People use their hands on a daily basis for a variety of different reasons. It may become extremely difficult and exhausting for your client to complete basic tasks such as typing on a computer or snapping their fingers if they are suffering from chronic dry hands. The use of harsh soaps and chemicals when washing hands may cause a lack of moisture as well. Many people with chronic dry hands experience symptoms that include itchy, red skin that may be discomforting. Scratching the damaged skin in order to relieve irritation may aggravate the condition and cause it to become worse.
The aging process can sometimes cause the skin to naturally lose moisture. Although it is not possible to fight aging, there are several ways in which this condition can be treated. In more serious cases, dry hands can be a sign of eczema or psoriasis, which may or may not occur solely on the hands. Hand eczema and psoriasis may occur as a result of the client’s family history along with internal and external factors. These conditions can affect the anterior, posterior or both portions of the hands. Clients who have professional careers that are very hands-on, such as nail technicians and massage therapists, carry the potential to be more susceptible to experiencing chronic dry hands.
It is important to practice caution when dealing with dry, cracked hands as it may be possible to contaminate any open wounds and potentially worsen the condition. When analyzing the client’s hands, skin care professionals should inform the client of possible causes and suggest a treatment and home care that will be beneficial in healing this condition.
A new client schedules an appointment seeking treatment for his extremely dry hands. Since recently relocating to Pennsylvania in January, the client explains that his hands have begun to peel and bleed on a regular basis. His job requires the constant practice of washing his hands each day and it causes him great discomfort. The client also shares that he has tried a variety of different moisturizers and has experienced little to no result in combating the problem. Desperately seeking treatment to effectively heal his hands, the client hopes that this consultation will provide the proper regimen to cure his chronic dry hands.
The man is Native American, 32 years old, and works as a chef. He explains that this is his first attempt at seeking professional treatment for this problem and that, although he has never experienced any signs of eczema, his family has a history of the condition.
As a skin care professional, what solution would you propose to treat this case study on chronic dry hands?
Noelle Herzog, president of Karin Herzog
“Through the stabilization of active oxygen in a cream, an antibacterial emulsion can be created to disinfect the properties of oxygen while, at the same time, moisturize the skin. When a product such as this is used several times a day, the skin’s natural protection barrier will be restored, allowing it to retain moisture and prevent the reoccurrence of this condition in the future. This will help the client re-nourish and heal his severely damaged skin.”
Rachael Pontillo, owner of Holistically Haute™, LLC
“Extreme dryness of the hands has several different causes including overexposure to irritant chemicals and overwashing the hands. It may also be a result of internal issues such as food sensitivity, dehydration, and micronutrient deficiency. Something as simple as a change in water and environment might also contribute to chronic dry hands. The client’s job requires him to wash his hands several times a day and many of the antibacterial hand soaps in public places contain extremely irritant chemicals like triclosan and strong synthetic fragrances that can cause topical reactions and internal imbalances after prolonged use. The client should bring his own hand cleanser containing naturally hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera and natural antibacterial ingredients like essential oils. After handwashing, He should also moisturize with a natural emollient like shea butter or coconut oil to lock in moisture, soothe irritation, and prevent dehydration. I also recommend that he meet with a holistic nutritionist to discuss diet and other holistic measures he can take to improve this condition.”
Bryan Barron, content and research director at BeautyPedia.com
“To combat this problem, the client will need to focus on his home care treatment. I would advise him to try a trick that I have used successfully at home and at my office to combat dry hands from frequent handwashing: swap out the usual liquid soap for a bottle of moisturizing body wash. A moisturizing formula cleanses the skin well but also contains emollients, such as petrolatum, to keep the cleansing agents from drying skin that’s washed frequently. Another option at work would be for him to wearing latex or latex-free gloves while prepping food and washing hands. The gloves will allow ample dexterity while keeping the skin protected from frequent handwashing. After work and before bed, he should apply a dime-sized amount of clinically-proven dry skin treatment. Don’t forget to try the moisturizing body wash trick for your soap dispensers around the house, too. It makes a big difference!”
Trish Green, director of sales and marketing for Eve Taylor® North America
“The client’s condition appears to be from a potential predisposed genetic weakness, an occupational hazard around frequent handwashing and cold winter conditions. The treatment needs to consist of healing the open and often bleeding skin, re-establishing the skin’s barrier function, and providing a regular moisturizing regime.
To heal the open lesions, utilize the healing power of essential oils in cold pressed carrier oils and/or therapeutic healing cream. Essential oils can include lavender (analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory) geranium and frankincense, both cicatrisant and cytophylactic; and German chamomile for sensitive red, dry or flakey skin. Carrot seed oil can also be used for weeping sores and eczema. For the base, use argan oil for its high level of essential fatty acids. This will assist in restoring the barrier function, maintaining hydration levels and healing. Pair this with the anti- inflammatory properties of calendula oil. At night, the client should place a blend of essential oils in the carrier oil combination for rapid penetration. At work, calendula cream can provide a good barrier and is easy to use in addition to wearing gloves during food preparation to lessen the frequency of handwashing. The cream must be a quality product that contains minimum ingredients and high levels of calendula. A good moisturizer should contain shea butter, olive butter and sea buckthorn.”