How To, Skin Care

How To Get Soft Hands and Feet All Year Long

by Liz Thompson
February 16, 2022

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.

What Causes Rough Hands and Feet?

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:

  • Handwashing: Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent colds and other sicknesses throughout the year. However, especially in winter, all of that overwashing can leave your hands feeling dry, irritated and cracked.
  • Cold weather: Cold temps and dry weather can sap your skin of moisture, leading to cracked and callused skin.
  • Hot water: Water can actually contribute to moisture loss. After a long day in the cold, jumping into a piping hot bath is undeniably satisfying — but it can disrupt your skin's natural moisture balance, drying out your skin. Lukewarm water is more gentle. Aim to prevent moisture loss right out of the shower: While your skin is still damp, reach for a hydrating moisturizer to help maintain your skin's moisture levels.

How To Get Soft Hands and Feet

1. Wash Gently

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.

2. Moisturize Your Hands & Feet With the Right Ingredients

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.

3. Exfoliate ... Sometimes

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.

4. Don't Forget Your Nails

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.

5. Wear Gloves and Warm Socks

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.

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How To, Skin Care

I’m a freelance copywriter for beauty and wellness brands and creative entrepreneur with an expertise in green beauty.

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