As the weather takes a turn for the worse, the air lacks moisture. The moisture in the skin evaporates. This is compounded by the use of air conditioning and heating systems in all buildings and cars. We go from one extreme environment straight into another. Our hands have to cope with a lot and are exposed to all environment changes and all the chemicals we come into contact with during the day, from the soap/shower gel we use in the morning, every time we wash our hands, do the washing up, other solutions you come into contact with during the course of your working day.
Underlying medical conditions can exasperate dry skin or the dry skin can be an indication of a medical condition. Dry skin can be a sign of Eczema.
A poor diet and a lack of certain vitamins in the diet, like B3 can worsen conditions like dermatitis. Other B vitamin deficiencies can also cause dry itchy skin.
The good news is dry skin is often only temporary, and there are many things you can do to help avoid and treat dry skin.
What can be done to avoid chapped hands?
• Moisturise your hands every time you get them wet.
• Wear gloves as much as possible, especially when cleaning, washing up, when handling chemicals and when out in the elements.
• Use a mild natural soap which is PH balanced for hand washing.
• If you are prone to dry hands, try to avoid alcohol based hand sanitizers as these will dry your hands even more.
• Try washing in warm water instead of hot water. Hot water will dry your skin further, by turning down the heat and limiting your shower/bath time to just 10mins you will be helping your skin.
• The use of a gentle exfoliator will not only help slough off the dead rough dry skin but also increase circulation and help your moisturiser to be absorb.
• Wear a sunscreen – even in the winter. Your hands will still be exposed to the harmful UV rays even on the coldest of days.
• Try to increase the humidity in your home. By simply placing a bowl of water by your radiator will help maintain the humidity in the home.
• Keep a tube of moisturiser in your handbag, car, at work and by your sink. Every time you wash your hands or they are feeling a little tight or dry – get applying the cream.
What can be done to help your sore chapped hands?
• At the very first sign that your hands are getting dry, sore and chapped – moisturise. It is far easier to treat dry hands then cracked bleeding ones!
• Use a rich nourishing moisturiser, not just a light one.
• Dry your hands really well after using water. Water from damp hands will evaporate taking your hands own moisture with it.
• Overnight treatments: apply a thick layer of a rich nourishing cream and wear cotton gloves to bed, in the morning your hands will feel so much softer.
• Paraffin wax treatments added to your manicure will help moisturise and hydrate the skin leaving the hands visibly softer.
• Don’t pick at your dry skin – this will only make matters worse and risk infection.
• If you hand have become cracked, bleed and become infected it is now time to seek medical advice.
Take care of your hands so they can take care of you.