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April 15, 2014

Easing the pain of chapped hands

Chapped hands are never a welcome sight! Skin becomes rough, red and cracked, not to mention painful! In some cases, the cracks even ooze or bleed. Yet by adopting just a few simple habits, you can have soft, smooth hands all year round.

Causes of chapped hands

Chapping or cracking occurs when the skin on the hands becomes extremely dry. When it is dehydrated, epidermis is less flexible and more fragile, making it more vulnerable to cracking. Chapped hands can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Overuse of chemical products and disinfectants 
  • Repetitive rubbing of the fingertips

Good to know!
Chapped skin primarily affects adults. It can be an occasional or recurring problem. People who have eczema or another form of dermatitis are more likely to experience this problem.

Getting a handle on chapped hands

The best way to prevent chapped hands is to adopt the following measures:

  • Always wear gloves or mittens when it is cold outside.
  • Wear gloves when using chemical products or doing housework. 
  • Avoid using antibacterial soap or gel.
  • Wash your hands with gentle, unscented products, such as Cetaphil or SpectroDerm. 
  • Moisturize your skin several times a day, especially after washing your hands (here’s a tip: leave a pump-style bottle of cream by the kitchen and bathroom sinks). 
  • When your skin needs an extreme moisture treatment, apply cream or Vaseline to your hands and slip on a pair of white cotton gloves before going to bed.

If you have chapped skin and want to heal it fast, follow these few tips:

  • Switch from your regular hand cream to a moisturizer formulated with urea, an emollient and softening agent that promotes healing.
  • Cover the chapped areas with a regular or liquid bandage to prevent bacteria from entering the skin.

Good to know!
Chapped hands require care, because not only are they painful but they can also serve as a gateway for certain infections, such as impetigo.

Pharmacy services

If you need personalized advice, drop by a Uniprix store to consult our professional staff. For more severe skin problems, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.