Our hands are truly exposed and often constantly in use, meaning that anything from cold temperatures to even just everyday life can take its toll, leading to dry skin and chapping.

Fortunately, there are many simple solutions and home treatments to soften your hands, and keep them feeling and looking their best. A combination of gentle cleansing, exfoliation, moisturising, deep conditioning and protection can transform dry hands into those as soft as a baby. Thankfully, many of the required products can be found already stocked in your kitchen and beauty cabinet.

Gentle Hand Cleansing

Keeping your hands clean is a necessity, while choosing cleansers that avoid stripping your hands of their vital moisture is the first step to achieving and maintaining soft hands. To do this, look for moisturising hand washes and soaps that contain ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, aloe vera or hyaluronic acid.

Beyond your choice of hand wash, use warm but not hot water, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and cover the whole surface area. Note that there is no need to aggressively scrub your hands to safely clean them.

To dry, gently dab rather than rubbing. Once cleansing is complete always follow with a good moisturiser.

Hand Exfoliation

Removing dry, chapped and hardened skin to reveal soft hands is a key step not to be skipped. Try one of our at-home hand softening exfoliation remedies 1-2 times a week, which can achieve super soft results:

Olive oil and sugar hand softening exfoliating scrub

Ingredients

½ teaspoon olive oil (inexpensive olive oil is fine)

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

  • Pour the olive oil into your palm and add the sugar. 
  • With one finger, mix the sugar into the olive oil until it is a gritty mixture. 
  • Then rub your palms together, spreading the oil and sugar mixture to cover your skin. 
  • Rub your hands together for a couple of minutes, making sure all your skin is covered. 
  • After you've rubbed your hands well, gently rinse with water.

Coconut oil hand softening exfoliating scrub

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of honey

¼ cup of sea salt

¼ cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions

  • Put the coconut oil into a small bowl. 
  • Add the honey and mix well. 
  • In a second bowl, mix the sea salt together with the sugar. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the dry mixture until it has the consistency of slightly damp sand. 
  • Combine the salt mixture with the oil and honey mixture, and stir well. 
  • With your fingers, scoop a small amount into your hand.
  • Rub your hands together well, and spread the scrub across your palms and between your fingers.
  • Rinse with warm water, and gently dry with a towel.
  • Store excess scrub in a glass jar with an airtight lid.

Oatmeal hand softening exfoliating scrub

Ingredients

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup coarse sea salt

1/2 cup softened coconut oil

4 tablespoons aloe vera gel

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Apply to hands for approx. 2 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.

Hand Creams and Moisturisers

With a vast range of hand creams and moisturisers available, it can be difficult to know which products to choose. In general, look for the a combination of a few of the following ingredients:

Long lasting moisturisers:

Formulas that contain ingredients such as shea butter, B vitamins, and retinol help to keep your skin soft long after you’ve applied the lotion.

Smoothing repair moisturisers:

Mineral oils and lanolin help to trap water in the skin, and lotions with lactic acid and urea have smoothing qualities.

Moisture retainers:

Glycerin and dimethicone help to moisturize, while hyaluronic acid can help retain that moisture.

As a general rule, moisturise your hands every time you wash them, and always apply moisturisers to hands that are still a little damp. This will trap the water on your hands for added hydration.

To make it easy to moisturise your hands regularly, keep small bottles around the house, in your bag and at work, so you always have some on hand.

Deep Conditioning Hand Treatments

Want to give your hands some extra special love? Sometimes a deep conditioning treatment is the answer that can kick start a new level of hydration that you simply aren’t achieving with daily moisturising lotions and creams. Try treating your hands to a deep conditioning hand treatment once a week.

Vaseline and socks deep conditioning hand treatment

Why not try an overnight intense hand softening treatment using only two items? Vaseline is known for its ability to lock in moisture and soften even the most callous palms. It is an often forgotten beauty secret, which you can purchase cheaply and has a multitude of uses.

Required

Vaseline

A pair of socks

Directions

  • After finishing all your activities for the day, wrap up by washing your hands with a gentle soap and drying them off. 
  • Then get a dollop of Vaseline and rub it into your hands. 
  • Go ahead and take an extra 30 seconds to massage your hands gently. 
  • Then simply slip the socks over your hands and go to bed. Wake up the next day to supple, soft hands.

Instead of using socks, you can also use fabric gloves, but a clean pair of old socks you don’t use anymore will work just fine—and don't require a trip to the store.

Avocado deep conditioning hand mask

If you’d prefer a treatment that you do not need to wear to bed, try an avocado hand mask. Avocados are packed with fats that are great for conditioning the skin. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to this formula to create an aroma of your choice.

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons plain yogurt

1 tablespoon olive oil

A few drops of essential oil

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients together.
  • Apply to hands.
  • Wrap hands in plastic bags and then cover with a towel.
  • Allow to penetrate for around 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.

Hand Protection

Fully covering hands is often ignored when applying sunscreen, while like your face, your hands are usually constantly exposed to the damaging effects of sunlight.

Try and get into the habit of applying sunscreen to your hands before going outside. If you are applying sunscreen to your face, always remember to add your hands into the process as a general rule.

Choose a broad-spectrum product, which will provide protection against the damaging UVA and UVB light. It is also recommended that everyone, no matter what their skin tone, uses a minimum of SPF 15.

Our hands are often the first parts of the body to show age, and sun protection is still one of the most effective ways of defending against premature ageing.

Stay Hydrated

Your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside your body too. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help keep your skin to good condition. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to maintain a good level of hydration.

If you struggle to drink enough water, try adding slices of fruit to give a hint of flavour and make the taste more interesting. Citrus fruits are a great way to jazz up water, and also consider cucumber or kiwis or mint, or any other fruit and herb combinations that you particularly fancy.

Address Underlying Skin Conditions

Your skin may be dry due to an underlying condition such as eczema or psoriasis. Both of these conditions cause inflammation that leads to the skin peeling and cracking, and can be extremely uncomfortable, irritating and even painful. Speaking to a professional about your options to treat such conditions is recommended. Your doctor may provide medicated creams or other options that can help to treat these conditions.