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What works best for very dry cracked hands?
By Donna from Foymount, Ontario
I use "Bag Balm" (it is used on cows' udders when they are in the cold all the time - sounds gross but works like you wouldn't believe!) and either cotton or latex gloves - whatever I can get my hands on (no pun). Just put the balm on and cover it up overnight. After a couple of nights, my hands and cuticles are incredibly soft and there's no more cracks! I use it on my feet, too, with a pair of socks. (My husband didn't like the idea of socks and gloves but when he saw the difference, he changed his mind.) You don't need to do this every night for the rest of your life. I watch to see when they start getting a little dry and take care of the problem right away.
The little green metal can will last for a long time since you only need a little bit each time. You can find it in drug stores, farm supply, pet stores.
If this doesn't sound so appealing, you can also buy a bottle of grapeseed and/or avocado oil and massage onto your skin, you don't need much but these oils are more expensive. These work much better than most oils because they absorb better and offer healing properties not found in other oils. Watch out for lotions with mineral oil because surprisingly that dries the skin - maybe to guarantee continued use?
I worked in a warehouse (very cold) and tried many products. The best thing that I found was a product used for very dry and very cracked feet. It comes in a stick form. The brand name is Luxuriant, cracked heel repair. A little goes a long way. I believe that I purchased this at Walmart. But maybe Rite Aid. Either way my hands are smooth and hydrated all year long now.
I've taught high school pottery for 30 years and also throw during the summer. The best way to exfoliate is to put a teaspoon of sugar in your hand and squirt a bit of soap on top. Scrub all over and between fingers without water. Wash the concoction off. Hands will be smooth. At night for dry hands and feet, slather Vaseline and put white cotton socks on your feet and cotton gloves on your hands. The next morning, you will be rewarded with smooth skin. I've never had dry hands and I work with clay with students 7 hours a day!
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My hands and feet get very dry and ashy despite putting on very good quality creams. Any tips to get these areas smooth and soft? Thanks.
I am in love with aloe vera gel. I have recently changed out the products I use that rate poorly at the skin deep cosmetic database. Check it out at :
I use aloe vera gel as my only moisturizer, shave gel, and leave in conditioner. When I shave using aloe gel my legs are so soft I have no need for additional lotion. I love that when I use it for a hand cream it seeps right into my hands leaving them soft and silky without that clogged, greasy lotion feel. I like to use Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Gelly. Make sure you by aloe that is alcohol free with no added dyes or fragrance. I hope you find something that works. (08/02/2007)
By T Tthompson
My dry skin and hands are related to removal of my thyroid and diabetes. I have used many of the methods listed, but I continually fall back on plain olive oil. I keep a small amount near where I sit at my table and when I notice or scratch on goes the oil, just a small amount. It absorbs completely without greasiness.
I concur completely about lotions with alcohol and alcohol type ingredients, all of which dry skin.
I also use hand soap with Shea butter at the kitchen sink. I love it.
So, that's my two: olive oil and Shea butter in hand cleaners.
Good luck. (08/03/2007)
I have very dry skin also, I have lymphedema in one of my legs and it causes the skin to be extremely dry, I use Gold Bond lotion, it has medicine in it to help. This stuff is really good. (08/03/2007)
Something I like to do is really buff my hands and other areas really good. You can buy sugar scrubs, but I usually will whisk an egg white just until it's not all bubbly. Then I dip my hands in the egg whites and rub together really well, then dip my hands in sugar, and rub vigorously. I will repeat, not rinsing in between, and then if I have time, I'll let it sit on my hands for about 5 minutes. After that, I wash my hands well with warm soapy water, and then apply a good moisturizing hand cream.
I use Avon Moisture Therapy Intensive Hand Cream For Extremely Dry Skin. That's what it's actually called. And if you bathe, rather than shower, put a little Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil in your bath water and just soak in it.
Vaseline on the hands with socks or gloves on your hands is a good tip, too. I saw that mentioned. But I toss and turn, and even with socks or gloves, the Vaseline gets on my face and in my hair.
I've tried the Crisco, and I didn't like it.
Hope you find something that helps. (08/05/2007)
Try this recipe. It works wonders.
This is such a simple way of making your hands (and anywhere on your body) soft, silky and smooth.
These techniques will make your hands noticeably soft, smooth and gorgeous; I use this "routine" once a week to keep them looking nice and feeling soft. Also, at night, you could apply a thick layer of EVOO to skin and wear cotton socks/gloves while you sleep to make them silky and moisturized in the morning. (09/01/2007)
I had dry skin all over my body due to an under active thyroid, and I tried everything on the market, and the doctor ran out of ideas too, then someone suggested one part glycerin to three parts water, in a spray bottle.
Now my hands, that were so dry they cracked and bled daily, are smooth and soft, and I don't have to even use it every day. (despite doing the washing up by hand.) As for the rest of me, well let's just say my skin looks about 20 years younger than I really am.
