small part of our bodies that remembering to take care of them can slip through our mind.
It can really go unnoticed how dry skin suddenly can turn into cracked and severely painful skin that needs to be managed.
With Father's Day coming up, we looked at some of the ways you can take care of the skin on your hands or recommend this article to the people who often forget to take care of themselves - our Fathers and Grandfathers.
What causes dry skin on hands?
Dry skin of the hands is caused sometimes by skin diseases such as various types of eczema. Effective treatment begins in these cases with finding the cause, so talk to your doctor if you have a skin condition affecting your hands and this is worsening despite the fact you’re following general skincare measures.
However, more common causes of dry skin of the hands are environmental and work conditions. Harsh weather, hard work, contact with chemicals and frequent hand washing with strong soaps can cause dry skin and the dryness of the skin may lead to itching, peeling and fissuring of the hands.
What can I do to take care of my dry hands?
Dry hands and hands affected by skin diseases must be managed according to severity. But generally speaking, preventing a skin condition from flaring or just soothing dry hands can be helped with the right skincare routine.
You need a good routine particularly when you work in one of these high-risk occupations: catering, construction, health services, hairdressing, or motor vehicle repair. If you do have a job which does involve risks for your hands, you can take these four simple steps to prevent skin problems.
Protect the skin from contact with substances or products when possible. Use suitable personal protective equipment such as gloves. Discuss with your occupational health provider what type of gloves is appropriate for the work you do. In case of contamination wash your skin promptly and thoroughly.
Incorporate skin-friendly hand hygiene measures. Keep in mind that over-exposure to water and soap is very drying for the skin, and can cause damage to the skin's natural barriers. Try to limit the time your hands spend in water. If your job requires you to have a lot of contact with water, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Use warm water rather than hot and use oil-based moisturizing soap substitutes (e.g. Oilatum Soap Bar or Sebamed Cleansing Bar) instead of normal soap. Pat your hands dry with an absorbent dry towel; rubbing can irritate the skin further.
Apply a moisturiser liberally and often throughout the day. Moisturizers have been proven to help support the skin's natural barriers, aiding in keeping in moisture while also protecting the skin from irritants, so try and incorporate the regular use of a good moisturizer as part of your daily routine.
Moisturising products vary in consistency and effectiveness depending on their fat content. In general, the higher fat content a product has, the better it is to treat dry skin. We suggest using a moisturising product specifically designed for very dry skin, which is enriched with ingredients such as ceramides and urea that help restore better the skin’s barrier function and moisture level. For example, try Flexitol Hand Balm with 10% urea, Eucerin's Repair Plus Hand Cream with 5% urea or Burt's Bees Therapeutic Hand Cream.
Continue the hand care routine after your shift at work ends. Use appropriate gloves at home as well, when gardening or washing dishes.
Use a thicker moisturiser like an ointment at night (e.g. Diprobase Ointment or Zeroderm Ointment) or and wear gloves (e.g. Tepso Gloves) while sleeping to keep the emollient on your hands and stop the bedclothes getting greasy. This will help to keep your hands moisturized and ready for a new day of work.