Chapped hands

Alternative names
Hands - chapped and dry

To prevent chapped hands:

  • Limit excessive hand washing as much as possible (while remaining sanitary).  
  • Avoid hot water.  
  • Try to keep the air in your home humid.  
  • Use moisturizing lotions on your hand regularly - especially if you live in a dry climate.  
  • Use mild soaps - preferably soap that contains some cream.  
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure or exposure to extreme cold or wind.

To soothe chapped and sore hands:

  • Avoid putting your hands in water unless necessary.  
  • Apply skin lotion frequently (if this doesn’t work, try creams or even ointments).  
  • Wear gloves for doing everyday chores (cotton is best).  
  • Hydrocortisone creams (available over the counter) are recommended for badly chapped hands.  
  • If your hands don’t improve, contact a dermatologist. For related information also see eczema and contact dermatitis.


Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Mamikon Bozoyan, M.D.

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