I really wish I had heard about this years ago, as I would have literally saved a fortune. (09/01/2007)
When you put some cream on your hands your body thinks it is living in a "greasy" environment and doesn't need to add any softening stuff from the inside. That's why your hands get dry.
Instead you should do nothing, and let your body adapt to the environment you do live in. It can be a good idea to try not to wash your hands at all for 12 hours each day (say, seven in the evening to seven in the morning) to give your skin some "rest". Also, avoid soaps with "moisturisers", as this is just a stealthy form of skin cream.
On cold winter days you should wear gloves, preferably of the kind where the thumb is in one "pocket" and the rest of the fingers in another "pocket". They should be made of a material that doesn't let the wind through, e.g. leather or nylon. Avoid knitted gloves. Put on the gloves every time you go out, as soon as you get out, even if it's just to put a bag in the trash. If your hands feel a little sweaty when you take the gloves off then you are doing it right. The sweat contains softening chemicals, and since that sweat comes from the part of the skin that needs it your body won't misinterpret it.
Also, make sure to drink water, because if you're dry on the inside you'll also end up being dry on the outside. I've seen that happen to somebody, and after she started drinking properly the problem disappeared.
My mother-in-law was diabetic, and she used Cornhuskers lotion. It is a clear thick gel, but it worked great. I have also tried Mane and Tail hoof cream. It was originally designed to keep horses hooves from splitting. It works great for my feet, especially my heels, and my hands. It is also great for those that have dry brittle fingernails. The only drawback is that it isn't all that great smelling. Maybe mixing it with a bit of scent would help that. Never tried to do it though. I'm just glad I have something that works for my dry skin. (09/09/2007)
Marni from Los Angeles, CA
Crisco solid shortening is the greatest treatment for dry skin! (10/06/2004)
Go to your Pharmacist and ask for some Eucerin Emollient for your hands. Its really cheap and little goes a long way. (10/06/2004)
Try rubbing your hands with petroleum jelly vaseline at night and wearing gloves to bed. Resulting in moist hands in the morning. Feels a bit unusual for the first couple of nights but the results are amazing. (10/06/2004)
I mix about 1 T of regular sugar with a T or more of veg. oil right in my hands.. Rub around for 3 -4 min. then wash off with warm water. Pat dry and then apply hand lotion. Makes dry hands feel great for a long time :-)
Also for dry feet: rub feet with oil, place in warm tub of water, rub every so often..(with feet in the water) Pat dry, put on lotion and socks or slippers :-)
Try adding pure vitamin e oil to the paraffin bath. It gives you a deep conditioning treatment in a short time with the help of the wax. (10/06/2004)
If your dry skin does not get better, you might want to see a doctor. Excessive dry skin is a symptom of thyroid problems. (10/06/2004)
After you have had your hands in water, like doing dishes or bathing is the best time to use a rich emolient or petroleum jelly type lotion. Another thing to try is diaper rash creme. Put on gloves after applying and let your body's heat soak in the creme. Another good product is called Bag Balm. It comes in a square green can and is excellent to use after your hands have been in the water. I put it on at night and wear mitts in bed. (10/06/2004)
My grandmother used to use crisco, or lard or any other product like that. I can remember coming into her house and there she would be sitting with her hands on a plate, big gobs of lard slathered all over her hands. She would warm it up in a pan ( be careful if you do this) and then she would just put her hands right in the pot and then out on the plate. I know she would wash her hands before doing this. Maybe to open the pores or maybe to reuse the lard anyway and she would sit for at least twenty minutes. Then she would start rubbing and rubbing until a lot of this was rubbed into her skin. Then she would go to the trash and scrape off what was left, then run warmish water over her hands. She never used soap, just washed off most of the gooey stuff. Her hands would have a greasy feel to them when she was done. This would only last a few hours, but I swear to you, she had hands that made powder seem rough. They were softer then a baby and they were so pleasing feeling when she would hug me or hold my hand. (10/07/2004)
You may just need to add some good oil to your diet (olive oil, flax, canola) - worked for me when I was eating mostly low fat foods. (10/07/2004)
Avon has a hand cream called Moisture Therapy that has really helped my dry hands. It lasts a long time and you can wash your hands several time before you need to apply more. It comes on sale quite often so I stock up then. (10/08/2004)
Hy Grade Lotion is great, especially if you live in a very dry climate. It was created in Grand Junction, Colorado. It's not at all greasy but does sting a little at first. I used to use it on my lizard like skin when I lived down there and it works very well. It was recommended to me by an old guy there when I complained of dry hands.
Another one that is great is Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
It should be available at any drug store.
I've also known people who put on hand cream or vaseline and have worn white cotton gloves covering it while sleeping. This seemed to help a lot.
