Rough Hands: 10 Ways to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands

Rough Hands: 10 Ways to Heal Dry, Cracked Hands

Everyone experiences dry skin from time to time. Everyday activities and exposure to environmental factors can make you susceptible to dry hands. While the discomfort may be minimal, symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated, leading to severely dry, rough hands. Fortunately, some small changes coupled with the right products can help heal and nourish dry skin on hands to reveal beautiful, healthy-looking skin.


Skin that's dry to the touch may just need an extra dose of moisture. However, sometimes skin exhibits more unsightly and uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Rough or Scaly skin
  • Itchy Skin from dryness
  • Flaking
  • Red Skin
  • Extra Dryness Near the Nails, Fingertips, or Palms
  • Clusters of Small, Sensitive Rough Patches

There are many reasons people experience extra dry skin on their hands. Understanding these common causes can help you create a more effective hand care routine to protect your skin.

Environmental Factors

Cold, dry winter weather can do a number on your skin. Overexposure to the sun's harmful UV rays can also cause irreversible damage and dryness. Your hands are particularly susceptible because they are often exposed to the elements more than other parts of your body. While you should be mindful of outdoor conditions, dry air indoors can also be harsh on your hands.

Genetics and Aging

Those who are born with particularly dry or sensitive skin can struggle with chapped hands at any time. As you age, your skin experiences a drop in natural oil and collagen production, making it even more susceptible to dryness. This is especially true of those in their late 30s and beyond.

Lifestyle Choices

While choosing the right products is important for your skin, it's also necessary to nourish it from the inside out. If you’re not properly hydrating your body or giving it the right nutrients, you may experience dry skin or other skin issues. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can also dry out your skin.

Daily Habits

Frequent handwashing--although necessary for proper hygiene--can dry out your hands. The combination of harsh cleansers and forgetting to moisturize can lead to irritated and chapped hands.

Medical Conditions

Certain pre-existing conditions can make you prone to extremely dry hands. If you’re concerned that chronic dry skin may be connected to a medical condition, make sure to talk to your doctor.


10 Ways To Get Rid of Dry Skin on Your Hands

Extra dry skin can be unsightly and uncomfortable and can even affect your ability to carry out everyday tasks. However, following our simple yet effective tips can help you get rid of dry, rough skin and prevent it from coming back.

1. Switch to a gentle, moisturizing hand soap

Some cleansers are harsh on your skin and don't include hydrating ingredients to help replenish vital oils and nutrients. Try switching to a moisturizing hand soap for a thorough clean that nourishes your hands instead of worsening your dry skin.

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2. Use an ultra-healing hand cream

When you're battling dryness and redness, you need more than a basic body lotion. Opt for a thick, rich formula that's specifically designed to hydrate and heal your dry skin, like a healing hand cream.

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3. Look for moisturizers with shea butter

Reapplying the right moisturizers will get you a long way. Look for moisturizers with shea butter to heal your dry hands. Shea butter has a high concentration of vitamins that help to soften your skin to the touch and boost moisture.

4. Wear gloves when cleaning, dealing with harsh chemicals, or during the winter

Few things can zap your hands of moisture faster than harmful cleaning chemicals. Even milder dish soaps can still strip your skin of healthy nutrients. Whenever you're cleaning or washing dishes, be sure to put on a pair of reusable gloves first. Cold, dry air can make chapped hands even worse, so be sure to protect them from the elements with warm, well-fitting gloves.

5. Wear sunscreen on your hands when outside

Many people apply sunscreen daily to their faces and necks but completely neglect their hands. Apply sunscreen to your hands every day to help ward off dryness and sun damage. While SPF 15 is enough to lower your risk for skin cancer, many dermatologists recommend an SPF of 30 to fight signs of aging.

6. Blot your hands

Rubbing your hands with a towel can also cause more friction and dryness. To avoid getting rough hands, be sure to blot them dry and apply moisturizer while it’s still damp.

7. It’s okay to exfoliate now and then

Exfoliating helps to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface. To open your hands to regenerating newer, softer skin, try to exfoliate them every 1-2 weeks to remove dead skin cell buildup.

8. Apply a thick moisturizer before going to bed for overnight nourishment

Skin is prone to dehydration at night, so it's especially important to moisturize before bed. Try applying a nourishing body butter to your hands before going to bed.

9. Drink water to keep your body and skin hydrated

Hydrated skin starts from the inside out. If you’re dehydrated, your skin may look dull and dehydrated as well. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to properly hydrate your skin and body.

10. Avoid scratching or picking at your skin

Constantly touching and scratching dry skin can make dryness even worse. Instead of picking at dry skin, apply a dry skin moisturizer designed to soothe dry, itchy skin.



When to Talk to Your Doctor

Even though dry rough skin on hands is a relatively common condition, serious cases may require medical attention. If your symptoms become severe or inhibit everyday activities, it may be time to visit a doctor. You should make an appointment with a professional if you notice:

  • Persistent cracking or inflammation that doesn’t improve with proper home care
  • Redness that lasts for long periods.
  • Pain, especially if it doesn't respond to home treatments or worsens over time
  • Fissures in the skin
  • Swelling around fingers and hands
  • Pus, oozing, or weeping sores
Severely dry skin with these symptoms can lead to scarring, infections, or other complications if left untreated. Persistent symptoms could also be a sign of a serious medical problem that requires a professional diagnosis and treatment.

Tips for Healing Chapped Hands

Dealing with seriously dry skin can be a challenge. By consistently taking care of your hands, you can see a significant improvement in the look and feel of the skin on your hands.

  • Keep hand creams and lotions in easy-to-access locations throughout your home. Don’t forget to moisturize after washing your hands.
  • Choose a hydrating hand soap to effectively clean your hands without overdrying.
  • Hand sanitizers can help kill germs but are especially drying for your skin. Look for more hydrating options to minimize dryness.
  • Nourishing your hands with overnight treatments. Before bed, slather on a thick coating of hand cream and pull on a pair of soft gloves or socks. This intensive treatment can help heal dryness by allowing the moisturizers to absorb more fully.