Because my family lives in the desert, dry hands are a chronic problem for all of us. The dry air robs our hands of moisture which leaves dry patchy areas on the palms and knuckles, and splits the skin around the fingernails. Taking care of dry hands naturally means more than applying gobs of organic lotion to our hands several times a day. It also means changing our habits, our diet, and how we work.
If you are suffering from dry skin on your hands, here are some of the natural ways our family solved the dry skin problem.
1. Drink more water. Did you know that the human skin is 44% water? If you’re not much of a water drinker, including several glasses of water in your diet may improve skin dryness. While drinking more liquids won’t improve skin if you are already well hydrated to begin with, it does seem to benefit those of us who aren’t drinking enough.
2. Wash your hands less & use natural soaps with moisturizers. For the few decades or so, our country has seen an obsession with hand washing. While there’s no arguing that hand washing does slow the spread the germs, it’s not something that needs to be done every thirty minutes. Soap ~ especially antibacterial soap ~ strips out the natural body oils that keep hands soft. Cutting back on the hand washing and using natural soaps with moisturizers will restore your hand’s natural oils and eliminate dryness.
3. Stop using hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer is amazingly convenient, it’s not a product that should be used in lieu of washing with soap when this option is available. Most quality soaps come with a moisturizer which helps maintain the balance of the natural oils found in your hands. Hand sanitizer strips out the oils without putting anything back.
4. Wear gloves. Many homemakers already use gloves to protect their hands while washing dishes and cleaning the house. Gloves should also be worn during yard work, when out walking, driving, cycling, or any time you are outdoors when it’s cold, wet, or windy. Gloves provides a barrier between your hands and the elements that strip the moisture right out of them.
5. Use lukewarm water for bathing and hand washing. While we all love those hot baths in the winter, hot water will also pull the moisture out of skin. Washing the hands with lukewarm water seems to the key here in reducing both dry skin and winter chapness.
6. Run a humidifier. In our home, humidifiers are must-have winter appliances that prevent dry coughs and dried out nasal passages. We’ve noticed that a little humidity also improves dry skin and hands while cutting down on winter colds.
7. Change your diet. What you eat also affects the suppleness of your skin, including the hands. A diet high in fruit, vegetables, and nuts can provide your skin with the vitamins and minerals needed to repair damaged hands and keep the skin lubricated naturally. Foods that can contribute to skin dryness include alcohol, caffeine, and fried foods which should be avoided when tried to repair dry hands and skin.
8. Rub your hands with olive oil. To soften hands that suffer from dry skin, rubbing them with olive oil is a natural and low cost way to fix areas of dryness. To restore my badly damaged hands during the winter months, I’ll apply olive oil liberally to my hands just before bedtime and cover them up with $1 stretchy gloves. A couple of days of this regime usually solves the problem of dry hands.