Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why is my skin so extremely dry?"
I'm a 28 year old female nurse assistant, and my hands have been so extremely dry my knuckles cracked especially this winter. people say that it's because of my job where i have to keep washing my hands for sanitary purposes. i have tried every moisturizing lotion i could think of but none worked.
Unfortunately, dry skin is a common problem for people who have to wash their hands frequently. This is because the chemicals and hot water strip out the skin's natural protective oils and moisture. This is generally worse in the winter, because the cold dry air also further dries out the skin. You can minimize this in part by trying to use an alcohol based hand disinfectant rather than soap and water between patients, as this is less drying. Also after every time you wash your hands you should apply a hand moisturizer. It is best to use a thick, greasy moisturizer such as hydrolated petrolatum, as this is better at trapping in the skin's moisture than regular lotions. Also, when you do wash your hands, make sure to pat them dry rather than rubbing them dry to minimize friction. Many people who have dry hands actually suffer from eczema, which is an inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by redness, itchiness, and dryness. In addition to frequent moisturizing, troublesome and persistent areas of redness and itch from eczema often need a topical steroid cream to get under control. Talk to your primary care doctor for further advice about how to manage this problem.
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