Dry, cracked, and flaking hands can be an unfortunate part of winter and the colder months in general. As the weather begins to get cold and dry, your hands will likely be a little drier and more cracked than usual, especially when you take care to wash your hands regularly properly to prevent the spread of germs and illness.

The wintertime is cold and flu season, after all, and it’s important to look after your health first and foremost. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up feeling comfortable in your skin.

Here are our top 7 tips to help you soothe dry skin:

1. Moisturize

soothe dry skin by moisturizingAlmost everybody knows at this point how important it is to moisturize your face and the rest of your body. This can be especially true throughout the wintertime, or any other time when you’re washing your hands regularly. Try to have a lotion handy both in your home near sinks and on the go. That way, you can moisturize whenever you start to feel your hands getting dry.

2. Adjust the shower temperature

Especially when it’s cold outside, you might be constantly fantasizing about that hot shower and not looking forward to stepping out again once you’ve gotten in one. Unfortunately, that can sometimes be detrimental to the health of your skin.

Technically, you should never be taking piping hot showers — warm water is fine, but many people with dry skin find that hot showers can scald the skin and cause damage. Try lowering your shower temperature just a little bit and see you notice a positive change in your skin.

3. Wear gloves when you clean

If you’re somebody who washes your hands a lot, chances are good you also wash the rest of your space frequently, too. Whether you tend to clean with disinfecting sprays, dusters, or brushes, cleaning solutions can be a serious culprit behind dry hands.

Since products like antibacterial and disinfecting wipes tend to disrupt the skin microbiome, it’s important to protect your hands from constant exposure to products that aren’t intended for prolonged, direct skin contact. Make sure that when you are cleaning or even doing the dishes, you put on a pair of gloves to protect your skin.

4. Check the ingredients in your hand sanitizer

look for aloe vera gel in your hand sanitizer to soothe dry skinThough we (and the CDC) recommend handwashing with soap and water over using hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of disease, hand sanitizer usage is still recommended when handwashing is not possible. However, not all hand sanitizers are created equal.

Due to the increased hand sanitizer demand that COVID-19 brought on, for a while, there was a shortage of ethanol, ethyl alcohol, and even high enough strength isopropyl alcohol which caused some manufacturers to use methanol–a toxic form of alcohol–in their sanitizers. The FDA temporarily allowed this, along with other toxic chemicals in order to keep meeting the demand of hand sanitizers. However, the FDA withdrew that allowance on October 12, 2021, since there is no longer a shortage of safer forms of alcohol. On October 4, 2021, the FDA also warned consumers not to use certain hand sanitizers that were found to contain other known toxicants, benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants. Not only are these ingredients toxic, but they are also extremely drying and skin irritant.

Aside from making sure the main ingredient in your hand sanitizer is ethanol or ethyl alcohol, also look for humectant ingredients such as vegetable glycerine or aloe vera which are known to soothe dry skin.

5. Avoid synthetic fragrances

Even if you use moisturizer or lotion regularly, you might still notice that your skin isn’t reacting very well to whatever you slather on. If this tends to be the case, check and see if your lotion contains synthetic fragrances.

Even though some people aren’t quite as sensitive to artificial scents and synthetic fragrances, they can often cause a drying effect and unnecessary skin irritation. If you know that you are already sensitive to fragrances, it’s better to be safe than sorry by seeking out fragrance-free products instead. Note: fragrance-free is not the same as “unscented.” Believe it or not, unscented is still a synthetic fragrance.

6. Take oatmeal baths

oatmeal baths work really well to soothe dry skinYou might already be familiar with the magic that an Epsom salt bath can work in your life. But did you know that you can use oatmeal to heal your skin in a similar way? Not only can oatmeal baths relax and calm you, but they also introduce a layer of protection and moisture to soothe dry skin.

If you’re looking for that spa experience, an oatmeal bath is definitely the way to go. If you don’t have time to soak your whole body, you can even make a mini bath just for your hands.

7. Get a humidifier

Even if handwashing is the primary culprit of your dry skin, the dryness of the air throughout the winter months definitely doesn’t do you any favors. If you notice that the colder months tend to bring on dry, cracked skin; then you might want to invest in a humidifier for your home.

Humidifiers impact the entirety of a space, but that might be an added bonus if dry air tends to bother you all around. You can even put a drop or two of your favorite essential oil into the water to diffuse it and uplift your space while it nourishes your skin. We recommend a cool-mist humidifier, but be sure you clean it and change the filters as directed to prevent mold growth.

Soothe dry skin in your everyday choices

woman wearing gloves and a mask while cleaningWhether you simply want to prevent dryness or you’re looking to soothe dry and damaged skin, there are so many ways that you can go about it. From moisturizing regularly, to checking your ingredient labels, to wearing gloves when you clean, you can keep your hands soft and smooth this season.

Simple lifestyle upgrades can make a world of difference to your clients’ skin

We dedicate a large percentage of our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program (CNAP) curriculum specifically to lifestyle practices that are conducive to healthy skin. You’ll also learn how to teach your clients how to implement positive lifestyle changes into their daily lives. Learn more about our professionally accredited CNAP Training Program, download our syllabus, and enroll today!

About the author:

Mia Barnes is the Managing Editor of Body+Mind and an online writer on all things beauty and wellness. Her favorite topics to cover include sustainable skincare and nutrition.