What Causes Extremely Dry Cracked Hands?

Posted by Renee Harris on

5 Daily Activities that Cause Dry Skin

A new customer wrote:

My friend recommended your products to me. I have had dry hands ever since I was a girl and it has gotten progressively worse. I wear gloves to do any cleaning or the cleaners make my hands extremely dry to the point of cracking. I use Palmolive Soft Touch dishsoap to wash dishes – my hands still dry out, but not nearly as badly as with other kinds of dish soap. If I spend a day baking or cooking extra much and wash my hands often, my hands get very dried out and usually crack. The lotions that used to help bring relief seem less and less effective and I’d love to find something that actually helps! - Brenda

I could have written these exact words 11 years ago. (I actually did write something similar here!) As a mom of many, I had my hands in water all the time and dish soap made my skin worse.

Let's dissect the email above to find 5 things Brenda does that makes her hands dry out:

"I have had dry hands ever since I was a girl."

If your mother or father had dry skin, there's a chance you have dry skin, too. It can also be due to the environment you live in (dry vs. humid).

"I wear gloves."

Nitrile gloves can cause dry skin. Any prolonged use of wearing gloves can irritate the skin. I would try to keep the glove-wearing to a minimum and keep your hands moisturized with Beesilk between use.

"I use Palmolive Soft Touch dish soap to wash dishes..."

I checked the ingredients and while it's so tempting to rely on the "Soft Touch" name, there are still plenty of ingredients that can trigger dry, cracked skin. First, there's fragrance added, which is a known skin irritant. Then, there's SD Alcohol, which, according to this website, has these consequences: "dryness, erosion of the surface of skin ... and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin." But wait, there's more: sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent in this and most soap that strips the skin of its natural oils, causing dry skin. Finally, the preservatives in Palmolive Soft touch can cause contact dermatitis. I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I personally alternate between sometimes using a heavy degreaser that will get my dishes clean, and other times using Mr. Meyer's Clean Day or other natural alternative. Just be aware that a commonly used dish soap with a "soft" or "gentle" name doesn't mean it won't dry out your skin.

"If I spend a day baking or cooking..."

At around the time I learned how to make my first lotion bar, I was also deep into baking, and would knead and bake 12 loaves of bread in one day. I didn't realize that the salt from the dough would suck all the moisture out of my skin.

"...wash my hands often..."

This will do it! It definitely dries out the skin if you wash with regular store-bought hand cleansers (they're often not even called soap because they aren't defined as such!). We recommend our goat milk soap, made with nourishing oils and butters.

Thankfully, you don't need to alter your activities too much to get relief from your dry skin! You DO need to regularly apply a Beesilk lotion bar to your hands to keep them soft and pain-free.

Beesilk Ingredient List: 76-degree coconut oil, unbleached beeswax, naturally refined shea butter.

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