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Chapped hands


To prevent chapped hands:

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure or exposure to extreme cold or wind
  • Avoid washing hands with hot water
  • Limit hand washing as much as possible while maintaining good hygiene
  • Try to keep the air in your home humid
  • Use mild soaps or non-soap cleansers
  • Use moisturizing lotions on your hands regularly, especially if you live in a dry climate

To soothe chapped and sore hands:

  • Apply skin lotion frequently (if this does not work, try creams or ointments)
  • Avoid putting your hands in water unless necessary
  • If your hands do not improve, contact a dermatologist
  • Very strong hydrocortisone creams (available by prescription) are recommended for badly chapped hands
  • Wear gloves for doing everyday chores (cotton is best)


Habif TP. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 3.

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Review Date: 11/2/2014
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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