Fresh Living

Fresh Living

Tips to Relieve Winter-Chapped Hands

winterhands.jpgIt’s amazing how fast my hands seem to go from their usual relative suppleness to a nightmare of dry, cracking, and bright red irritation.  I can time this change almost to the minute to when the temperature first slips below freezing – or the first day that can legitimately be described as “blustery.”

Dry, cold winter air strips all of our skin of nourishing oils, especially the face, lips, and hands.  I’ve spent some time investigating ways to relieve the dry-hand issue–not only because it looks ugly, but because when it’s bad, I find it hard to type, cook, and do other things that, you know, keep me alive and happy. 


5 Tips to Relieve Winter-Chapped Hands

1.  Moisturize Yourself Silly:  There are many products that will deliver moisture to your hands, but I prefer a paraben-free lotion, or even better, a fast-absorbing oil.  I use JASON’s organic vitamin E oil.  It smells great, moisturizes like crazy, and if I’m careful to rub the backs of my hands together, I don’t leave any greasy fingerprints around the house.  In dire dry-skin situations, you can even puncture a regular vitamin E capsule with a safety pin and squeeze the liquid love right onto your poor thirsty hands.

2.  Keep it Lukewarm:  Only hot water kills germs, I can hear my mother saying.  But if you wash your hands (which you do often for flu prevention, right?!) in too-hot water, you are stripping moisture out of your skin and causing it to shrink back and crack.  So wash–and shower–in lukewarm water, not the piping hot stuff.


3.  Exfoliate:  It might sound counter-intuitive to suggest you strip away layers of skin at this dry time of year.  But it’s a great hand-protector to do so regularly, because those dry, cracked areas of your skin are actually dead…and once they’re gone, fresh, nourished skin can show itself.  You can make a home exfoliator by just mixing a small handful of kosher salt with a few glugs of olive or grape seed oil–moisture and exfoliation in one shot!

4.  Cover Up:  If it’s cold outside, your hands should be covered up before heading out, period.  Not only will your gloves keep heat from escaping your body, they will act as a barrier between your skin and the bracing elements.  Better still, slather on some moisturizer before you slide your hands into your gloves or mittens (the cuter the better!).


5.  Avoid Air Hand-Dryers:  Right up there with cold, dry air is hot, dry air.  So if you’re washing your hands in a public restroom with a blow-dryer instead of paper towels, shake off the excess (lukewarm) water and put your coat or sweater to the test to get your hands completely dry.  Your digits will thank you.

Please add your ideas for surviving winter hand dryness in the comments!

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  • Peta

    All good advice but is it the same for feet in winter???
    Argan oil is good on the skin and drops of almond oil in the bath-avoid all toxic products with parabens and sodium laureth sulphate and paraffin in. The more natural the moisturiser the better.

  • Trish

    Thank you! I have the worst hands ever in winter. Especially on days where I have to open mail, boxes, and file at work. My knuckles get so bad they bleed and sting. I did not know I should avoid the hot water. I will post these tips as a reminder this year.

  • Karen R

    I was reading your article on how to relieve dryness in the winter and just wanted to comment on the vitamin E capsule. I have been doing that for a few years now, and it seems nothing comes close to being as effective as some pure vitamin E oil. I even use it on my face during the winter because I have dry skin. It really works and helps keep my complexion looking good during those cold winter months. If you want to get the moisture into your skin then try a little steam on your face and hands after you use the vitamin E oil. It is great and leaves your skin feeling great.

  • Donna

    You need to drink plenty of water along with your other good ideas. Hydration comes from within also! Happy and healthy New Year.

  • Your Name

    I use Arbonne products and love the changes in my skin. I use the baby lotion, which is good for sensitive skin. It FIXED my eczema when nothing else but nasty cortisone ever would! No more chemicals/ drugs like that for me. I also use Arbonne’s anti-aging serum and lotion. It’s full of anti-oxidant Vitamin C. Arbonne has no drying alcohols, is NOT animal tested, is environmentally friendly. People think it’s pricey, but it lasts forever if you use it correctly. I use the Awaken sea salt scrub on my legs and my “maps” have disappeared.
    I also keep my hands out of water! I keep gloves near the sink AND I USE THEM! Nothing works unless you do it.
    I don’t shower daily anymore – it’s too drying (I’m in my 50s). I bathe specific areas in the sink using specific gentle cleansers (Arbonne Intelligence, Noxzema or glycerin soap). I dry quickly and moisturize ASAP.
    I wear gloves every time I leave my house!!!

  • Julia

    I find soap too drying and use a non-soap instead… one is white and I can’t remember its name, and the other one is Aveena, made of oats and other natural products.

  • Chris

    Great tips. Thanks.
    I use a combination of Fractionated Coconut Oil and one of doTERRA’s essential oils like Lavender, which is soothing to skin.
    I also avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol in them. Alcohol can be quite drying. I make my own with aloe vera and Melaleuca Essential Oil. An added benefit the germs will not become resistant to it as they do with some of the anti-bacterial chemicals.

  • Melinda

    I love your suggestions to exfoliate and moisturize. I struggled with dry, chapped hands for years, until I began exfoliating my hands daily and using an all natural hand protector called Gardener’s Armor.

  • Jean

    Please explain “maps”?

  • Your Name

    I have drier skin than anyone I know. I’ve found petroleum jelly to work better than anything i’ve tried.

  • bird

    I’m a pretty frequent handwasher (after getting off the NYC subway), and I found myself getting itchy, bumpy rashes on the backs of both my hands–especially between my thumb and forefinger and middle finger. It didn’t seem like dry skin, because it wasn’t cracked and scaling. But when I slathered on lots of Lubriderm or another lotion after each hand-washing, it all went away! Thanks for the great advice!

  • Beware of Arbonne

    To the person who responded recommending Arbonne products check out the site that I’ve attached. Arbonne products all contain moderate to severe levels of toxins so you may want to reconsider. This site will offer you detailed info. I used Arbonne too until I dug a bit deeper…

  • windyblue

    my hands just bleeded they get so dryed up. my skin splits.
    I find Aloe works great to heal them.
    And hand lotion for very dry hands.

  • Joan31

    Did you use a help of a paper writing service for your superior release? I think that you have got good expository essay creating technique. Thanks for this!

  • skincare

    In winter season dry wind makes our skin to lose moisture, so the upper most layer of skin become dull and dry and more prone to infections, allergies and wrinkle lines. Broken skin on the cheeks makes it itchy and sensitive.The moisturizers and cold cream available in the market contains chemicals which may cause allergy. So the natural cosmetics which are non allergic and baby soft to use can do wonders to achieving total skin care during winter season.

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