Many of your daily activities take their toll on your hands. But there are ways to restore their softness and keep them soft, including:

  • physical protection
  • sunscreen
  • proper washing
  • hydration
  • moisturizing

Keep reading to learn about tips and strategies for getting soft hands.

Gloves can protect your hands and keep them soft.

When you’re outdoors on a cold day, cold air can dry and chap your hands. By wearing warm gloves, you reduce moisture loss and keep natural oil in the skin.

You might also consider wearing rubber gloves for household chores like cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes. Not only will these gloves help you keep a good grip, but they’ll protect your skin from hot water and harsh chemicals that can irritate and dry out your hands.

Gloves for skin repair

You can also use gloves as part of a treatment to improve the softness of your hands. Give the skin on your hands some extra care by liberally applying moisturizer to them and then putting on cotton gloves.

You can wear the gloves for a few hours, or you can start the process at bedtime and wear them while you sleep.

The skin on your hands is just as vulnerable to the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun as the skin on the rest of your body.

When it’s too warm for gloves, apply sunscreen with a high SPF. This will protect them and help keep the skin soft and supple.

One of the primary reasons we wash our hands is to avoid catching and spreading germs via surfaces we touch.

For example, a door handle in an office may have germs that can spread a virus to other people, to other surfaces, or into your body if you don’t wash your hands after touching it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidelines for handwashing that include washing your hands frequently and washing them for at least 20 seconds.

Tip #1: How to wash your hands without damaging your skin

Washing your hands often can damage your skin and make your hands dry and rough. Here are some ways to limit potential damage:

  • 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.

Consider occasionally replacing soap and water handwashing with a hand sanitizer.

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Water isn’t just for washing your hands. Drinking enough water can help flush out your body, which may improve your skin, giving it a more radiant glow.

For proper hydration, it’s recommended you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Moisturizers hold water in the outer layer of your skin. The majority of moisturizers are water-based lotions, gels, creams, gels, and serums that can contain the following:

Some other common ingredients in recommended moisturizers include:

Moisturizers can be effective in:

  • preventing dry skin
  • treating dry skin
  • protecting sensitive skin
  • improving skin texture

Tip #2: Apply moisturizer while skin is still damp

One of the most effective ways to make your hands softer is to apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp.

After washing, pat your skin dry with a towel, allowing some moisture to remain. Then apply moisturizer.

This method will help trap the water in your skin. Apply moisturizer following every handwashing.

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Moisturizer and medicated creams

If your doctor has prescribed a medicated cream, such as a corticosteroid, wait at least 30 minutes after using it before applying a moisturizer.

Your doctor and the medication packaging will have specific instructions for the medicated cream you are using.

Tip #3: Apply moisturizer often

Since your hands are exposed to more irritants than any other part of your body, consider reapplying moisturizer a few times each day (more often if necessary).

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Certain medical conditions can affect the softness of your hands. If you have a condition that causes skin inflammation, such as psoriasis or eczema, you may experience dry hands with skin that peels and cracks. Discuss your options for softer hands with your dermatologist.

If you have an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or diabetes, you may have lowered blood circulation to the hands. This could cause your hands to become more easily irritated. If this is affecting the softness of your hands, talk with your doctor about your options.

For most people, dry hands are the result of a busy life. But they can be treated and become softer with some lifestyle changes, such as wearing gloves and applying moisturizer.

If you have symptoms beyond what you would consider normal roughness and dryness, talk to a doctor or dermatologist. They can determine your best options for softening your hands.