Medical information you can trust

Home Diseases & Disorders Medications Parenting & Pregnancy Medical Dictionary
 Talk Medical > Diseases & Disorders > Chapped Hands Symptoms, Chapped Hands Treatments


Subscribe to the free monthly health digest.

Relevant health articles just for you.


Chapped Hands

Chapped hands are a result of very dry skin. Dry skin occurs when the moisture, or water, content of the skin is decreased for any reason.

What is going on in the body?

The surface of the skin holds a certain amount of water. When the water content decreases, the skin becomes dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. Some people have very sensitive skin that is easily irritated. Since a person's hands are often exposed to elements such as cold and moisture, hands may become irritated before other parts of the body do.

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Hands that are chapped usually have the following characteristics: · roughness · dryness · redness · peeling · cracking · sensitivity · tenderness

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to dry skin. As people age, their skin tends to become drier. Dry air, resulting from winter's low humidity and the use of indoor heat, can cause skin to dry out. Long, hot baths and showers can also make skin dry.

Factors that increase a person's risk of chapped hands include the following: · frequent handwashing, which may be associated with the person's job · prolonged exposure to cold, dry weather · sunburn or windburn · allergic reactions to skin care products · history of a skin disorder, such as eczema

What can be done to prevent the condition?

People subject to chapped hands should limit the amount of soap they use and the length of time their hands are exposed to the water. Some people may be able to use mild, moisturizing soap on their hands. A few need to limit soap use to the underarms and genitalia.

After patting the hands dry with a towel, the individual should apply a moisturizer. Two types of moisturizers are available over-the-counter: · cosmetic moisturizers, which provide immediate relief of dry skin but last only while they are applied to the skin. For people with mild or intermittent chapped hands, a cosmetic moisturizer may be enough to keep the skin from feeling dry. · therapeutic moisturizers, which have demonstrated the ability to act as a barrier that keeps water from evaporating from the skin. Many therapeutic moisturizers contain mineral oil or petroleum.

The healthcare provider may also prescribe creams containing alpha hydroxy acids or urea to get rid of dead skin and minimize itching.

Following are other measures to help prevent chapped hands: · wearing protective gloves whenever possible · avoiding prolonged exposure to water, such as swimming · avoiding exposure to chemicals that irritate the skin

How is the condition diagnosed?

An individual can generally diagnose his or her own chapped hands. If the condition persists or worsens, a healthcare provider may be consulted to rule out more serious skin disorders.


What are the long-term effects of the condition?

If chapped hands are left untreated, the person may have the following problems: · difficulty doing things without wearing protective gloves · recurrent skin conditions such as outbreaks of eczema or skin inflammation · infections, which may occur when bacteria enter cracks in the skin

What are the risks to others?

Chapped hands are not contagious and pose no risk to others.

What are the treatments for the condition?

The same guidelines for bathing and using moisturizers that are used to prevent chapped hands also can be used to treat chapped hands.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

There are no side effects to treatment, unless an individual is allergic to moisturizers. Those individuals should choose unscented or hypoallergenic moisturizers.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

Moisturizer should be applied to the skin on a regular basis as needed. This will help prevent symptoms from returning

How is the condition monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

Related to Chapped Hands

Tumor Markers Symptoms
Tumor markers are chemical substances that are produced by some cancers. Most of these substances can be found in the bloodstream in small amounts even when cancer is not present. When cancers produce...

Stable Angina Symptoms
Stable angina is pain, pressure, or a sense of heaviness in the chest beneath the breastbone. It is brought on by physical exertion and is relieved by rest. The discomfort or pain may also be felt in...

Aural Polyps Treatments
Aural polyps are noncancerous, fleshy growths in the outer ear canal or on your eardrum. What is going on in the body? Polyps usually form from constant irritation of the ear canal or eardrum. ear...

Rash Symptoms
A rash is an area of the skin that has broken out or changed in appearance. It may affect one small patch of skin or the entire body. What is going on in the body? There are many skin changes that...

Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sleep apnea is the term used for periods in which a person temporarily stops breathing while asleep. What is going on in the body? Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder. When a person has sleep he...

Talk about Chapped Hands

Print Diseases and Disorders


About Talk Medical · Help · Contact Us · Link to Talk Medical
Talk Medical Copyright © 2011 Talk Medical. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions. Privacy Policy.