Is Over-Washing Causing Your Dry Hands?

Tips to prevent and treat this common problem.

Dry, scaly skin on your hands is a common problem. It’s not pretty – and it can get very uncomfortable, too. So what can we do to make dry skin on hands a thing of the past?

Dry skin is damaging

Having dry hands is always an uncomfortable nuisance, but having dry skin for long periods of time can really damage your skin in the long term.

If it’s dry, your skin is missing one of its protective layers. This makes your skin more vulnerable to the elements. Dry skin’s structure suffers, becoming rougher, less plump and less elastic. It can get red, scaly and may even crack painfully and bleed – ouch!

How over-washing causes dry hands 

Along with your face, the skin on your hands gets more abuse than anywhere else on your body. Just think of all the hours you spend dunking them in hot water, scraping away their natural oils with detergents and soaps.

Detergents and soaps make your hands clean, but they also wash away the protective layer of lipids that stop your hands drying out. Without this protective, insulating layer, your skin is more exposed to any environmental attacks like dry air and pollutants, making it easier for moisture to leave your skin.

How to protect dry hands from over-washing

It’s impossible to avoid the problem totally – you’ll always need to wash your hands. But you can take easy steps to minimise the damage washing does to your skin.

1. Use the dishwasher more often or wear rubber gloves when washing up to reduce your exposure to detergents. If you have dry hands, use it as a great excuse to miss out on the washing up!

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2. When washing your hands, use an emollient cleanser instead of a soap. Emollient cleansers moisturise the skin as they clean, preventing it from drying out.

3. Use a cleanser & lotion combination product. (You might have seen these at smarter hotels.) Apply the product to both clean and sooth the skin at the same time.

4. When moisturising your face and body, don’t forget to apply moisturiser to the back of your hands and fingers – this is prime skin cracking territory.

5. Don’t scrub your hands too hard when you do wash – be firm but gentle. This will prevent removing lipids from your skin, helping keep the skin hydrated.

6. Don’t use too hot water. If water is too hot, this helps remove your skin’s protective layer. Use warm water instead.

7. Finally, when you dry your hands, don’t rub them on the towel. Just gently pat or dab the wet skin against a soft cotton towel. This prevents your hands from scratching and stops you rubbing off your skin’s protective later.

8. Use a protective hand cream like Dermofila Hand Cream to restore your skins protective barrier after washing. It provides long-lasting results, even after washing your hands 3 times!