Because of factors such as cold weather or exposure to harsh cleansing ingredients, having dry hands from time to time is almost impossible to avoid. If it gets really bad, your skin could start cracking and your cuticles might dry out. This puts you at risk of developing a nasty infection. However, there are creams for both the hands and the cuticles that could prevent them from drying out in first place. And if it's already too late for that, these creams might help restore some moisture to your hands.
Although it may seem a little excessive, there are a couple of reasons why you might benefit from using separate creams for your hands and cuticles. We may not always recognize their importance, but cuticles are unique and serve a specific function: They help to protect and nourish our nails as they grow. When your cuticles dry out, they lose the natural fats that usually keep them soft. Your nail plate also becomes less flexible, and your nails can become more brittle and susceptible to damage [source: Gallant]. Cuticle creams keep that from happening by replacing the natural fats you lose with other fats and waxes such as lanolin, petroleum and beeswax [source: Milady]. Chances are your hand cream won't contain the same mix of ingredients or be quite as oily.
Cuticle creams can be used during manicures and at home. Applying a little every night before you sleep can go a long way toward keeping your cuticles healthy [source: Gallant]. As far as hand creams go, make sure you're using something water-based as opposed to alcohol-based to ensure you don't dry your skin out even more. Also, try to apply the cream while your hands are slightly damp -- that will help lock in the moisture [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
For more information on nail care, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dry Skin & Keratosis Pilaris." 2009 (Accessed 10/05/2009)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- Gallant, Ann, Kathy Gillot & Jackie Howard. "Principles and techniques for the beauty specialist." Google Books. 1993 (Accessed 10/19/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=UnzCkfbPXjAC&pg=RA1-PA226&dq=cuticle+cream&lr=&client=safari#v=onepage&q=cuticle%20cream&f=false
- Milady. "Milady's Standard Textbook of Professional Barber-Styling." Google Books. 1999 (Accessed 10/19/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=nZ0cTwgjMIgC&pg=PA499&dq=cuticle+cream&lr=&client=safari#v=onepage&q=cuticle%20cream&f=false