Why do my hands dry out so fast

If your skin loses moisture, your hands can become dry. A health condition, exposure to cold conditions, or frequent contact with water can also cause dry hands.Protecting your hands with home remedies can help reduce dryness and prevent them from becoming dry. In some cases, you may require medical treatment for an underlying condition.

This guide explains the possible causes of dry hands. It also discusses home remedies and medical treatments, when to contact a doctor, and more.

What causes dry hands?

Why do my hands dry out so fast

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Typically, your skin has a water content of around 10–20%. If the skin on your hands does not have enough water or oil, it can become dry.

There are many possible causes of dry hands. This includes exposure to certain environments and underlying medical conditions.

Medical conditions

Medical conditions that can cause dry skin include:

  • hand eczema, which can cause dry, chapped, and itchy skin
  • ichthyosis, which can cause hands to become dry with a “fish scale-like” appearance
  • palmoplantar psoriasis, or hand psoriasis, a type of psoriasis that affects the skin on the palms of the hands
  • kidney disease, which can cause the skin to become dry, rough, and scaly
  • thyroid disease, which can cause dry, pale skin
  • diabetes, as high blood sugar and circulation problems can cause dry, itchy skin
  • xeroderma, which can cause your skin to become very dry, rough, and flaky

Find out more about skin conditions.

Other causes

Other causes of dry hands include:

  • frequent or excessive handwashing
  • doing wet work or frequently washing up
  • applying alcohol-based products such as hand sanitizer
  • spending time in cold climates or in an environment with low humidity
  • aging, as our skin produces less sebum after age 40
  • taking medication such as diuretics or statins
  • cancer treatment that includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy
  • deficiency in vitamins A and D, niacin, iron, or zinc
  • dehydration, which can cause dryness and thin, fine lines

What causes dry, cracked hands?

If your skin becomes too dry, it can crack and bleed. This can happen over time as a result of persistently dry skin.

Dry, cracked hands can also occur because of hand eczema. This causes the skin on your hands to become dry and chapped.

Other symptoms of hand eczema include:

  • discolored patches of skin
  • skin irritation
  • blisters that feel itchy
  • burning sensation
  • cracked skin that bleeds or weeps
  • crusting and pus
  • pain

Find out more about the causes of cracked skin.

Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms of hand eczema.

What are the home remedies for dry hands?

You can take steps at home to alleviate dry, cracked hands.

Moisturize regularly

Moisturizing twice a day can help to reduce dryness and prevent your hands from becoming dry.

Make sure to use a moisturizer that does not contain alcohol, as alcohol-based products cause your hands to become dry.

Learn about products suitable for sensitive skin.

Wash your hands with a mild cleanser

Washing hands with a mild cleanser rather than a scented or alcohol-based soap can help reduce dryness.

Applying a moisturizer after washing your hands can also help prevent them from becoming dry.

Wash with cool or warm water

When you shower, bathe, or wash your hands, try to wash in cool or warm water. Washing in water that is too hot can cause your skin to dry out.

After washing, pat your skin dry rather than rubbing at it. Rubbing dry skin can aggravate the skin.

Learn more tips for caring for your skin after showering.

Stay hydrated

If you are dehydrated, your skin can become dry. It can also feel itchy, and you may notice thin, fine lines on your palms.

You should aim to drink around 4–6 cups of water a day. If you are exercising, you may need to drink more water to stay hydrated.

Carrying a bottle of water with you can help you to drink more water and stay hydrated. If you do not like the taste of water, add a slice of lemon or lime to improve the taste.

Wrap up warm in cold environments

Cold weather and windy wintry conditions can cause your hands to become dry.

Wearing warm gloves during the winter or when spending time in cold environments can help keep your hands warm, reducing the risk of them becoming dry from the cold.

Wear gloves when doing chores

Wearing gloves when doing chores around the house can protect your hands from dryness and irritation.

Cotton gloves can help reduce skin irritation and dry hands when doing chores such as folding laundry.

Wear gloves to protect your hands from the water when washing up or doing other wet work. Choose powder-free vinyl gloves. Latex gloves can cause allergies and irritation.

You may also wish to wear gloves when handling or preparing food. Juices, particularly from acidic fruits, can aggravate already dry skin.

