Dry Hands: Causes and Treatments
Recommended Products for Dry Hands
Protect Your Hands Whenever You Can
It is of vital importance to protect your hands from dish detergent, laundry detergent, excessive washing, and irritating ingredients, and also when doing potentially irritating manual activities such as yard work or sports. Wearing gloves to prevent contact with these types of products and ingredients is of the utmost importance. However, a significant number of women may find they are allergic to latex gloves. About 10% of the population have negative reactions, ranging from mild to severe, if they come in contact with latex. If this turns out to be a problem, ask your physician or pharmacist where you can find nonlatex gloves.
Whenever You Think of It, Moisturize!
The faster you get an emollient moisturizer on your hands after washing, and the longer you can keep it on, the better. (Note: Any good, emollient moisturizer will work—it does not have to be labeled "hand cream" to be used on the hands.) It helps to keep small tubes or bottles of moisturizer all over the house, including near the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, at the bedside, and in the garage. Keep more in your car, purse, briefcase, and desk drawer. That way it is never out of reach for a quick application. The best moisturizers for daytime are moisturizing sunscreens whose active ingredient is avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. As an added benefit, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide an occlusive barrier that can act as a protective layer to retain moisture in the skin while keeping the sun's rays off the skin. (Bear in mind that brown "sun spots" on the back of hands and arms are a direct result of relentless, daily, unprotected sun exposure.)
Over-the-Counter Options for Dry Hands
Paula's Choice Lip and Body Treatment Balm, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula, and Aquaphor by Eucerin, to name a few are all excellent moisturizers to use at night. The best approach is to apply moisturizer every chance you get. It is also incredibly helpful to purchase an over-the-counter cortisone cream such as Lanacort or Cortaid to help treat cracks and fissures that may occur, but cortisone creams should only be used intermittently, not on a regular basis (and it would be applied before your hand cream). Severely dry hands can also benefit from overnight treatment with moisture-infused gloves. These unique gloves are lined with a synthetic material that slowly releases moisturizing ingredients as they are worn. Several companies offer this type of product; a quick online search will show you the options!
Cuticles Need Love, Too
If your cuticles are also dry and/or cracked, make sure to moisturize them often with a balm or oil-rich product. Those that come with a brush-on applicator so you can easily coat the cuticle and nail are brilliant, not to mention convenient and portable! Keeping cuticles in top shape will automatically make your nails look better and should help them grow better, too!
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