Along with our face and feet, the skin of our hands goes through a lot. It is one of the most exposed and frequently used parts of the body. Whether it’s due to food acids, exposure to harsh chemicals or frequent washing. The hands can easily become dry, itchy, and even start to crack.
But what makes dry hands itchy? And which skincare ingredients should you be looking for to achieve soft, supple skin?
WHAT MAKES DRY HANDS ITCHY?
– Cold weather
Colder weather and central heating are two of the most common causes of dry, itchy hands. The top layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. It is covered in about 10-15 micrometres of dead skin cells. According to Hilary Brueck, Senior Health and Science Reporter at Business Insider, cold weather leads to the air drying out, which draws moisture out from the top layers of the skin. As we turn up the heating to overcome the cold, this dries the air even further. As a result, the body finds it difficult to retain moisture. It often results in rough, chapped skin along the tops of the hands and between the fingers.
We know frequent handwashing is really important for our health. According to Science Direct, handwashing is proven to proven to prevent the spread of diseases. Also, common infections by removing the microorganisms with high pathogenic potential. However, handwashing alone can cause damage to the skin. In between the stratum corneum and dead skin cells sit layers of keratinocytes. They generate new cells and grow outwards to replace the dead skin cells we shed. These sit alongside sebaceous glands which produce ceramides, natural oils which act as a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss. When we use soap or washing up liquid, the chemicals can start to wash away the ceramides. The process destroys the skin’s natural barrier. Frequently, dead skin cells then become shed less. Therefore, we can be left with red, dry, and itchy hands which are irritable and sometimes painful.
As we age, the epidermis becomes thinner and the sebaceous glands start to produce fewer natural oils. This can result in hands drying out much more quickly. Although, this is a natural occurrence, according to Healthline’s medical guidance, this is ‘not necessarily inevitable’. Controllable factors and lifestyle choices including smoking, diet, and hydration have shown to contribute to the dryness of aging skin.
Thankfully, most cases of dry, itchy hands can be prevented and soothed by the regular use of a high-quality moisturiser. According to the British Association of Dermatologists, one of the most effective ways to smooth and hydrate the skin is to regularly use moisturiser several times a day However, in more severe cases where the symptoms persist despite a good skincare routine. This could be a sign of more serious skin conditions such as hand eczema or psoriasis. Do consult with your GP.
THE 3 BEST SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO SOOTHE DRY SKIN
Dr Frangos, a dermatologist of Harvard University states that ‘moisturiz[ing] the skin throughout the day may be all it takes to get rid of itching and dryness and build up the skin’s moisture barrier’. While you may think that any moisturiser or hand cream will work to actively restore moisture and combat dry skin, unfortunately that is not always the case. Some harsh fragrances, ingredients and chemicals can irritate the skin further, leaving you with sore or greasy hands. Malée’s Verdure Nourishing Hand Cream has been exclusively formulated using natural, plant-based ingredients which are proven to help the skin absorb and seal in moisture, protecting your hands whilst giving you a radiant, youthful glow.
Find out more about the 3 best skincare ingredients you should look for to soothe and prevent dry skin, all of which feature in our best-selling hand cream.
According to a 2016 study published by the National Institutes of Health, glycerin is the single most effective humectant to be found in moisturiser. Glycerin works by attracting moisture from the air and deeper in the body to the top layer of skin, sealing in to replace any lost water. Obtained from plant oils, glycerin is also lightweight and perfect for sensitive skin. It gently restores moisture and leaves your hands feeling supple and smooth. Working both as a preventative and cure for dry skin, our nourishing hand cream is ideal for use daily or as often as required.
The juice of the aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are great for treating skin which has already become dry. Used cosmetically for hundreds of years, aloe has been proven to be a natural ingredient which can improve skin hydration. It reduces the discomfort and redness associated with dry skin on the hands. Simultaneously working as an antioxidant, aloe can help the skin to produce more collagen. Moreover, it helps to reduce the signs of aging for a smooth and youthful appearance.
– Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, a naturally formed fatty acid with antibacterial properties. Not only can caprylic acid help to prevent and fight off skin conditions such as dermatophilosis and acne. This plant-based ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties, used to soothe the skin. Easily absorbed into the skin, coconut oil works quickly to achieve an intense moisture boost.
External factors including a change in temperature and humidity levels, frequent handwashing and aging can make dry hands itchy. Breaking down and damaging the outermost layers of the skin, we lose the moisture needed to promote regular skin cell turnover. This which results in the appearance of dry, red, and itchy patches. Drinking plenty of water and frequently using a moisturiser which includes effective natural ingredients can help keep your hands soft, smooth and hydrated.