How to nourish dry, cracked skin on your hands this winter

Zoe Cripps OK! beauty editor

By Zoe Cripps

Zoe is OK! Head Of Beauty and covers celebrity beauty news, product launches and helpful beauty hacks.

Winter can take its toll on our skin, and that’s especially true for our hands. If you’re noticing your skin is becoming dry, red and cracked, it’s a sign that your skin is struggling with winter conditions.

Instead of suffering through the soreness until spring, why not do something about it now? We’re taking a look at the common reasons why your hands become uncomfortably dry during the cold season, and how to quickly fix cracks and dehydration to reveal softer, smoother hands.

What’s causing my hands to be dry and cracked?

The environment: If you’re out in the cold and then you come into warmer, heated temperatures, moisture will be taken out of your skin resulting in dryness.

Frequent washing: If you’re washing your hands very often with harsh soaps, you might find the skin on your hands becomes extremely dry and prone to chapping. The same thing can happen if you spend too much time in hot showers and baths.

Medical conditions: It’s often more common in winter for conditions like eczema and psoriasis to flare up. This is because the cold weather combined with moisture-zapping indoor heating can trigger rashes.

What can I do to nourish my skin?

Moisturise frequently

It sounds simple but, with the right hand cream, you can nurse your hands into better health quickly. Whenever you wash your hands, you should apply a nourishing, oil-rich cream to make sure you lock the moisture in your skin. There are plenty of options available but we love OTO Nourishing CBD Hand Balm for its skin-calming, non-greasy and ultra-nourishing properties.

A 30ml tube of this would normally set you back £19 but we’ve got one in this month’s OK! Beauty Box Wellness Edit, which costs just £7.50 for first-time subscribers. The box has a total value of £95 and features four other pampering treats for your face, body and hair.

Wash your hands with a skin-friendly soap

If your hands are sore and dry after you wash them, you might need to look at the soap you’re using. Of course, we need to be using an antibacterial formula to ensure our hands are properly cleaned, but that doesn’t mean the soap has to be harsh on skin. Instead, choose a product targeted at sensitive skin, or one that includes added nourishing ingredients.

Go for cooler showers

It can be tempting to turn to very hot showers and baths as a way to warm up in winter, but this could be causing your dry skin. If you’re able to go for a slightly cooler water temperature instead of a boiling hot one, your skin – including on your body – will benefit from it.

Wear gloves

To avoid harsh outdoor temperatures, the best thing you can do is cover your skin with a pair of gloves. Cracking on the hands and knuckles most commonly happens when your skin dries out and shrinks, so if you can keep them warm and toasty, you should be able to keep cracks at bay.

Top ingredients to look for in hand creams

  1. Shea butter: This emollient packs a powerful moisturising punch. It soaks into the skin and creates a barrier that locks moisture in.
  2. Almond oil: A powerful, fast-absorbing moisturiser packed with skin-loving vitamin E.
  3. Cocoa butter: This helps to protect the skin barrier and deeply nourishes the outer layers of skin with fatty acids.

CBD: Some studies suggest this ingredient is beneficial for reducing the appearance of inflammation on the skin.