What's Really Drying Out Your Hands?

As the body part most exposed to the elements, it’s no wonder our hands need added protection. Factor in a society-wide fear of germs and inherently thin skin, and the hands are primed to be overdried and damaged. Fortunately, there are ways to soothe and treat them, and prevent additional problems from arising.

According to Boca Raton, FL, dermatologist Robyn Siperstein, MD, overdrying is the most common issue facing hands. “We wash our hands too often and don’t replace the moisture that’s removed by hard soaps,” she says. “Every time we wash our hands, it strips away the naturally occurring protectants that we need.” 

So, how can we combat this problem and save the shield that locks moisture in? “It is important to apply a good moisturizer every morning, as well as every time you wash your hands to replace the barrier,” explains Dr. Siperstein. If you wash your hands frequently, use a nonsoap cleanser from brands like Cetaphil, Eucerin or CeraVe, which aren’t as stripping. 

Another culprit? Dishwashing. Dr. Siperstein suggests wearing gloves while washing dishes or doing any activity that keeps your hands submerged in water for a long period of time. “Gloves will keep your skin away from unnecessary contact with soaps and harsh chemicals.”