Dry Hands In Winter
Do you struggle with dry, cracked hands in winter? If so, you’re not alone. As temperatures drop, so too does the humidity in the air and in general: dry air equals dry skin.
Exposure to cold, dry, wind can sap the moisture from your skin leaving your hands stripped of their natural protective oils and unable to stay hydrated. In fact, according to research published in the British Journal of Dermatology, the skin can lose more than 25% of its ability to hold water during the winter months. To make matters worse, going inside to find relief often compounds the problem as indoor heating can cause what little moisture is left in your skin to evaporate more quickly. The result is painful dry hands that, in severe cases, can make the winter months pretty miserable.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple and cost effective ways to relieve dry hands in the winter.
Below are our top tips to help keep dry hands at bay:
Limit hand-washing & showering
Excessive hand-washing and bathing can strip away the skin’s natural oils causing it to lose moisture. Harvard Medical School recommends sticking to one 5-10 minute bath or shower daily, in lukewarm rather than hot water, in order to maintain the skin’s natural oily layer. When it comes to hand washing, try to avoid harsh soaps containing deodorant or perfumes which can further strip away your natural oils.
Keep moisture in the skin
Apply hand moisturiser immediately after washing your hands and throughout the day. This helps to seal moisture in and protect your skin.
Look for thick, rich creams containing emollients and humectants to maximise hydration. Humectants pull in moisture from the environment to increase the skin’s water content, these include; glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, propylene glycerol, urea and lactic acid. Emollients help lubricate the surface of the skin, and include lanolin, jojoba oil, isopropyl, palmitate, squalene and glycerol stearate to name a few.
Use a humidifier
If you do suffer from dry hands, then think about using a humidifier during the winter months to increase the moisture in the air. A humidity level of around 60% can help to replenish the top layer of your skin.
Avoid alcohol based hand-sanitisers
Alcohol has a tendency to dry out the skin, making matters worse in winter. If you work in a profession that requires frequent hand washing though – for example doctors, nurses and builders – then sanitising gel or wipes have less of a drying effect than soap and water.
Protect the skin from the elements
If you’re working outside, or spending a great deal of time outdoors; make sure to wear mittens or gloves to shield your skin from the drying effects of the cold winter air. If your hands get wet, pat them dry and apply a moisturiser.
Use this guidance to create a skincare routine that works for you. As is the case with most things, consistency is key. Through a combination approach of prevention, protection and repair; dry hands in winter should become a distant memory.