Chapped hands means having sore hands, no matter what you touch. Dry winter air combined with diminished natural oil set our hands up for trouble. Every hand wash pulls more moisture out of them until they are stinging, chapped, cracked and just begging for relief. It can be hard to get things turned around but there are actions that will help.
1. Avoid excess exposure to water, especially hot water. If you need to wash your hands often, try just washing the palms of your hands. The skin on the back is thinner and more susceptible to drying.
2. Try washing with an oil free cleanser instead of soap and wipe off the cleanser with a soft cloth instead of using water. Products such as Cetaphil or bath oil can be worked into a lather then cleaned off.
3. Avoid using hot blowers to dry your hands. Use a soft towel instead. The hot air from hand blowers has been found to increase chapping. If you must use them, shake out the excess water from your hands first and then do not bring them closer than six inches to the nozzle. Gently rub your hands together so they will dry sooner.
4. Rub lotion onto your hands after every water wash to replace the moisture just lost. According to dermatologist Dr. Basler at mothernature.com, "Lotions are the least moisturizing, followed by creams and then ointments. Try a lotion first. If that's not enough to carry you through the winter, step up to a cream, then an ointment."
5. Wear white cotton gloves during regular daily work. Handling grocery bags or newspapers can cause friction against chapped or cracked hands, further aggravating them. Cotton gloves have the advantage of holding in natural moisture while still allowing the skin on the hands to breathe.
6. For really chapped hands, try sleeping in cotton gloves after a good moisturizing session before you go to bed. Put a little petroleum jelly inside the cotton gloves before slipping your hands in so the cotton doesn’t absorb the lotion.
7. If wearing rubber gloves while doing work in water, wear cotton gloves underneath to avoid skin irritation from the rubber.