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Dry hands prone to eczema: What helps?

Dry hands prone to eczema: What helps?

Why is it so important to care for dry, eczema prone hands?

Our hands are the multi-functional tools of our body – we hardly use any other part of the body. However, the skin on our hands is normally uncovered and therefore directly exposed to external, sometimes harmful influences such as cold, heat, water, air or dirt. This weakens the natural skin barrier, can dry out the hands and in worse cases can lead to hand eczema.

Dry skin on the hands usually shows up first on the knuckles.

Added to this is our natural anatomy: The skin on the hands

  • is very thin and comparatively sensitive in most places,
  • has only a few sebaceous glands (and these are located on the back of the hands), which means that the skin produces correspondingly less fat,
  • and has very little fatty tissue.

How do dry hands show?

Typically, dry and chapped hands feel a little like paper or parchment. In addition, the skin is riddled with fine cracks. Skin areas are often reddened, scaly or very tight and cause itching or burning. If the course is severe, abrasions and even inflammation may occur. The symptoms often worsen in winter and after bathing or showering. In extreme cases eczema can occur.

There are several factors that can cause hand eczema – one of which is dry skin. Dry skin on the hands usually shows first on the knuckles of the hands.

Hand eczema is a chronic, non-infectious inflammation of the skin on the hands. Approximately 10% of the population is affected, with an upward trend. 1 Especially people who strain their skin at work or by frequent hand washing suffer from it. Frequent contact with harmful substances, a contact allergy or atopic eczema (neurodermatitis) can also lead to dry, itchy hands. Appearances and characteristics can be quite different. Thus, one person mainly suffers from itchy blisters, the other struggles with dry and cracked hands, inflamed fingers, palms or burst fingertips. And in addition, many of those affected suffer not only from purely functional limitations, but also from the loss of simply beautiful hands.

Trigger for irritated, dry hands

In addition to the anatomical causes already described, a distinction is made between external and internal triggers. In addition, dry hands can also indicate various diseases.

The following external influences can cause or promote dry skin on the hands and even hand eczema:

  • Environmental influences, unfavourable weather conditions and temperature fluctuations.
  • Dry air (caused by heating and air conditioning systems).
  • Wash your hands too often and too hot.
  • UV light (intensifies skin aging and dries out the skin).
  • Unsuitable skin care (not pH skin neutral) with damage to the skin barrier.
  • Mechanical irritation, i.e. abrasion of the outermost layer of skin, e.g. in manual trades. (52% of hand eczema was classified as occupational. This concerns all external influences, e.g. also frequent hand washing in the care sector)
  • Chemical substances, such as those found in cleaning agents and detergents.
If the heating air is dry in winter, hands should be applied more frequently.


Washing your hands too often with hot water can also dry out your hands.


Stress and exertion often show up on the skin.


As a side effect, some medications can dry out the skin.

Among the internal triggers are

  • Wrong nutrition – characterized by a lack of fluid intake as well as alcohol and nicotine consumption.
  • Stress and other mental strain.
  • Various drugs can also cause or promote dry skin (e.g. beta-blockers, lipid reducers, chemotherapeutic agents).
  • Atopics (i.e. people who suffer from neurodermatitis) have a higher risk of developing hand eczema due to their skin barrier defect. A consistent basic care to strengthen the skin barrier is therefore very important.
  • With increasing age, our skin tends to dryness in general.

Finally, dry and cracked hands or hand eczema can also occur as a concomitant or consequence of diseases, including

    • Neurodermatitis
    • Diabetes
    • Psoriasis
    • Ichthyosis
    • Allergies or a
    • Hypothyroidism


If the heating air is dry in winter, the hands should be creamed more often.
Washing your hands too frequently with hot water can also dry them out.

How to care for your dry, damaged hands properly

Trockene Hände am besten mit lauwarmem Wasser waschen

Washing hands

If possible, wash your hands only with lukewarm water and use a mild, pH skin neutral soap. Eucerin pH5 Skin Protection Hand Wash Oil is particularly suitable for this purpose, as it is highly effective in protecting the skin from drying out, even if hands are washed frequently.

Hand baths in vegetable care oils make the hands beautiful and smooth.


Dry your hands carefully after washing and do not forget the spaces between your fingers. Drying is better than rubbing.

Our tip: place your hand cream right next to the sink at home and at work – so you don’t forget to apply it. And cream your hands immediately after washing them – moist skin absorbs the active ingredients particularly well.

If you have areas on your hand that are extremely dry, rough, flaky or even thickened, Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS 30% Urea Cream helps – simply apply once or twice a day to the affected skin areas.

What helps against chapped and cracked hands?

  • Place your hands in an oil bath (e.g. with coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil) for a few minutes.
  • Eucerin AtopiControl SHOWER AND BATH OIL regenerates the natural skin barrier and protects the skin from drying out.
  • Cream your hands before going to bed and put on fine cotton gloves. In this way the cream is completely absorbed.
  • Always wear gloves when working in cold temperatures and during activities that are stressful to the skin to protect the hands from drying out.
  • Take in sufficient liquid. You’d be better off without soft drinks. Water, spritzers or unsweetened tea are more suitable.
  • Hand baths in vegetable care oils make the hands beautiful and smooth.
  • Drinking a lot helps to supply the body with moisture from within.

What specifically helps with eczema on the hand?

According to studies made by Eucerin, an efficacy and tolerability study has shown With regular use of Eucerin AtopiControl Hand Intensive Cream the skin on the hands becomes more resistant and its condition improves permanently.

Drinking a lot helps to moisturize the body from the inside.
  • Already after a one-week application the skin moisture of the affected areas was improved by 50%, after four weeks by 95%.
  • Skin redness was significantly reduced and itching also decreased in 90% of the study participants after four weeks of use. 
  • In addition, the AtopiControl Hand Intensive Cream achieved exceptionally good results among consumers. According to this, 94% of the test persons would buy the product with a high probability or even definitely and were convinced of the application result. 

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