Learn how to heal dry skin
Do you need to heal dry skin and chapped hands? Hand chapping is called irritant hand dermatitis. It happens because:
- Skin lipids and keratin protein are lost from hand skin causing loss of barrier integrity.
- The weakened skin barrier continues to lose lipids and keratin as it is re-exposed to conditions that remove these important skin-barrier components. Examples of irritants that cause irritant hand dermatitis include:
- Harsh soaps used for hand washing, doing the dishes or washing other items without wearing gloves; and
- Chemicals such as solvents, alcohol, bleach, house cleansers, etc.
- The weakened barrier is prone to water loss from exposure to harsh climactic conditions such as wind, cold, dehumidified heated interior air.
Irritant hand dermatitis typically burns and hurts.
The more weakened your skin barrier is, the faster the pain and burning happen. Even relatively weak exposure to irritating conditions can cause hand chapping when the skin barrier is compromised. It’s why taking good care of your hand skin is so important.
Weakened skin with irritant hand dermatitis is also prone to allergic hand dermatitis reactions.
This is because allergens penetrate into the damaged skin more efficiently than healthy skin. The most common allergens include fragrances and preservatives in hand care products. They also include the myriad of other things you get your hands into such as:
- Plants (Philodendrons, English ivy, primrose, Alstroemeria flowers, tulips, chrysanthemums, and many other flowers and plants. Many trees also contain potent allergens that cause allergic hand dermatitis.
- Fruits and veggies that you touch when you cook and prep meals.
- All sorts of chemicals including hair styling products, hair dye and permanent wave solutions, paints, glues and the list goes on.
- Rubber gloves. Yes, even the gloves you wear to protect your hands from exposure to irritants can cause an allergic reaction!
You want to avoid becoming allergic to things you like to touch, which is why you want to take good care of your hand skin so that it can resist the penetration of allergens.