Dry, cracked skin on hands
Our hands are an extremely busy and exposed part of the body that often don’t get the attention they deserve. When you think about how active your hands are on a daily basis, touching, typing, writing and clutching, it makes sense that they might be especially vulnerable to the elements and dryness and unfortunately this is a real problem that can have quite painful consequences.
Let’s start by looking at the basics. If you’re familiar with any of my other blogs, you’ve probably heard me mention the epidermis before. The epidermis is the outer most layer of the skin and it acts as your body’s first line of defence, keeping pathogens and bacteria out but also making sure that moisture stays in. It’s for this reason that the pH levels here are slightly acidic as it helps to prevent too much water from evaporating via your pores.
Despite your skin helping to retain moisture, the suppleness of skin and by extension the epidermis, can easily become damaged as dry air, harsh weather and even central heating all contribute to brittle and cracked skin. This weakens the barrier function of the epidermis, making it easier for bacteria to permeate the rest of your body, often resulting in a flare-up or breakout!
If you are suffering from chapped skin which is causing you discomfort, take a look at our top 5 tips that may help you wave goodbye to dry hands.
Tip 1: Cut down your tub time
Although having a long hot soak in the bath or shower might feel amazing at the time, it can actually be quite damaging for your skin, especially if it’s dry and prone to irritation. This is because using hot water for an extended period of time can strip your skin of its protective oils, making it more vulnerable to dryness and discomfort. Now I’m not suggesting that you should immerse yourself in ice cold water whenever you fancy a wash but instead of aiming for hot, why not keep things more moderate at warm?
It’s also worth considering that washing your hands continuously throughout the day can also have a similar effect, especially if you’re using harsh soaps and exposing yourself to washing-up liquid. That’s why, again, it might be worth opting for lukewarm water and products that are more directed towards sensitive skin as these are unlikely to contain the same abrasive chemicals and synthetic fragrances.
Tip 2: Olive oil
Rubbing olive oil on to your flaky skin will not only help your dry hands, but can also combat dry patches on elbows, knees and feet. This is because olive oil is extremely rich in free-radical fighting antioxidants and it also contains a secret weapon, a component known as squalene, which is extraordinarily hydrating for your skin!
Studies have even found that olive oil is capable of protecting your skin from photo-aging.1 What is photo-aging? Photo-aging is a form of premature ageing that is caused when your skin is repeatedly exposed to UV radiation, or sunlight.
Of course, not all olive oil is created equal so, if you really want to reap the benefits, it would be well worth your while investing in an organic, extra virgin oil. You can apply this at night time, just before you go to bed so you can wake up and start your day with softer, smoother skin!
Tip 3: Diet
Eating the right foods is essential when it comes to maintaining the health of your skin, especially if that skin is vulnerable to dryness and damage. As I discuss in my dry skin and diet pages, including plenty of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet is a good way of preventing dryness as a lack of EFAs can result in crackled, brittle skin. You can find EFAs in foods such as oily fish, nuts and oils such as our old friend olive oil!
However, EFAs aren’t the only food group you need to consider. Antioxidant-rich fresh fruit and veg should be a staple in your diet as these contain a whole host of nutrients such as collagen-boosting vitamin C that can work to protect and nourish your skin.
Tip 4: Use gentle cleansers
Earlier I spoke a little bit about the effects of certain products such as soap on your skin but here I’m going to go into a little bit more detail. Simply put, most soaps contain harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances and additives that can upset your skin, once again stripping away those vital oils that help your epidermis to hold in water.
However, it isn’t just your soap that utilises these ingredients – most hand creams also make use of parabens and other chemicals which may cause distress or instigate a flare-up. That’s why I always recommend that you switch to more natural alternatives that are free from these unwanted extras!
Tip 5: Moisturise
Finally, when it comes to relieving symptoms of sore, dry skin, moisturising your hands can be really helpful. However, it is very important to ensure you do not just pick up any moisturiser for all the reasons I’ve just spoken about.
Our Bioforce Crème offers a more natural approach to skin care and may help to relieve the pain you are experiencing.
This cream uses a unique blend of herbs and oils including hypericum (St John’s Wort oil) which can help with nerve pain. This is used alongside sage, sanicle, witch hazel, calendula and arnica which possess antiseptic and ant-inflammatory actions. These natural and fresh herbs are processed the same day as harvesting thus ensuring the active ingredients work to their best potential to help relieve your symptoms faster.
Disclaimer: A.Vogel Bioforce Cream is unsuitable for vegans or those with allergy to lanolin or bee products, as it contains lanolin and beeswax.
Originally published 8 August 2015 (updated on 9 October 2018)