Countless people dread the consequences of winter on their skin. For many, this includes the presence of dry, cracked hands. This can be unpleasant to look at and also painful. However, you don’t have to suffer. There are things you can do to avoid and alleviate the symptoms of dry skin on your hands this winter. Understanding why dry skin occurs in the first place can help you customize your remedy.
What Causes It?
- While there are numerous conditions that cause dry skin, including psoriasis, contact allergy and eczema, the most common cause of dry skin during winter is irritant dermatitis. Irritant dermatitis develops when the body’s protective skin barrier is disabled and overcome by an outside irritant, such as soap, water, chemicals, or dry air. In the winter, the dry air essentially disturbs the skin barrier and dries it out. When the barrier is cracked, environmental allergens are invited to come in. This leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as redness, itching and inflammation. Some patients may even develop painful fissures in their skin.
What Can You Do?
- There are several steps you can take to avoid dry, cracked hands. First, choose your soap wisely. Opting for a mild soap through the winter months can help you avoid further skin irritation. In addition, try to avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizers, as these are a quick recipe for dried-out hands. Keep the germs away with a moisturizing anti-bacterial soap instead. You may also want to dry your hands with a towel after hand washing instead of air-drying. This is actually gentler on your skin during a cold, dry season. Finally, don’t forget to moisturize!! Choose a lotion with an ingredient called dimethicone, which acts as an added barrier to protect the skin.
If you are still suffering from dry, cracked and itchy hands, see a dermatologist. At Olansky Dermatology Associates, we recommend the latest products and treatment methods in skin care. Because each patient’s skin type is unique, we recommend customized treatment plans to ensure you stay comfortable and confident in your skin through all seasons. Don’t let dry skin by something you dread each year.