Skin Care

5 Real Ways to Alleviate Rough-Hand Syndrome

Words by Janell Hickman

Hand being massaged during manicure

Words by Janell M. Hickman

Even with the un-seasonally warm temperatures, the fact remains that old man winter is on the way. And sadly, blistering cold weather brings  the kind of dry that can wreak havoc on your skin, especially your hands. You might not think much of it but a handshake is the first physical impression you make when meeting someone new. You want to be remembered for your firm grip and eye contact not your callused palms or scaly skin. So, we spoke to a few experts to help you keep those paws super soft or at the very least touchable.

No. 1: Put in Prep Work

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Don’t wait until your hands are nearly unsightly before making a few cha-cha-changes. “Every avid sports fan knows that the best offense is a good defense,” explains board-certified dermatologist Christel Malinski, M.D. of Benson Dermatology. “Using a thick emollient to moisturize your hands frequently is imperative. The stronger the skin barrier of the hands is kept, the better they will weather the environmental insults of fall and winter.”

Malinski’s favorite on-the-go moisturizer is Vaniply Ointment.”It is highly moisturizing, fragrance- free, dye-free, formaldehyde-free, and hypoallergenic. It serves as the perfect drink for thirsty hands, and I recommend it daily to my patients.” Another option, CeraVe  Renewing SA Cream, contains salicylic acid—commonly used in chemical peels—and is a superb daily hand moisturizer to keep hands feeling healthy for all seasons.

No. 2: Look Like You’ve Been Cooking

Applying lotion feverishly throughout the day honestly might not be feasible. But, take a load off after a long day and treat yourself to some TLC. Skyy Hadley, Owner of As U Wish Salon, whose clients include Puff Daddy and Isaac Hayes, recommends creating your own at-home hand treatment.

Check out this easy to make hand moisturizer she shares:

  1. Take one cup of regular oatmeal, ½ cup of regular milk and heat up over the stove
  2. Stir until cooked, then add sugar to thicken the mixture and let it cool
  3. When the mix is thickened, apply to hand and feet for 5-10 minutes
  4. The oatmeal soothes dry, itchy skin and milk acts as an exfoliant to help get rid of dry and dead skin cells

No. 3: Wash Away Your Woes

When frequent hand washing is necessary, use the least harsh detergent to remove substances from the hands. “Stay away with hand soaps that include synthetic fragrances or any that are foaming soaps,” cautions Hadley. “They are more likely to strip away any hydration in your hands. Look for hand soaps with additional moisturizers or aloe in them.”

Another culprit? Hand sanitizers that contain high levels of alcohol can be extremely drying.

Celebrity manicurist, Gina Edwards, whose clients include Desiigner, Travis Scott, and Tyson Beckford suggests staying away from moisturizers with synthetic oils such as mineral and lanolin which don’t easily penetrate the skin.

No. 4: Brave The Elements in Style

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Choosing the right glove for the job is imperative. A glove serves as the first line of defense between your skin and the elements explains Malinski. “If you can avoid chemical contact or icy temperatures on the skin, you will have less damage and drying of your stratum corneum (top layer of your skin),” he continues.

“When you’re outside it’s best to wear natural fiber gloves such as cotton, wool and cashmere,” explains Edwards.“Think breathable fabrics. Adding moisturizer before you nestle your hands is essential as well.” She’s a fan of Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum Body Crème. “This formula challenges dryness and is enriched with vitamin E and sunflower oil.”  

No. 5: Know When to Ask for Back-Up

Dry, rough hands can be a sign of dehydration, but typically the skin of the entire body would be dry as well. “It can be sign of damage to the skin barrier and can also represent an underlying dermatologic diagnosis such as eczema, psoriasis, or a callus,” adds Malinski. “Anytime your skin does not respond to over the counter treatments, you should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.”