How to Treat Chapped Hands


– Step 1: Identify chapped hands

– Step 2: Disinfect chapped hands

– Step 3: Take advantage of specific creams to heal chapped hands

– Step 4: Use a liquid bandage to treat chapped hands

– Step 5: Treat chapped hands with homemade preparations

Winter’s bitter cold dries out your skin. Detergents and contact with water damage the skin of your hands a little more, causing it to crack. The formation of chapped skin is painful and requires avoiding further aggression as soon as possible. Here are the tips to properly sanitize these minor wounds, prevent them from getting worse, and know how to treat chapped hands. Ready-to-use repairing balms and homemade preparations are on the agenda!

1. Identify chapped hands

If you think you have a chapped hand, it means that a crack is digging into the skin of your hand. This painful lesion can have a variable depth, bleed but also get infected. The development of an infection is the main complication of a chapped hand and can prevent healing.

Factors that contribute to chapped hands

The formation of chapped hands is favored by:

– cold ;

– Maceration (wearing rubber gloves, for example);

– frequent contact with water (washing up…);

– dry skin;

– contact with detergent products;

– dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis.

Tip: To help the chapped skin on your hands heal, avoid exposing them to cold, sweat, or water.

When should you see your doctor?

You can deal with most chapped hands on your own. However, an infection can set in. If a large amount of pus is secreted or a red spot extends a few centimeters around the lesions, you should see your doctor.

Some complicated cases of infection require antibiotics.

If you have severe eczema or psoriasis flare-ups, medical attention is needed.

2. Disinfect chapped hands

Always apply an antiseptic to the chapped areas of your hands. If the lesions are deep, it will be necessary to renew the application morning and evening until cure.

Forget alcohol, which is too aggressive for the wounds. Use an antiseptic based on chlorhexidine, benzalkonium, hexamidine, povidone-iodine, or chlorine.

Necessary: if you are allergic to iodine, be careful about the composition of the antiseptic used: povidone-iodine will not be suitable for you. Moreover, it is not recommended during pregnancy and for young children.

3. Take advantage of specific creams to treat chapped hands

For info: anti-crack creams are available in pharmacies.

The chapped area is not infected.

Repairing balms, very greasy, or gels that fill the crack are ideal on non-infected chapped hands. They are most often used with:

– allantoin, which stimulates the renewal of skin cells;

– glycerin or lanolin, which emollize and moisturize

– urea, which intensely hydrates the skin by retaining water;

– essential oils, extracts of plants or balsam of Peru with the antiseptic and healing virtues;

– Vitamin B5 or dexpanthenol which accelerates skin repair;

– copper and zinc, which are antiseptic minerals.

The application is to be renewed morning and evening until cure.

The chapped area is infected.

If the chapped area is infected, pus is visible in the reddened lesion.

Continue, in this case, to apply your antiseptic morning and evening after soaping and rinsing the injured skin.

Once dry, apply an antibacterial cream based on hydrogen peroxide. It will nourish your cracked skin while fighting against the infection.

When the infection is gone (usually within 5 days), apply an anti-crack cream for a non-infected lesion.

Important: if the infection does not get better, consult your doctor: antibiotic creams are only available on medical prescription.

4. Use a liquid bandage to treat cracks in the hands

There are liquid dressings available in pharmacies that form a translucent, waterproof film on the lesion to treat cracks on the hands. Apply these liquid dressings 2 to 3 times a day until the cracks heal. It takes several seconds for the product to dry on the skin. This second skin contains:

– an antiseptic;

– oily fatty substances to heal the wounds;

– cellulose and solvents to form the protective film.

Important: these liquid dressings are not suitable for infected cracks and should not be used on young children under 3.

5. Treat hand cracks with homemade preparations

You can make your preparations to heal your chapped hands. Get quality essential or vegetable oils and creams from a pharmacy.

The healing power of essential oils

With two major essential oils, aromatherapy puts the extraordinary power of plants within your reach. Antiseptic and healing, 1 drop of lavender essential oil (Lavandula officinalis) and 1 drop of cistus (Cistus ladaniferus) are to be diluted in 5 drops of vegetable oil, to be chosen among the following ones

– nourishing sweet almond oil;

– calendula oil for healing;

– macadamia oil softening;

– protective argan oil.

Mix carefully and apply your mixture morning and evening until healing.

Important: the essential oils of lavender and cistus are contraindicated for children under 7 years, in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding, and for people who have epilepsy or asthma.

In case of old cracks and difficult healing, prepare this mixture in a bottle of 20 ml:

– 8 drops of EO of Italian helichrysum ;

– 6 drops of spearmint EO (Mentha spicata (L.)/leaves) or cistus ladanifera EO;

– 6 drops of frankincense EO (Boswellia carterii/resin);

– 5 ml of borage oil;

– 5 ml of hemp oil;

– complete with argan or sesame oil.

Shake well the bottle and apply this mixture 2 to 3 times a day for approximately 6 weeks by making it penetrate well.

The clay bandage

White clay is ideal for dressing minor wounds such as cracks. It has absorbent, antiseptic, and healing powers. Mix carefully:

– 1 tablespoon of white clay powder;

– 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (sweet almond, calendula, macadamia, or argan).

For 30 to 40 minutes, morning and evening, let act this preparation directly on the crack by spreading it in a thick layer. To rinse, then carefully renew the application until cure.

The honey bandage

Saturated with sugars in such a concentration that it becomes harmful to bacteria, honey can be used as a dressing on shallow cracks. Preferably use thyme honey, which also has healing and antiseptic powers thanks to the thymol molecule it contains. Mix carefully:

– 1 tablespoon of thyme honey;

– 1 teaspoon of lemon juice;

– and possibly 1 drop of essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis).

Apply this mixture morning and evening for 30 to 40 minutes before rinsing thoroughly until healed.

Materials needed to treat cracks in the hands.


$4 approx.

White clay

$5 per kilo


$1,50 per kg

Hand Cream

Starting at $7

Vegetable oil

About $7 per 50 mL

Essential oils

Starting at $3 per 10 mL


From $5 to $25 per 300g, depending on the quality

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