Winter doesn’t love your hands, that´s a fact! Cold outside, hot and dry air inside can make your hands’ skin dry, itchy, chapped and rough especially if it is not properly moisturized and protected.
In addition, often washing of the hands during the winter due to the increase of common winter illnesses can also affect the skin’s ability to retain water because the hydrolipidic film, which protects the skin, gets damaged resulting in the reduction of the lipids’ production.
Since the production of lipids gets reduced, the skin cells can’t hold water and that’s how the skin becomes dry and chapped.
So, what can we do not only to treat dry and chapped hands but also prevent the appearance of dry, rough and chapped skin during the winter?
Use gentle cleansers
Washing hands makes skin drier but since we can´t avoid washing our hands, it is at least recommended to stop using harsh cleansers like soaps or other formulas that contain foaming agents such as SLS and other chemicals.
Avoid antibacterial soaps, fragrance soaps or soaps that create a lot of foam because they contain surfactants that damage the hydrolipidic film of the skin. Also, avoid products that contain alcohol since alcohol dries and can irritate the skin.
Alternatively, you can use cleansers that are free of soap or if you can’t do without cleansing your hands with a soap, try creamy soaps, soaps made with natural and organic ingredients or liquid soaps that are rich in lipids which soften and nourish the skin.
Keep your hands adequately moisturized
A good hand cream that effectively moisturizes and absorbs fast without leaving your hands greasy is what everybody needs in winter but depending on how serious the skin condition of your hands is, you should go for a more specialized and effective hand product.
A good cream should not just give you a temporary feeling of relief that will vanish in a few minutes leaving your hands still dry and chapped but it should be effective enough not only to soften but slowly to heal your dry and chapped skin. It should also be protective enough to prevent any future dryness.
That is what Pai Instant Hand Therapy Cream can offer, one of my favorites out there. Also, shea butter is another favourite ingredient for skin dryness and you can find more in our review of the best shea butter hand creams.
To protect your hands from aging, you can wear sunscreen hand creams or just apply some drops of vitamin C serum on your hands before applying your normal cream which will provide you with some sun protection.
Other ingredients to look for in hand cream is lactic acid and urea which have emollient properties that are useful for very dry skin. Lactic acid also works as a pH stabiliser deriving from plants.
Glycerine has hydrating properties while hyaluronic acid is great at retaining water in your skin. In this case, hand creams with hyaluronic acid and other good natural ingredients can work excellent or you can use a hyaluronic acid serum before applying your cream.
Hydrating, skin softening and nourishing natural oils to look for in hands creams are castor oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, fragonia oil, rosehip oil, vitamin E oil and others.
Also, Sea Buckthorn, which is an effective oil used in one of my favourite body lotions for dry skin, the Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion made with organic and biodynamic ingredients. Lovely and very effective product!
There is also available a Weleda Sea Buckthorn Organic Hand Cream which I am sure it is of the same great quality as the body lotion and gathers excellent reviews.
Generally, keep in mind to use your hand cream daily and at any time you feel that your hands skin is dry or itchy.
Beware of the hot temperatures
The cold temperatures damage the skin leading to dryness but when your frozen hands come into contact with hot water, the skin becomes even drier. So, remember to use lukewarm water in winter without rubbing your hands hard. In the end, just tap them dry with a soft towel.
Do you know the trick with the gloves?
Apply a rich amount of cream on your hands, put on a pair of cotton gloves and then go to sleep. Next morning, your skin will feel super soft and regenerated as long as you can sleep with the gloves on of course!
Finally, Don’t forget!
Always wear your plastic gloves to wash the dishes or cleanse any house areas that you know your hands will come into contact with water and cleansing products.
If after following for at least two weeks the above tips to treat dry and chapped hands, you notice that your skin still remains dry, then it is better to visit your dermatologist.