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  • Dry and Sensitive Hands - 6 Remedies for Itchy & Sensitive Skin

    November 09, 2023 8 min read


    Table of Contents

    As autumn approaches with its crisp air and dry weather, many individuals who diligently wash their hands—think homemakers, hair stylists, healthcare workers, and those in the F&B industry—may find their hands chapped and sensitive. But is the need for frequent handwashing equivalent to the discomfort of dry and itchy hands? Now, before winter comes, let's explore various symptoms of sensitive skin and get some useful tips that help to fight dryness and sensitivity!

    The Culprits Unveiled: Why does frequent handwashing lead to dry and sensitive hands?

    There are 3 main culprits that dry out your hands after handwashing, which could ultimately lead to wounds and sensitive symptoms. The good news is, dryness and sensitivity could be greatly relieved simply by avoiding these following culprits:

    Natural Air Drying

    If we simply let our hands air dry after washing, not only does the air flow remove the water droplets on our hands, it will also strip away the moisture from our skin. without gently patting them dry. If you have dry skin, a simple act will help a lot in the coming dry season: softly pat your hands dry with a towel or tissue paper after washing. Also, do avoid using hand dryers. The dry, warm air from these devices can further contribute to dryness.

    Hot Water for Handwashing

    When you do the dishes, you must have noticed that hot water is super effective in oil removal. But do note that hot water not only does that to the dishes, but to our skin as well. Our skin is protected by a layer of natural oil, and washing your hands with hot water would strip away this natural oil and moisture from our skin. Losing this protective layer makes our hands more susceptible to dryness and may even lead to initial symptoms of sensitivity, including redness and itchiness. If you have sensitive skin, it's especially important to avoid using hot water for handwashing. Whenever possible, even in cold weather, try to clean your hands with lukewarm water to protect them.

    Alkaline Cleaners

    The natural pH value of our skin ranges from 4.7 to 5.75, making it mildly acidic. But there are so many chemical substances that we encounter on a daily basis that can easily disrupt the pH balance. A lot of cleaners that we use everyday contain alkaline ingredients, including soap, for their strong degreasing and cleaning properties.

    Acid mantle helps to prevent sensitivity caused by external irritants
    Acid mantle helps to prevent sensitivity caused by external irritants

    These alkaline cleaners can disrupt the harmonious pH balance of our epidermis, weaken the skin's natural barrier, and make it more vulnerable to external irritants. In many cases, symptoms of sensitive skin arise from an imbalance in pH levels. If you have sensitive skin, it's important to be mindful and try to avoid using products that contain soap-based ingredients.

    I Have Sensitive Hands - Is it Eczema or Contact Dermatitis?

    These 2 very common types of skin conditions are indeed quite similar in terms of symptoms - both resulting in itchiness, redness, scaly patches and more. Although there could be similarity in their causes as well, it is important for you to understand which condition you are experiencing, in order to avoid the respective allergens.

    Eczema VS Contact Dermatitis


    Contact Dermatitis


    Chronic skin condition

    Inflammation of the skin


    Long-term and recurring

    Could be acute or chronic


    • Genetic

    • Environmental

    • Weather change

    • Exposure to irritants or allergens

    • Stress

    • Seasonal

    • Exposure to irritants or allergens

    Possible allergens

    • Dust mite

    • Pollen

    • Pet danders

    • Soap

    • Detergents

    • Certain types of fabrics

    • Chemicals and more

    • Fragrances

    • Preservatives

    • Latex

    • Detergents

    • Solvents and more


    • Conduct allergen tests and avoid the allergens

    • Take prescription drugs

    • Use prescription ointment

    • Chinese medicine, ointment or acupuncture

    • Hard to cure

    • Avoid known allergens could help a lot

    • Use prescription ointment if symptoms worsen

    • Chinese medicine, ointment or acupuncture

    From the above chart, we learn that there are more causes to eczema than to contact dermatitis. So do keep in mind that frequent hand washing may not be the root cause to your eczema, but it could definitely worsen it. It could sound troubling, but fear not, because we are now introducing 6 helpful ways for you to avoid or relieve your sensitive symptoms!