- Susan at ThriftyFun
Two things: 1) Make sure you're using the heaviest lotion you can find. Keri is good, and Vaseline Intensive Care comes in second. 2) At night, rub petroleum jelly on heavily and cover with cotton socks. You might have to do this quite a few nights before your dry skin gets "caught up." Keep slathering on the lotion during the day. These things helped me quite a bit. (10/09/2004)
One more thought. Are you washing your hands too often? Our granddaughter washed her hands until they bled. The doctor put her on an antidepressant for a year, and the problem went away. (10/09/2004)
Try using bag balm, it's great for dry hands.Go to a farm feed store and request it there. very cheap, I know a physican surgeon that swears by it. (10/10/2004)
By betty webb.
The key to keeping moisture in is two things, aloe and water. First wash your hands or at least wet them. Putting lotion on already dry hands is like putting sunscreen on burned skin, it doesn't do any good. After washing and drying, immediately rub in clear aloe vera gel, it should say 100% pure aloe vera. You can buy this at any larger superstore. Then apply your lotion after the aloe has been rubbed in. The aloe will seal in moisture and the lotion will make your hands soft. I use aloe all over my body and it works really well. I use aloe as a night lip moisturizer after brushing my teeth at night, I use it as a blemish fighter, applied to a clean face before bed and as hair gel. (10/14/2004)
With the cold weather approaching we can also look forward to chapped hands. About once a week before you go to bed slather your hands with good old fashioned vaseline and put on cotton gloves. I'm talking about the thin ones that you can purchase like a half dozen for a buck. In the morning wash your hands with warm water and soap and your hands will feel like new.
By joesgirl (12/31/2004)
I would suggest "surgeons' skin secret" it is made of 3 things: beeswax, light mineral oil, and lanolin and can be found at http://www.QVC.com. Or you could make your own if you can find these ingredients and simply melt together. My 2 1/2 year old son has very dry skin and loves when I put it on him in winter. I've never found anything better. (12/31/2004)
Try using Keri (brand) oil. You can find it in the bath section at Walmart. Just wash your hands, rinse, apply Keri oil, rinse again, then dry. Put the Keri oil in a pump bottle since you don't need much. (01/05/2005)
This isn't exactly thrifty, but as a last resort, you might try asking your doctor about the prescription lotion Lac-Hydrin (or any lotion containing Ammonium Lactate). (01/18/2005)
Wow, a lot of great responses to your problem. I'll add one. I have eczema and I really support some of the posts but one warning, lotion is sometimes worse for you than good. they more often than not have alcohol in them. If you take oils such as ck recommended, also don't fall for advertising, if it has to have an add it's not that great. Soaps and lotions are misleading. the more natural the better, God didn't create our bodies to absorb all those crazy chemicals. Hope this helps bless you!
I'm a diabetic that checks her blood sugars 6 times a day and I can tell you about dry hands. I use 1 cheap bottle of baby lotion and a cheap bottle of lotion containing vitamin E and 1 small jar of vaseline. I sometimes mix in a few drops of peppermint essential oils. This works great! When my hands are real bad I have used vaseline on the hands at night with socks covering the hands. (03/16/2005)
Hey everyone. I have terrible dry hands all year long. My hands are not as dry during summer, but they're getting dried again. My hands are like sand paper in winter. I try to not wash my hands as much as possible to try to avoid drying out my hands even more. And I stay away from the harsh soap like antibacterial soap. My condition is a little better taking those precaution. I've been using the Bliss hand lotion. They're really good, and non greasy.
However, I was wondering if anyone knows what's causing my hands to be so dry like this? I guess this started when I was a teenager about 10 years ago. Could it be there I'm lacking any nutrients in my body? I'd used just about any good or just off the counter hand lotions, and none of them really help much except for the Bliss lotion I'm using right now. I really want to find a permanent solution to this problem. It really bothers me. I feel really embarrassed when I'm shaking someone's hand. Please give me your advice. Thanks so much. (08/31/2005)
Eliminate dry hands and or dry skin on body from the inside out. Buy pure Aloe Vera gel (98% pure) at the health food store. Take 1-2 tablespoons internally each day. Consistency of gel takes some getting used to, but you can follow with a drink of water. You can buy Aloe Vera juice, but I prefer the gel.
Wash hands and dry until slightly damp. Skin absorbs best when damp. Apply pure aloe vera gel and rub in. Also good treatment for feet.
Wash and damp dry hands or feet, apply Bag Balm and massage in, cover hands and or feet with cotton gloves or cotton socks and leave on overnight.
Also could be helpful to take 1 T. olive oil or flax oil internally each day. Increase your water intake to several glasses a day. (11/29/2005)
The best thing in the world for dry hands, feet and elbows is HY- Lotion manufactured in Grand Junction , Colorado. It is truly fantastic! (01/02/2007)