Sandpaper Hands? Try These Tricks During The Winter

Caring For Your Super Dry Hands

hand lotion
Creative RF/Inti St Clair/GettyImages

How many people can related to the following Facebook post?

"Who needs nails when you can scratch the side of your face with the back of your hands are SO CHAPPED!"

Winter cold can cause the skin on our hands to become very dry and even to crack and bleed.  Between the cold outside, the dry winter air, and coming and going from a heated environment to a cold one the skin on our hands takes quite a beating.

 In addition, frequent hand washing in addition to cleaning the house and doing dishes without gloves can make the skin on our hands even more dry.  Without the proper care our skin can become so dry that they become uncomfortable and even painful, at time even cracking and bleeding.   

How To Combat Dry Hands

Preventing and treating very dry skin on your hands does not need to be complicated, but it does take some effort and a little time.  You need to make sure you have some basic skin care products at home and really commit to using them on a daily basis.  If you follow through with the tips outlined here you can be sure that you will get through the winter with much more comfortable hands.

First look at the soap you are using to wash your hands after using the bathroom.  Is it a foaming, antibacterial soap?  Throw it out!  Yes, get rid of it immediately.  Instead buy a soap that gently cleans while also moisturizing your hands like Jergens Extra Moisturizing Liquid Hand Wash.


Exfoliate your hands a few times a week before applying moisturizer.  This will get rid of the build up of dead skin cells that are just sitting on your hands while also ridding your skin of any flaky skin.  Once your skin is exfoliated your hand cream will penetrate better, work better, and your hands will be softer.

 You can mix up your own exfoliator easily using sugar and olive oil.  Simply add regular white or brown sugar to olive oil (or another oil) until you get the consistency that you want - not too runny, not too dry. You can even add a little honey to your homemade exfoliator for extra hydration.

Bonus Tips: Buy a humidifier for your home so that the air around you is not so dry.  Dry air causes our skin to dry out and then crack. Always wear gloves when washing dishes and cleaning your home.  You do not want harsh chemicals or drying soaps hurting the skin on your hands.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

In the winter, you need to apply moisturizer on a regular basis, especially after you wash your hands. We really recommend not spending an arm and a leg on hand creams if you can find a cheaper version that works well for you. Even the less expensive hand creams can do a great job at protecting and repairing the skin on your hands. For example Avon's Silicone Glove Hand Cream won't break the bank and gets rave reviews. Other great hand creams include Bag Balm and Udderly Smooth Creme.  If your hands are not only dry but chapped as well try a product like AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Ultra Hydrating Body Cream that can exfoliate and hydrate all at once.

Many people will recommend applying hand cream before going to bed and wearing cotton gloves on top of the cream in order to allow the cream to really penetrate into your skin while you sleep, but there are more than a few people who simply cannot sleep while wearing gloves. If you are one of those people, here's a trick for you. Get a tube of lotion and put it wherever you keep your gloves. In your handbag?  In the hall closet?  On a hook?  Wherever it is, place the tube of lotion. Every time you leave the house in the winter, put on a good amount of lotion and put your gloves over the top. You'll get the same benefits of sleeping with lotion and gloves on, without having to deal with trying to sleep, well, with gloves on.

Don't skimp when applying hand cream. Put a thick layer on your hands!

By doing this, you'll notice your hands slowly turn from sandpaper to smooth and soft again. It's a good habit to do all winter long, even if your hands aren't extra dry and cracking because our hands during winter can easily go from being soft and smooth to dry and scratchy. Keeping up with moisturizing your hands will save you from dealing with scratchy and dry hands all winter.

Updated by Hanah Tetro