Dry & chapped hands • What helps the skin?

Many people struggle with dry hands in winter, others suffer from cracked skin on their hands all year round. Mostly external influences are to blame, but a faulty diet or illnesses can also be causes. How the skin becomes supple again.

Regular hand washing is one of the most important measures to protect against pathogens. Because thorough hand hygiene interrupts transmission paths. However, washing also attacks the skin, which can result in dry, chapped hands. There are also other causes that attack the skin’s natural protective film and lead to the skin drying out.

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Treat and care for dry hands

Those who suffer from dry skin on their hands should moisturize them. Otherwise the skin cannot fully fulfill its protective barrier function and pathogens can enter the body more easily. In addition, if left untreated, dry, cracked skin can develop into hand eczema, which can become chronic and, in the worst case, lead to occupational disability.

Regular creaming with high-fat products helps, especially in cold temperatures, preferably immediately after washing your hands and in the evening in bed before going to sleep. A banana quark mask can be used as more intensive care: To do this, mash a banana and mix it with quark. Put the mass on the hands and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. Then take it off and wash your hands with lukewarm water.

Hand cream for very dry, chapped hands

If the skin is very dry and cracked, it needs a lot of care in the form of creams, lotions or balms – milking fat can also be used. Suitable ingredients are urea (urea), jojoba, coconut, almond and wheat germ oil or shea butter, which provide the body with the fat it needs. Additives such as panthenol, pantothenic acid, allantoin or vitamin E also help to rebuild the protective film on the skin. Which active ingredients help in individual cases and which ratio of fat and moisture should have can be inquired at the general practitioner, in the pharmacy or in the cosmetic studio.

The skin care should be free from mineral oils (paraffin), as it dries out the hands in the long run, the same applies to alcohol. Additives such as dyes and fragrances should not be included in the care products if possible, as they further irritate sensitive skin.

Causes of dry hands

Healthy skin contains a protective film of water and fat (hydrolipid film), which repels pathogens and retains moisture in the layers of the skin. The fat is produced in the sebum glands. On the back of the hand, however, the hands naturally have only a few sebum glands, on the inner surfaces there are none at all. There are also few sebum glands on the feet, which is why many people struggle with dry feet.

Other causes of dry hands:

  • Deficiency in vitamin A, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin E and biotin

  • Iron deficiency

  • Low fat diet

  • Insufficient fluid intake

  • Stress and mental stress

  • Hormonal fluctuations

  • Skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, psoriasis, chronic hand eczema

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  • Hypothyroidism

  • Extreme weather conditions: cold, heat, wind, solar radiation

  • Wash with water that is too hot

  • Age (the skin produces less and less moisture)

  • Medicines, for example diuretics, beta blockers or cytostatics

  • Genetic predisposition to dry skin

  • Wrong care products

  • Detergents and chemicals

  • Professions in which the hands are exposed to heavy loads every day (for example in the bakery, hairdressing salon, flower shop or as a dental technician)

Signs of dry hands

As a rule, very dry, cracked hands feel like parchment paper, and lines and fine cracks appear on the skin. If the hands are very dry, the skin can be red and flaky, in severe cases even bloody, often with pain. In addition, those affected often feel itching, burning or tightness in the skin.

If itchy blisters form on the skin, the fingers and palms have inflamed areas, or the skin on the fingertips is peeling off, hand eczema or neurodermatitis may be present. The function of the hands can also be restricted. In all such cases, sufferers should seek medical help as they are skin diseases that should be treated medically. It is important that you do not scratch with eczema, as the affected areas can become inflamed.

How can you prevent cracked hands?

So that it doesn’t get that far and your hands get cracked, you can take a few protective measures yourself.

  • Drink a lot: 1.5 to 2 liters of liquid should be drunk per day in order to keep the body’s water balance in balance.

  • Nourishment: For intact skin layers, vitamins A, B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid), E and biotin, the minerals zinc and iron and omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish, avocado, walnuts, linseed oil, algae oil) should be consumed regularly.

  • Water temperature: When washing your hands, it is better to only use lukewarm water, as hot water attacks the skin and continues to dry it out.

  • Soap: In order not to damage the protective acid mantle of the skin through hand washing, people with dry skin can use a pH-neutral or moisturizing hand soap or washing oil.

  • Creaming: After washing your hands, showering and bathing, it is best to apply cream to your hands. Depending on your skin type, use the right skin cream that is ideally absorbed quickly.

  • Gloves: In winter, warm gloves protect against the cold, which puts additional strain on the skin. Household rubber gloves also offer good protection when cleaning, handling chemicals and cleaning agents. It is best to buy one size larger than the actual hand size so that the skin has air to breathe. Reusable ones are cheaper than disposable gloves and good for the environment.

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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