Houston dermatologist explains how to treat dry or cracked hands

HOUSTON – Regular and thorough handwashing is necessary to help prevent the spread of disease -- but it can also lead to dry, cracked skin. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Board certified dermatologist, Dr. Sherry Ingraham with Advanced Dermatology, shares tips to keep our hands soft and healthy.

According to Ingraham, if you are experiencing any unfortunately changes in your skin these days, you might be forgetting to apply hand cream.

Washing hands.
Washing hands. (AlexRaths)

“You’re doing the right thing, staying home, you’re staying smart, washing your hands 20, 30 times a day, but we don’t always necessarily moisturize after we wash,” said Ingraham.

“Not applying hand cream can lead to dryness, redness, itching, flaking, discomfort and in severe cases, cracks in the skin. Those with preexisting skin conditions like eczema can experience worsening symptoms,” said Ingraham, who suggests the following handwashing routine to avoid dryness.

“Apply enough mild, fragrance-free soap to remove dirt, but avoid using so much that it creates a thick lather—this washes away natural oils. Wash with warm, not hot water, for at least 20 seconds, patting your hands dry with a towel. Once your hands are dry, apply a moisturizer immediately,” said Ingraham, who stresses about putting the moisturizer on top of your hands, fingertips and knuckles.

young woman putting moisturizer onto her hand with very dry skin and deep cracks
young woman putting moisturizer onto her hand with very dry skin and deep cracks (iStock)

To care for dry skin, keep in mind that products containing fragrance, acids or retinoids can be irritating to chapped, sensitive skin.

If you need some suggestions for products, Ingraham recommends Cerave cream, La Roche-Posay lipikar balm cream and Aveeno Eczema therapy cream.

“If you’re at home and you’re caretaking for someone, make sure you’re using a jar of cream like Cerave, write your name on it, so other people aren’t putting their hands in your jar,” said Ingraham, who also suggests wearing gloves before wiping down your house with antibacterial or Clorox wipes.

“Those wipes are very strong, and they can irritate your hands, especially if you’ve already over washed your hands,” she said.

For more tips and Ingraham’s complete interview, watch the video above.

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