    6 Remedies for Itchy & Sensitive Skin

    Let’s discover the keys to relieving your skin conditions, be it contact dermatitis or eczema, or even if you're just seeking preventive measures for dry and sensitive hands. These methods cater to all! While these remedies may help you with milder symptoms, it's crucial for those who have more serious conditions to seek the guidance of a medical professional.

    Yes, we know you’ve probably heard this as a remedy for almost all health conditions, but it’s true that you have to quench the thirst of your parched skin as much as your own thirst! Often, we mistakenly focus solely on external solutions such as moisturisers, neglecting the vital role that internal hydration plays. Our bodies, composed predominantly of water, distribute hydration to major organs before reaching the skin. Thus, inadequate water intake can leave our skin dry.

    However, let us be clear that relying solely on water intake has its limitations in skin hydration. To truly combat dryness and sensitivity, you’ll have to hydrate from both in and out. But if you find yourself trying all kinds of external hydrating solutions and all have limited results, it may be a sign that your body yearns for a more generous dose of water.

    Shield your hands from the relentless assault of cleaning chores with the trustable rubber gloves. Never underestimate the magnitude of daily cleaning tasks - from handwashing to dish scrubbing, laundering wiping clothes to wiping surfaces, the list seems endless. And for those toiling in the F&B, hairdressing, or medical industries, the frequency of such tasks only multiplies. If reducing the frequency of cleaning is not an option, the ultimate defense lies in rubber gloves to minimize direct contact between your skin and the potent agents at play.

    Whether it’s eczema or the battle scars of diligent homemaking, hand sensitivity is inseparable from allergens. The culprits that trigger our woes range from dishwashing liquid and floor cleaners to laundry products and the disinfectants hidden within cleaning sprays. Using rubber gloves may temporarily compromise the agility of your working hands, but as time passes, you will be able to conquer your daily cleaning tasks with efficiency while safeguarding your skin.

    Spot On Featured Product: Marigold Futura Gloves Medium

    In addition to the many allergens in cleaning agents, another common allergen is latex, which is found in many rubber gloves. Marigold Futura Gloves are latex-free and are designed with a dry and comfortable cotton lining, making them perfect for homemakers and F&B workers with sensitive hands!

    Marigold Futura Gloves
    Marigold Futura Gloves

    These gloves have also passed EN374 and EN388 tests, effectively protecting your hands from household chemicals and reducing the risk of cuts and punctures. Whether you're busy with work or household chores, these gloves provide ample protection!

    While alcohol-based cleansers offer convenience and disinfection, their impact on our skin can be far from beneficial—much like the effects of consuming alcohol on our bodies.

    To begin, let us acknowledge that alcohol is a potent irritant. Moreover, alcohol's swift evaporation slyly robs the skin of its moisture, which can intensify dryness and irritation. Those with thinner skin or weakened protective barriers should avoid regular exposure to alcohol-based products.

    Spot On Featured Product: The Pink Stuff Miracle Multi-Purpose Cleaner 750ml

    The Pink Stuff, a renowned household cleaning brand in the UK that specialises on vegan and plant-based cleaning solutions. This Miracle Multi-Purpose Cleaner is free from alcohol, bleach and other harsh chemicals, making it easy for you to clean various hard surfaces in your home without harming your hands or emitting pungent smells.

    The Pink Stuff The Miracle Multi-Purpose Cleaner
    The Pink Stuff The Miracle Multi-Purpose Cleaner

    Despite its gentle ingredients, The Pink Stuff's cleaning power remains strong. This affordable and versatile cleaner is tough grease and dirt, leaving surfaces shiny and streak-free! If you are a fan of skin- and environmentally-friendly products, you should definitely give it a try!

