As you age, your body tends to make less of the oils that naturally soothe and moisturise the skin. Low humidity levels can also make dry skin worse, particularly in the fall and winter seasons. Neglect, bad habits and frequent hand-washing can lead to excessively dry hands. Whatever the cause, you can soothe and relieve dry, itchy hands by using simple home remedies.
Hand-Washing as a Cause
Frequent hand-washing can make your hands extremely dry. Repeated washing tends to remove the protective layer of oils on the skin, and can lead to chapped, dry skin. People in the medical profession often have this condition, because of frequent hand-washing.
To alleviate dry hands caused by frequent hand-washing, simply try washing just the palms. As crazy as it sounds, the palms withstand hand-washing much better than the thin layer of skin on the back of the hands. After washing the hands, while the skin is still slightly damp after drying, apply lotion and massage thoroughly into the skin. This will help retain the moisture from the water.
Lotion as a Cleanser
Alternate using a lotion as a cleanser with washing your hands. Use an oil-free skin cleanser, massage into your hands, then tissue off. This leaves your hands clean and well-moisturised.
Bath Oil and Topical Treatment
Use bath oil as an alternative to washing with soap. Massage bath oil into your hands to soothe and relieve extremely dry skin. While not quite as refreshing as a lotion cleanser, bath oil effectively moisturises dry skin.
Use topical treatments every time you wash your hands and at bedtime. This means massaging an emollient into your hands on a consistent basis. Start out with a mild lotion, graduating up to a dense cream if necessary. In addition, use petroleum jelly as one of the best and most economical moisturisers available.
Another option is to soak your hands in 4 cups of bath oil and 1 pint of water. Soak for 20 minutes to restore lost moisture into your dry hands. Follow up with a heavy moisturiser. If you can tolerate it, put soft gloves on your hands and wear overnight to soften the skin on the hands.
Consult your physician if you continue to be bothered by excessively dry skin on your hands. You may require a prescription cream or ointment.