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It's dry skin season, invited in by chillier temps. Add in excessive handwashing to keep germs at bay, and you have the perfect storm for dry hands and rough feet — but there's no reason to suffer all winter long. Here's how to get soft hands and feet and keep them that way until spring.
Many people suffer from dry, rough and cracked hands and feet as the temperatures drop. It's uncomfortable, and things that you think should help — like using lotion — can actually make matters worse.
The best way to keep dryness from becoming an issue is to prevent your skin from losing moisture in the first place. But, if dryness does manage to set in, don't worry! There are ways to ramp up the moisture in dry skin.
First, let's take a look at the most common causes of dry skin:
Every time you wash your hands, you strip away the natural oils on your skin, so be sure to give some moisture back. Wash with lukewarm water and a soap that includes moisturizing ingredients but skips potentially irritating fragrances.
You may be constantly applying lotion to your dry, cracked skin, thinking it's keeping them hydrated. After all, it probably soothes your irritated skin in the moment. But, if you find yourself having to constantly reapply, that lotion may not be hydrating enough. This often comes down to consistency — thin lotions likely have a higher water content. Rich moisturizers are packed with ingredients formulated to reach deep into the layers of the skin, repairing it from the inside. In the winter, opt for a thick cream, such as a hand cream made with the key ingredient glycerin to hydrate your skin's cells and retain moisture.
Exfoliation can help shed dead skin, keeping your hands and feet smooth and primed for your moisturizer to reach deeper layers of your skin. Don't overdo it, though, or you risk irritating your skin. Never exfoliate already broken or irritated skin.
Sometimes skin can get so dry that even the area around the nails cracks, too. Be generous when applying your moisturizer — remember to work your moisturizer into your cuticles.
Whenever you go out into the cold air, throw on a pair of gloves to protect your skin from winter's harsh winds. Before bed, apply a thick moisturizing body balm to your hands and feet before slipping into a pair of cozy socks, and wake up to hydrated and soft skin in one go.