    As previously highlighted, our skin boasts a mildly acidic pH that serves as a guardian of its natural barrier. To shield against dryness and sensitivity, it becomes paramount to select hand soaps, detergents, and other everyday cleansers that are pH-balanced.

    Spot On Featured Product: Carex Derma Care Antibacterial Sensitive Hand Wash 500ml

    Carex Derma Care Antibacterial Sensitive Hand Wash
    Carex Derma Care Antibacterial Sensitive Hand Wash

    Carex Derma Care Antibacterial Sensitive Hand Wash is specifically designed for sensitive skin! Containing light moisturising ingredients and a gentle cleanser, it effectively kills 99.9% of bacteria. It also helps protect the skin's natural pH value for up to 2 hours, providing a dual effect of cleansing and protection in one bottle!

    Spot On Featured Product: Ecostore Extra Gentle Dish Liquid, Jasmine & Harakeke 1L

    Ecostore Extra Gentle Dish Liquid, Jasmine & Harakeke 1L
    Ecostore Extra Gentle Dish Liquid, Jasmine & Harakeke 1L

    We can hardly avoid washing the dishes in daily life, and unfortunately, many dishwashing detergents on the market contain soap ingredients to enhance their grease-cutting abilities, while compromising users’ skin conditions. Ecostore Extra Gentle Dish Liquid is formulated with a soap-free, non-irritating vegan formula that has been dermatologically tested to be gentle on hands. It also includes harakeke extract, which enhances the moisturizing power of the dishwashing liquid, leaving your skin feeling hydrated without any tightness after perfectly cleaning up the dishes!

    Moisturization is a vital ritual following household chores or activities that require repeated handwashing. This simple act replenishes the moisture that evades your hands and crafts a protective shield, preventing further loss of moisture.

    We understand that this practice could be quite challenging for those who must clean their hands very often due to occupational demands. However, we strongly advise individuals suffering from excessively dry or even cracked skin to prioritise the regular use of hand cream. The optimal practice is to apply hand cream to your hands after each and every handwashing. By embracing this practice, your hands will become more supple and resilient.

    Spot On Featured Product: Vaseline Intensive Care Fragrance Free Hand Cream 75ml

    Vaseline Intensive Care Fragrance Free Hand Cream has been dermatologically proven suitable for sensitive skin. It effectively repairs dry and rough hands in just 5 days and provides relief for cracked and dry skin conditions including eczema!

    Vaseline Intensive Care Fragrance Free Hand Cream
    Vaseline Intensive Care Fragrance Free Hand Cream

    Additionally, this hand cream is crafted to be lightweight and non-greasy for quick absorption and rapid moisturisation to the skin. Even when you put on rubber gloves and continue with work after application, your hands won’t feel slippery! It is particularly suitable for individuals whose hands are frequently exposed to water due to occupational needs.

    Often, while we are soundly asleep, our subconscious selves would repeatedly scratch the red and itchy patches on our hands, inadvertently leading to more wounds. To thwart this nocturnal behaviour, try wearing lightweight cotton gloves before going to bed. This could shield your hands from the unconscious scratching.

    Furthermore, try putting on cotton gloves after applying a rich hand cream and before you go to bed. By doing so, you not only safeguard your sheets and pillowcases from cream residue, but also extend the moisturising effect of the cream, leaving your hands luxuriously smooth. Take these easy steps for a homemade night-long hand mask treatment!

    The tips mentioned above can greatly alleviate dryness and early signs of sensitivity. If you find any moisturising cream or gentle cleaning products from us that you love, feel free to leave a comment and share with us! However, if your sensitivity symptoms are severe or worsening, do consult a doctor and use prescription ointments as recommended.

    As the weather is getting drier in winter, do spare some more time to moisturise not just your hands, but your whole body as well! Want to read more tips about moisturisation? Here is the full article: Winter Skincare | Dryness Prevention for Sensitive and Itchy Skin

    Disclaimer: The information provided in the article should not be regarded as a substitute for professional/medical advice. Please seek medical help if your symptoms worsen.

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