Summer has arrived in some places and is on its way in others. Either way, your hands might not be ready to make an appearance so soon after a cold, dry winter (or spring!). If your skin is red, dry, and cracked, it might need a little TLC to be ready for warm, outdoor weather. Beautiful glowing skin can be a challenge, even in the summer. A little extra care can go a long way to keep your hands soft, smooth, and ready for long summer evenings.
What causes dry, cracked skin?
Your skin produces natural oils that usually keep the skin moisturized. Sometimes environmental conditions or activities put too much strain on the skin’s natural moisture structure. For example, in the winter when temperatures drop, the air holds less moisture, leaving many people with dry, cracked hands. Add to that winter’s flu and cold season when you’re washing your hands more often, and it’s the perfect formula for unhappy skin.
While summer can be easier on your hands, it can be harder on other areas. Excess moisture in the summer can also irritate and dry the skin. It’s more likely to happen in high friction areas like under the arms, in the groin, and between the thighs, not so much the hands.
However, your skin can also crack from exposure to irritants at any time of the year. Some people's skin is sensitive to the chemicals found in soaps. That irritation can get further magnified if you use water that’s too hot, zapping your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
How to heal dry skin
Apply a daily moisturizer
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often forgotten. Apply a daily moisturizer like SkinResourceMD’s Total Skin Moisturizer to your hands and anywhere else that’s suffering from dryness. This formula goes on smoothly and quickly absorbs into the skin without feeling sticky or greasy.
You get extra benefits by applying your moisturizer after you shower but before you leave the bathroom. As soon as you walk out of the bathroom, the moisture from a steamy shower evaporates from your skin. If you apply the moisturizer while you’re still in the bathroom, the moisturizer absorbs into the opened pores and brings steamy moisture with it.
Your hands aren’t the only place that may suffer from dryness. The elbows, knees, and feet are high friction areas that often become dry and cracked and could use regular moisturizing, too.
Re-moisturize after washing your hands
We are all for good hygiene. However, your skin will thank you if you re-moisturize after each hand washing. Hand soaps break up oils and dirt so they wash off of your hands. However, they can also take your skin’s moisture with them. A light layer of moisturizer can restore your skin’s natural barrier and prevent clean hands from becoming chapped hands.
Trade your hand soap for cleanser
Soaps can often have surfactants that not only remove dirt and oil but compromise your skin’s outer protective barrier. The skin then has a hard time keeping itself hydrated, leaving you with dry, cracked skin that’s more prone to infection.
Cleansers have surfactants as well, but they are more commonly made with gentle surfactants that leave the skin’s natural moisture levels alone. For example, SkinResourceMD’s Total Facial Cleansing Gel is soap-free but contains a mix of ingredients that don’t irritate the skin or deplete the moisture layer. When you’re done washing your face or hands with this cleansing gel, the skin won’t feel tight because it still has adequate hydration.
Moisturize before bed
Your skin heals while you sleep. What better time is there to give your skin a moisture boost than before it will spend eight hours recovering from the day? Apply a moisturizer (Total Skin Moisturizer) and then put on clean cotton gloves before going to bed. The gloves protect your sheets and keep the moisturizer from rubbing off while you sleep.
Your skin can’t stay moisturized if you’re not well hydrated. The average person needs about 64 ounces of water a day. That number can vary by your height, weight, activity level, and the weather. If the weather is warm and you’re active, you’re going to need extra water. Sip on a water bottle throughout the day to keep you (and your skin) healthily hydrated.
The summer reveal
Happy, well-hydrated hands let you enjoy your summer activities without being self-conscious. Take care of your skin. If the spring and winter have left your hands dry and cracked, a little extra moisturizer here and there and careful use of cleansers can make all the difference.