The hand helps us perform most of our daily activities. Having an itch on the hand, therefore, can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. It is very hard to avoid scratching it, and this can interfere with your work, sleep or personal life. The problem with scratching is that it offers temporary relief and before you know it, you are back to scratching it again.
Dry skin (xerosis) aggravates the itchiness. Dry hands mean that the skin on your hands has lost its moisture/ natural oils. This can cause itching and flaky patches. To treat the itchiness and dryness, one must know what caused it. This article will help you find out the cause of your itchy and dry hands and treatment options available.
This causes loss of moisture and natural oils on the skin and is mostly caused by the cold weather. When it’s cold, humidity drops, and low temperatures make people use their central heating. This can dry out the skin. Other things like harsh soaps, hot showers, and skin scrubbing remove moisture from the skin causing it to itch.
Prevention and treatment
Always keep hands moisturized. You can use coconut oil since it’s an awesome natural moisturizer. This will help moisturize the skin and prevent itchiness.
Hand dermatitis/ eczema
Hand eczema or dermatitis is triggered by genetics, contact allergens, and irritating substances. Its exact cause is not known yet.
It mostly affects people in the catering, hairdressing, cleaning, mechanical and healthcare jobs, especially when their hands encounter irritants and other chemicals.
Some of its symptoms include:
- Dryness and flaking
- Cracks and blisters
Pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema causes itchy small blisters on the palms of the hands. It affects women more than men and needs immediate medical attention.
Avoid substances that trigger eczema. It’s important to identify what substance affects your hands to protect them from irritants. For efficiency, be consistent and make it a daily routine to care and control.
Clean the using lukewarm water and fragrance-free soap. Blot to dry them, then moisturize using moisturizers (creams and ointments).
Protect your hands using gloves.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition which is not contagious. It gives one thickened plagues and scaly skin. It speeds up the skin cells life cycle causing them to rapidly build upon the surface of the skin. This forms scales from the extra skin cells. The scaly red patches are painful and itchy.
The symptoms of psoriasis on the hands include:
- Skin that is dry and cracked and which bleeds sometimes.
- Itchiness, soreness, and a burning feeling.
- The skin has red patches that are covered with silvery thick scales.
- Stiff and swollen joints.
There is no known cure, but one can control the symptoms by moisturizing, managing stress and quitting smoking.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This is a form of eczema. Allergic contact dermatitis happens when the skin has an allergic reaction to allergens on the skin. The reaction occurs from 8 to 72 hours after the skin is exposed to the allergen. Some of the allergens include jewelry that has nickel, fragrances from household items and perfumes, rubber or latex gloves and plants like poison ivy.
Symptoms will include
- dry, flaky, scaly skin
- Oozing blisters
- Extreme itching
- Sun sensitivity
- Identify what caused the reaction and stay away from it next time.
- Use mild soap and cool water to wash the area. This may help minimize the spread by getting rid of the substances causing the reaction.
- If the rash is only in a small area, use hydrocortisone cream.
- Apply 30 minutes cold compress to blisters, three times a day.
- Use moisturizer on the damaged skin to help in the restoration of the skin’s protective layer.
- Contact a doctor for oral antihistamines. Do not buy over the counter since the antihistamine can cause you another allergic reaction.
- If whatever is causing the allergic reaction cannot be avoided, talk to your doctor about creams and gloves that can protect your skin.
Itchy hands no rash
This can be caused by burns and bites. If you get bit by a bug on the hand, you will experience itching due to the venom or an allergy to the bug bite. Burning too from the sun (sunburn) or contact with something hot will cause itching as the cells regenerate. This two will not have a visible rash.
Prevention, relieve and care of dry and itchy hands
The key to preventing dry itchy hands is finding out the triggers and avoiding them. Here are a few tips to help you protect them, relieve the pain, itchiness and take care of them:
- Limit your contact with hot soapy water and use fragrance-free soap.
- Moisturize them after cleaning them always and make this a daily routine.
- Do not use hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps since they irritate the skin.
- If they are always dry, massage a cream into the hands gently, put on leather gloves and leave overnight. In the morning, wash and pat them dry. This will nourish your skin and help with its repairability.
- Avoid scratching the itch as much as possible. Scratching makes the symptoms worse and could also cause infections. If you can’t stop the scratching, trim your nails and wear gloves when going to sleep, so that you don’t scratch in your sleep.
- Avoid being in extreme temperatures that dry out your skin.
- To soothe itchy skin, soak yourself in lukewarm water. This will also help with the inflammation. To maximize on soothing your skin, sprinkle your water with either uncooked oatmeal or baking soda. They help to calm skin.
- Do not soak your skin in water for more than 15 minutes. Soaking for too long dries out the skin causing more itching.
- Do not use hot water as it rids the skin of its natural oils, making it dry and itchy.
- After bathing, rub cream or lotion onto the skin before it fully dries to lock in moisture, keep the skin hydrated and prevent itchiness from dry skin.
- Apply a cold compress on the rashes for 10 or 15 minutes before sleep. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin, wrap it in a clean towel to protect your skin from frostbite.
- Wear clothes that won’t irritate your skin to protect from further scratching. Cotton is a good material with smooth textures.
- Make your living quarters comfortable, cool and ventilated properly.
- Stay hydrated.
- Reduce stress.