How to Address Cracked Skin on Your Feet, Hands and Elbows
With fall here and winter on the horizon, you may begin to experience dry skin and in some cases, extremely dry and cracked skin as a result of the temperature drop. The skin on your feet, hands, and elbows are thicker than that of other areas, and can be more prone to dryness and cracking. If that’s what you are noticing to be true with your skin, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re sharing exactly how you can address dry, cracked skin on your feet, hands and elbows—plus, our favorite product picks—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—that can help restore necessary moisture.
What Causes Dry, Cracked Skin?
According to Mayo Clinic, dry, cracked skin is often temporary with an environmental cause. When the seasons change, your skin can undergo some changes as well and become drier than normal. Plummeting temperatures and humidity levels tend to be the cause since they can suck the moisture out of your skin. Skin tends to be driest in the winter thanks to whipping winds and subzero temps, as well as artificial heat like space heaters and other heating units used to warm up. But other factors can be at play as well. Here are a few common culprits—aside from the weather—that may be causing your skin to feel dry and look cracked.
Dry Skin Cause #1: Hot Baths and Showers
If you have a tendency to take long, hot baths and showers, you could be causing your skin to dry out. Where possible, keep your bathing routine on the shorter side and use lukewarm water only. Follow up with a heaping dose of moisturizer all of your skin once exiting the bath or shower while your skin is still slightly damp. This helps lock in even more moisture.
Dry Skin Cause #2: Frequent Swimming
Are you an avid swimmer? We hate to break it to you but frequent swimming, especially in heavily chlorinated pools, can cause your skin to become dry.
Dry Skin Cause #3: Harsh Soaps
Take a look at the products in your skin care routine, including your hand soap, shampoo, body cleansers and more. Are they formulated with harsh soaps or ingredients? If so, the formula may be causing your skin to dry out by stripping too much oil from your skin’s surface.
Dry Skin Cause #4: Pre-Existing Skin Conditions
Certain skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis, can make your skin more prone to dryness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
How to Address Dry, Cracked Skin on Your Feet, Hands, and Elbows
When it comes to taking care of cracked skin, there are some factors that you can control to help improve the look of your skin and keep dryness and cracking at bay.
Tip #1: Keep Your Showers Short
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that keeping showers and baths short, using a mild cleanser, and opting for a warm instead of hot water temperature can help prevent dry skin.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Skin Care Ingredients
The AAD stresses that those with dry, cracked skin should pay close attention to the ingredients in their skin care products. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can irritate dry, sensitive skin, as well as strip the skin’s moisture barrier.
Tip #3: Moisturize Your Skin Regularly
The quickest (and easiest) way to help improve the look of dry, cracked skin is to reintroduce moisture by way of a cream, lotion, emollient, or moisturizer. The AAD recommends applying hand cream after each time you wash your hands. When it comes to your feet and elbows, hydrate the areas as needed, especially after taking a bath or shower while your skin is still slightly damp. Don’t be afraid to apply a liberal amount. Need a moisturizer rec? Keep scrolling for a list of recommended moisturizers from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands!
If your dry, cracked skin needs more relief than what your cream or moisturizer is providing, consider switching to a thick emollient, such as a petroleum jelly. Apply a handful onto your dry skin before bed and allow it to absorb. If you’re worried about staining your sheets, you can wear cotton socks or gloves to bed to help reduce the risk of product transfer.
Tip #4: Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers can benefit your skin all year long, but are particularly helpful when your skin needs extra moisture in the fall and winter. The AAD suggests using a humidifier to add some much-needed moisture into the air to help relieve dry, cracked skin.
Tip #5: Bundle Up
As we mentioned, cold and dry weather is one of the leading causes of dry skin. Mayo Clinic recommends covering as much skin as possible in cold weather. Wearing gloves, warm socks, and plenty of layers is key.
5 Products for Cracked Skin on Your Feet, Hands, and Elbows
To truly help mend dry, cracked skin on your feet, hands, and elbows, you’ll need to invest in a quality skin hydrator. Here are a few of our favorites from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands.
#1. Kiehl’s Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer for Dry or Callused Areas
Meet: A thick emollient treatment for very dry or callused areas that require intensive moisturization. Enriched with avocado oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter, this special formulation helps to soften and soothe dry, cracked, or parched skin. To use, apply a small amount to dry areas and massage in gently, allowing excess cream to remain on skin as long as possible before blotting. If you have severely dry hands or feet, massage a liberal amount of cream into affected areas and cover with cotton gloves or socks to provide intense, overnight moisture.
#2: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
Formulated with shea butter and glyercin, this multi-purpose soothing balm for dry skin irritations has a rich, nourishing texture with a matte finish that’s non-oily and non-sticky. The moisturizer helps to nourish and soothe dry skin as well as visibly irritated areas, and is fragrance- and paraben-free, and suitable for sensitive skin.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, $14.99 MSRP
#3: Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body
This intense, restoring body butter for dry skin is formulated to melt effortlessly into your skin, nourishing it with moisture and leaving it feeling comfortable. The body butter nurtures skin with long-lasting moisture, cushioning and insulating it from the effects of climate and seasonal changes for a satiny-soft feel.
Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body, $45 MSRP
#4: Carol’s Daughter Body Jelly All Natural Multi-Tasker
This moisture-rich multi-tasker is formulated with sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and more, and can help hydrate, soothe, and nourish dry skin. The formula is free of silicones, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, and artificial colors. You can use it all-over, on your elbows, heels, lips, or even to remove face makeup. Your skin will be left with a healthy-looking glow.
#5: CeraVe Healing Ointment Jar
This ointment is suitable for an array of skin types, including cracked and chafed skin, dry skin, extremely dry skin, and itchy skin.
CeraVe Healing Ointment Jar, $21.99 MSRP
Does your skin still feel dry, even after moisturizing? Here are a few reasons why that may be!