Common causes of flaky hands include dryness, psoriasis, and allergies. Although flaky skin on the hands can be a nuisance, a number of very effective remedies can restore moisture and suppleness. When moisture is lost, the skin can peel, crack, and flake. Dry hands that are prone to peeling can be treated very effectively to reduce the incidence of flaky hands.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune medical condition that can cause dry, itchy plaques to form on various parts of the body. Symptoms of psoriasis can be mild or very severe, and psoriatic lesions on the hands can cause flaky hands as well as dry skin. Treatment for psoriasis can include anti-inflammatory oral medications, corticosteroids, and new medications referred to as biologics.
Generally, flaky hands respond well to methods of re-hydration. These methods include drinking plenty of water, limiting bath or shower time, avoiding the use of hot water, and limiting the use of harsh soaps. In addition, using moisturizers and bath oil can greatly improve the appearance of flaking hands and can even promote healing. Restoring moisture to dry air with a humidifier can also help replace moisture in the skin, including the hands.
To further reduce the appearance of flaky hands, they should never be rubbed dry. Gently patting the hands will lessen trauma to the hands and reduce skin flakiness. When using a moisturizing agent, the product should be applied while the skin is still moist. Doing this allows the product to be better absorbed into the skin and it also restores skin suppleness. For people who are sensitive to fragrances and additives, hypoallergenic products are available at most retail stores.
Sometimes, flaky skin on the hands can produce significant itching, further exacerbating the problem. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can help reduce itching of the hands, though one of the side effects of an antihistamine can be body-wide itching. Before considering an antihistamine to treat itchy hands, the patient should discuss the pros and cons with his physician. Antihistamines are especially effective when the itching and dry hands are allergy related.
Moisturizing the hands is one of the best interventions to combat flaky hands. Most drug stores offer effective moisturizers that can dramatically relieve symptoms and even prevent the condition from recurring. In severe cases, the physician may refer the patient with extremely dry, flaky skin to a dermatologist to rule out certain medical or skin conditions.