When your hands lose moisture, the skin becomes dry and can crack. Aging, eczema and an inherited condition called ichthyosis all cause dry, cracked skin. Such environmental conditions as cold, dry air also can irritate your exposed skin. Older individuals who have suffered an injury also may find their skin takes longer to heal. If the skin on your hands is cracked--but not itchy or painful--at-home remedies may refresh your dry skin.
Wear gloves to protect your hands from cold or dry air. Avoid wearing gloves made from a rough material, such as wool. Wear waterproof gloves when your hands are in water for an extended period of time.
Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of at least 30 on a daily basis, year-round.
Wash your hands with warm--not hot--water. Hot water can irritate dry skin, warns the American Academy of Dermatology.
Limit baths and showers to less than 20 minutes, and bathe in cool or warm water, using a mild soap. Pat dry your skin with a soft towel. Shut the bathroom door to keep the humidity in the room.
Apply a scent-free hand cream with petroleum or lanolin immediately after you wash your hands or bathe. Moisturizers, lotions and creams with chemicals added for scent may irritate your skin, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy--they may help preserve your skin better, recommends FamilyDoctor.org.
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Run a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
If your dry skin doesn't improve or your skin is itchy or painful, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He may prescribe a topical steroid cream to treat certain conditions, including eczema.