What are the medical treatments for dry hands?

If you have dry hands due to a medical condition, you may require treatment for the underlying cause.

If your dry skin does not respond to home remedies, a doctor or dermatologist may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) treatments or a prescription to alleviate dryness and soothe pain or itchiness.

Possible treatments for dry hands include:

  • OTC emollients
  • antihistamines to alleviate any itchiness
  • topical corticosteroids, which can you apply to reduce any pain and inflammation
  • oral corticosteroids if your skin symptoms affect a wider area of your body

Contact a doctor or speak with a pharmacist about which treatments are right for you.

What is the best hand lotion for dry skin?

If you have dry hands, it is better to use a moisturizing cream than a lotion.

Moisturizing creams are typically thicker than lotions. They tend to stay longer on your hands than thinner lotions and may do a better job maintaining moisture if you apply them when your hands are slightly damp.

Depending on the cause of dry hands, you may experience some other symptoms in addition to dryness.

Other symptoms can include:

  • itchiness
  • rough texture
  • flaky skin
  • cracks
  • pain
  • patches of raw skin
  • peeling
  • stinging or burning sensation

It is important to make sure that a doctor or dermatologist knows all your symptoms. This can help them to reach an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you.

Find out more about symptoms that can affect the skin.

When should I see a doctor?

Contact your doctor if you experience hand dryness that does not respond to home remedies or OTC treatments.

You should also contact a doctor if you experience any other symptoms alongside dry hands or if you experience any pain.

How do doctors diagnose the cause of dry hands?

Because there are numerous causes of dry hands, your doctor will ask about your medical history and conduct a physical examination. Also, to rule out other possible causes, they may ask about symptoms you might be experiencing.

In some cases, they may be able to diagnose dry hands just by looking at your skin.

If necessary, your doctor or dermatologist can also arrange tests to assist in reaching a diagnosis. The types of tests they order may depend on other symptoms you might be experiencing.

Tests that may help in identifying the cause of dry hands and other skin symptoms include:

  • patch test, which involves placing small amounts of common allergens or irritants against your skin to see if you experience a reaction
  • skin biopsy, where your doctor or dermatologist will remove a small sample of affected skin so that they can send it to the laboratory for analysis
  • diascopy, where your doctor or dermatologist will apply pressure to your skin to see how well it blanches
  • Tzanck testing to see if a virus is responsible for your symptoms
  • black light or Wood light test, where your doctor or dermatologist will examine your skin under the black light of a Wood lamp to check for fungal or bacterial infections

Learn more about the role of the dermatologist and the types of conditions they can diagnose and treat.

What are the complications of dry hands?

If dry skin cracks or if you itch it a lot, there is a risk that you may develop an infection as bacteria get under the skin.

Signs of skin infection include:

  • discoloration
  • swelling
  • yellow crust
  • pus or other fluid that leaks from the skin

If dry hands occur as a result of an underlying health condition, you may also experience complications related to that condition. Contact a doctor as soon as you have concerns about dry hands. They can conduct tests to help reach a diagnosis. They may refer you to a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatments.

Why do my hands get dry really fast?

Living in cold, windy conditions or low-humidity climates. Too much bathing or scrubbing. Taking long, hot showers or baths or scrubbing your skin too much can dry your skin. Bathing more than once a day can remove the natural oils from your skin too.

Why are my hands so dry even when I moisturize?

If you moisturize your skin regularly but still notice lingering dryness, you may want to check your moisturizer for potentially dehydrating ingredients, such as isopropyl alcohol or sulfates. You may get better results with products containing ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides.

What deficiency causes dry hands?

Vitamin or mineral deficiency: Skin requires nutrients to keep it healthy. If you're not getting enough vitamin D, vitamin A, niacin, zinc, or iron, you can develop excessively dry skin.

How do I stop my hands from being so dry?

Wash your hands without damaging them.
Use warm (not hot) water..
Use a moisturizing soap with ingredients such as lanolin and glycerin..
Be gentle. You don't have to aggressively scrub your hands to get them clean..
Blot your hands dry instead of rubbing them dry..
Apply moisturizer to your hands after washing them..