When your hands are extremely dry, just moisturizing with your typical body or hand lotion may not do the trick. There are certain methods and products that you will want to keep in mind if you are particularly susceptible to dry skin.
First of all, you'll want to moisturize as often as possible, especially after bathing or washing your hands. After stepping out of the bath or shower, moisturize as soon as possible, since it will help seal in the essential moisture that your skin needs. After that, repeated application of moisturizer throughout the day will keep your skin soft and smooth [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
If you still find that your skin is too dry, it may be time to look at the type of product you are using. After bathing, you may try applying a product like baby oil to your hands and any other problem areas. Oil has a bit more staying power than the average moisturizer does, and it will prevent moisture from evaporating off of your skin [source: Mayo Clinic].
You also can select your moisturizer based on its ingredients to ensure that you have found a product that will help with severe dryness. Lotions with lactic acid or urea help to alleviate extremely dry skin. Products that contain hyaluronic acid, an acid that occurs naturally in the skin but diminishes as you age, will help the skin retain water; so will any products with lanolin, mineral oil or petrolatum [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Another thing to consider if you have dry skin is the type of soap you use. Some soaps can be too drying on skin -- you might want to switch to a milder soap with extra fats and oils, or you could use cleansing creams or lotions, instead.
Once your skin begins to recover, maintenance is very important. For tips on when and how to moisturize, see the next page.