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Chapped hands

To prevent chapped hands:

  • 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 moisturizing lotion frequently (if this does not work, try creams or ointments).
  • Avoid putting your hands in water unless necessary.
  • If your hands do not 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).

Alternative Names

Hands - chapped and dry


Dinulos JGH. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 3.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Eczema, atopic dermatitis, and noninfectious immunodeficiency disorders. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach, MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 5.

Review Date 10/20/2022

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.