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 doesn't work, try creams or ointments)
Avoid putting your hands in water unless necessary
If your hands don't 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: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 3.
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. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.