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5 Tips for Preventing Dry Hands in Winter

woman sitting outside in the snow wearing a blue coat, yellow scarf, and putting on gray gloves

The winter weather always seems to bring with it a little more discomfort, doesn't it? And for those of us grappling with arthritis, this season can be especially challenging.

Winter dryness, like an uninvited guest, exacerbates the discomfort in our hands, making them feel more like a dry outback than the cozy haven they should be. Well, fear not, because I've been on a mission to crack the code to keep your hands as soft as a kangaroo and, in the process, help alleviate some of that winter-induced discomfort.


Unveiling the Winter-Arthritis Connection

Dry and cold weather can potentially affect arthritis symptoms for some people. While there isn't a direct link between dry hands in winter and the development of arthritis, the cold and dry conditions can contribute to joint stiffness and discomfort, especially for those who already have arthritis

In the chilly season, the cold weather might cause the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to tighten, making joints feel stiffer than a board. And let's not forget about the dry skin – it can lead to irritation and cracking, adding an extra layer of discomfort for individuals already dealing with arthritis.


5 Tips to Help With Dry Winter Hands

If you struggle with dry hands in the winter, and it's causing you more discomfort than usual, you're not alone. My hands get extremely dry during the winter too, and I'm always looking for tips to help. Here are some of the top ones that have helped me:


1. Avoid using hot water.

Hot water is more likely to strip your skin of its natural oils, so it's important to avoid washing your hands or showering in hot water. Instead, use warm water. If you can't say no to a hot shower, be sure to moisturize afterwards.


2. Moisturize.

Make sure to moisturize your hands after every wash to help lock in moisture and keep your hands soft and smooth. If you have extremely dry skin, heavier moisturizers are the way to go. Otherwise, a lightweight moisturizer will work just fine.

Make sure when picking out a moisturizer that it doesn't contain dehydrating ingredients like isopropyl alcohol or sulfates. We want to keep those hands nice and soft, not make them worse!


3. Try Petroleum Jelly.

If you have severely dry or damaged skin and you're struggling to find a moisturizer that works for you, try petroleum jelly. It works to relieve dry skin and it's one of the safest products you can use on the skin. It works by forming a barrier on the top of your skin that prevents water from leaving. Wearing gloves or socks after applying petroleum jelly can help lock in even more moisture.


4. Bundle Up

If you plan on being outside for long periods of time, be sure to bundle up. Wear a hat, gloves, or even a scarf to help cover the most sensitive areas of your skin. The cold, dry air can leave your skin feeling dry and chapped if it's exposed to the winter air for a long time.


5. Use a humidifier.

When the air is cold and dry, it can draw moisture out of your skin leaving it dry and chapped. Having a humidifier in your house can help by adding moisture to the air. That way, the air doesn't pull the moisture out of your skin.


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