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Tip: Highly Effective Treatment for Dry Hands

Tip: Highly Effective Treatment for Dry Hands

Try this "Soak and Seal" Method.

Dry skin, especially dry hands, is a common condition that plagues many of us every year.  Researchers at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, CO have spent years researching methods to keep our hands (and skin) moist and crack-free.  They have found that the "soak and seal" method is extremely effective at keeping our skin supple and moist.

This method involves soaking our skin in luke-warm water for up to 15-minutes, and then sealing in this moisture by applying a thick layer of an oil-based moisturizer.  When done properly, this makes the moisturizer 10x more effective than it would be had we not soaked first.  

So, when the winter months are here, or when COVID-19 has us all washing our hands obsessively, we can battle against having dry, cracked hands.  We can soak our hands, and then coat them in olive oil, or Aquaphor, or petroleum jelly, or another oil-based moisturizer.  We can use a water-based lotion, which is easier to apply; however, these lotions are not as effective as an oil-based moisturizer.

Other factors that can strip away moisture from our hands include:

  • Bathing in hot water, or washing our hands in hot water.  Hot water dries out skin.  Opt for lukewarm water instead.
  • Using harsh soaps or surfactants can dry out our skin.  Try a gentle cleanser, like a castille soap.  Our favorite is Dr. Bronner’s baby unscented and Dr. Bronner’s rose soaps.
  • Using deodorant soaps are often very harsh and known for drying out our skin.
  • Scrubbing our skin with a washcloth or towel can strip away necessary skin oil, leaving our skin raw and dry.

So, when you have dry hands, remember to soak them for 10-15 minutes in luke-warm water, and then seal in the moisture with an oil-based moisturizer.  We recommend Aquaphor or organic olive oil.


More information
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) has more about dry skin, and allergies and dry skin.
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Battle Dry Skin During The Winter By Following Tips From National Jewish Medical And Research Center." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 1997.

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Kay Clark - July 15, 2021

Good advice but as a nurse of 30 years I did the what you recommended but added one step. Do it at night and then put on cotton gloves to sleep in.

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