Causes And Treatments For Cracked Skin On Hands And Feet

by | 22 May 2020

Our hands might arguably be one of the hardest working and most vulnerable parts on our body and boy do we put them through the ‘wringer’ and too often neglect them terribly!

Why do we get dry cracked hands?
If you’ve ever experienced dry (or cracked) hands, then you’ll know all too well just how uncomfortable (and often painful) they can be. And it’s not just those of us who use their hands for work that suffer— it can affect us all. Genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors can all contribute to painful mitts. For many people, cracked skin appears or gets worse during the winter, when dry air can lead to dryness on the hands, lips, or feet.

Sometimes cracked skin occurs due to a skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis, or because the skin came into contact with an irritating substance. Cracked skin can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Contact Dermatitis is an itchy, dry skin rash that develops when a person comes into contact with a specific substance. This may occur because a person has an allergy, or because the substance is toxic or irritating.

Unfortunately, dry air and dry hands go hand in hand making winter a particularly tricky time of year. As well, washing our hands is hygienic (and overly essential at this current time of caution during the Covid-19 pandemic) however excessive cleaning can strip our skin of its natural oils leaving them dry and defenceless! (Note: As alcohol-based hand sanitisers can also cause dryness, we highly recommend applying our DMS Hand Cream after using them).



What is cracked skin?
The fissures, or cuts, that mark cracked skin typically occur when a person’s skin is dry or irritated. Dry and cracked skin can:

• Itch
• Flake
• Bleed

Some people may feel unpleasant sensations when applying any product to cracked skin. Their skin may also feel more sensitive to water temperature and household cleaning products. Cracked skin can appear on any part of the body, but it is especially noticeable on exposed areas, such as the hands.

What we suggest to combat dry cracked skin in winter?
The treatment a person tries will depend on the cause and location of their cracked skin. For cracking that occurs in cold weather or as a result of frequent hand washing, it is recommended to keep the skin well hydrated. A person can do this by applying fragrance-and dye-free hand cream (our DMS Hand Cream) immediately after washing the hands. Our DMS Hand Cream is free from emulsifiers and contains DMS components. Or, for a more intense treatment the use of our Oleogel Plus or Oleogel N is highly successful.

Oleogel Plus is superior skincare for extremely dehydrated skin and a protector against environmental damage, and should be thoroughly spread onto dehydrated skin areas. Oleogel Plus smooths and softens the skin and repairs the damaged skin barrier. It can also be used as cold protection for the lips.

Oleogel N is preferably used in the evening, applied to the skin in small amounts, and should be well distributed, and can also be used in massage. Oleogel N is effective in foot care, and is very efficient in the care of barrier disorder and for treating very dry and/or atopic skin.



When choosing a moisturiser for cracked skin, people should look for our DMS components that minimise the wash-out effect and are free of any emulsifiers.

People with eczema and psoriasis also benefit from moisturisers to prevent flare-ups and protect the skin. However, they may require additional methodologies of Corneotherapy to prevent these flareups. A good hand care routine can go a long way to keeping the signs of dry skin at bay. So, we’ve done the work for you and created a home care treatment that only includes the things that matter—and that’s not pretty perfumes or fancy packaging!



How often should you be using a hand treatment?
Compared to other areas of the body, our hands get more exposure to water, irritants, and the elements, so they need the most regular protection. As a general rule, DMS Hand Cream or Oleogel Plus should be applied after you have washed your hands, following a shower and before bed.

Don’t think that just because you’ve never had dry skin you can skip regular hand cream use. Dry skin can strike at any time and any age. A good hand cream routine will keep your hands looking young, healthy, and feeling pain-free for longer.

Our customised hand care routine to help alleviate dry and uncomfortable hands (or feet!)

Step 1: Soak
Create a luxurious hand soak by combining 100ml warm water, 5ml Rose Hip Seed Oil and 10ml (one cap full) Tenfione Semisomal Bath Oil in a large bowl.
Soak hands for at least 5 minutes (or more if you have the time!).

Step 2: Nourish
Apply 1ml of Kiwi Seed Oil Nanoparticles to both hands. Cover with a generous amount of Oleogel N leaving a layer on both hands.

Step 3: Infuse
Wrap each hand in a piece of cling wrap and then place cotton gloves over the top. Leave on for 15 – 20 minutes.
Option: Place your hands on a warm wheat pack or waterbottle to create warmth and to further infuse ingredients.
Remove gloves and cling wrap. Tissue off any excess Oleogel N or massage in.

Step 4: Finishing touches
Apply DMS Hand Cream or your Bespoke Base Gel Hand Mask as needed ( find your local dermaviduals clinic in our clinic finder to customise a hand mask for you).



Our tips!
To prevent cracked skin from getting worse, people should avoid washing their hands with hot water. Hot baths and hot showers can worsen dry or cracked skin.

It is also good practice to wear gloves to protect your hands when:
• going outside in the winter
• performing tasks that get the hands wet, ie washing up!
• using harsh chemicals, degreasers, and other substances

Some studies suggest using a humidifier in the house if the air is dry. Humidifiers may also help to treat dry lips. Our dermaviduals Lip Balm can also help soothe dry or cracked lips. Be careful as some lip balms may cause burning or sting due to their ingredients. It is important to choose a non-irritating lip balm, free of emulsifiers for your cracked lips. Our beautiful dermaviduals Lip Balm is a clear lipstick with soothing properties and contains natural waxes in the form of Shea Butter, Carnauba wax (natural lipids), beeswax and propolis.

Certain fabrics can irritate dry skin. It may help to wear smooth, breathable fabrics, such as cotton or silk, and to avoid textured materials, such as wool. Using hypoallergenic laundry detergents and fabric softeners may also help to reduce irritation.

Have you got another tip using our dermaviduals creams for extremely dry skin?