Help for Dry Hands

If your hands are profoundly affected by cold, dry winter air, you’re not alone. Dry, chapped hands, especially in the cooler winter months, are a common frustration for women and men alike. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to get your hands back in shape, both from the inside and out.

Caring for Dry Hands from the Outside

A variety of factors contribute to dry skin including genetics, frequent hand washing, and dry/cold air. Here are a few key tips to remember this winter to maintain smooth, soft hands all season long:

  • Use a product to wash hands that does not dry out your skin. All foaming soaps and alcohol containing hand sanitizers dry out your skin and can lead to hand dermatitis.  
  • Moisturize as often as possible, especially after washing your hands. For severely dry, cracked skin, try a barrier repair moisturizer or a soothing oil such as Argan Oil.
  • Wear gloves when outside in cold temperatures.
  • Avoid submerging your hands in soapy water, or wear gloves while doing so.
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom or office to help replenish moisture in the air.

Don’t forget about your nails and cuticles, as they tend to become more brittle in the winter as well, because colder temperatures make proteins more rigid and likely to break. Try rubbing safflower oil or argan oil into your fingertips twice a day, and you can also slip on cotton gloves (or socks if you’re in a pinch) after applying hand cream for a deeply hydrating treat. Viviscal supplements are marketed for hair growth but they help make the nails stronger and less brittle. Biotin supplements may also help strengthen nails.

To keep every square inch of skin on your hands happy and healthy, skip the alcohol-based hand sanitizers that dry out your skin and nails. I think that the best hand cleanser that does not dry out the skin is the GCP Cleanser that many doctors use in their office to prep the skin for dermal filler injections. I wash my hands with it 20 times a day without any irritation, however you can only get it from your doctor or with an online code given to you by your doctor. GCP Skincare protects the skin’s barrier and prevents water loss, while other sanitizing products can irritate and dehydrate the hands and nails with frequent use.

The Bottom Line

The right skincare products and lifestyle choices can help keep your hands feeling and looking great all winter long. By tweaking just a few aspects of your day-to-day routine, you can rid yourself of dry, chapped hands and brittle nails for good.


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

December 27, 2016 Eczema/Dry Skin, Skincare