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How to Get Soft Hands

Cold temperatures and frequent use can have your soft skin looking like the Grand Canyon in the middle of winter -- though, your hands can get rough in any season. To get soft hands regardless of the time of year, you'll need to treat existing dryness with lotions, natural oils, sugar scrubs, protective coverings, and the occasional deep-conditioning salve. You should also prevent your newly softened hands from getting rough by switching to gentle hand soaps, avoiding hot water, staying hydrated, and wearing gloves to avoid exposure to drying elements. Soft hands look and feel fantastic, and are easy to get for nearly everyone willing to put in the effort.

Part One of Three:
Treating Dry Hands

  1. 1
    Moisturize your hands with lotion. Lotion is the easiest and most important way to keep your hands soft. At the store, lotion is available in dozens of scents and styles to meet your personal needs.
    • Moisturize your hands every time you wash time. Keep small bottles at regular places around the house, so you always have some on hand.
    • Look for lotions that contain shea butter, B vitamins, and retinol. These ingredients keep your skin soft long after you’ve applied the lotion.
    • Mineral oils and lanolin help to trap water in the skin. Lotions with lactic acid and urea have soothing qualities, as well. Glycerin and dimethicone help to moisturize, while hyaluronic acid can help retain that moisture.[1]
  2. 2
    Treat your hands with natural oils. If you don't want to buy lotion, you can also use natural oils to rub into your hands, just as you would regular lotion.[2] A very small amount goes a long way, as well, making this a cheap alternative. All of the following natural oils are used in cooking, but are nourishing and healthy for skin, nails, and hair when applied regularly:
    • Avocado
    • Almond
    • Aloe vera gels
    • Coconut
    • Cocoa butter
    • Sunflower
    • Olive
  3. 3
    Make your own sugar scrub. Exfoliant scrubs are usually just moisturizing lotion with some grit in it, included to help scrub off dead skin. These are available in most beauty supply and drugstores, but you can make your own for cheap at home:
    • Combine a few tablespoons of white sugar with olive oil or coconut oil to form a paste, and rub it into your hands for two minutes. Rinse with warm water, and you should be left with hands that are much softer than prior to your scrub.[3]
    • If you like, add a few drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil to add a nice smell to the lotion. If you don't want to use sugar, use grated beeswax or salt.
  4. 4
    Condition your hands every few weeks in winter. When the temperature drops, your skin suffers. If you live in a cold area, use a deep-conditioning treatment with an old pair of socks to keep your hands soft. It's simple and effective:
    • Heat of a pair of clean socks in the microwave for 15 seconds. Put a generous amount of your favorite lotion on your skin, but don't rub it in.
    • Put the socks on your hands, and let your hands soak it all in for 10-20 minutes. Remove the socks and continue rubbing in the remaining lotion.[4]
    • You can do this and leave the socks on overnight to help with extra dry skin. While it might seem weird, socks are usually better and easier to clean than gloves.
  5. 5
    Use deep-conditioning salve when necessary. If your hands are peeled and cracking, bring out the big guns. Use a conditioning hand salve, like Bag Balm, or a similar product. These are gel-like creams used for healing deeply dry skin. Rub it into your knuckles, palms, and other problem spots for several days until your skin has softened.
  6. 6
    Take a moisturizing supplement. A recent study revealed that flax and borage supplements helped increase moisture and decrease roughness in skin. These fatty acids are found in most well-balanced diets, but if you're struggling with extremely dry skin, a supplement of flaxseed, borage oil, or evening-primrose might be effective in helping to control it.[5]
  7. 7
    Avoid petroleum jelly and lemon juice. It's a common home remedy to use Vaseline or lemon juice on to dry skin to soften it up, but both of these should generally be avoided when you're treating dry skin, in favor of other more nourishing remedies. Neither is recommended by the medical community.[6]
    • Vaseline actually acts as a moisture-barrier, not a moisturizer. While it is effective in preventing chaffing and "locking moisture in," it's not a moisturizer, and won't treat dry hands alone.
    • There's some controversy about whether or not lemon juice can be used to exfoliate skin and soften it, or whether or not the citric acid in the lemon juice acts more as an irritant.[7] Never apply lemon juice if you're going to be exposed to the sun, because it makes your skin prone to burning.

Part Two of Three:
Preventing Dry Hands

  1. 1
    Use gentle, natural hand soaps. Washing your hands regularly is beneficial for good hygiene, but it can also seriously dry your skin out. Find soaps that are skin-sensitive and contain moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba or olive oil, which nourish and heal dry hands.
    • Avoid alcohol and glycerine-based hand sanitizers, which dry out the skin on your hands.
    • Sub out regular body wash or soap for something with moisturizing ingredients as well, so that you aren’t damaging your hands in your regular showers.
  2. 2
    Avoid extremely hot water. Very hot water can actually burn your skin and dry out your hands. It might not be recognizable as a "burn," but if your skin turns slightly red in the sink or bath, the water is too hot.[8]
  3. 3
    Use dish gloves when you wash dishes. Dish soap is one of the most aggressive and irritating forms of soap for your hands. When you wash dishes, especially in the wintertime, it's a good idea to use a pair of yellow dish gloves to keep your hands dry. This is very true if you're submerging your hands in the water.
  4. 4
    Wear gloves outside. If you’re outside a lot, do what you can to keep your skin soft even when facing nasty weather. In the fall and winter months, wear gloves to protect your hands from the wind.
  5. 5
    Wear sunscreen. Your hands are just as susceptible to the damages of the sun as the other parts of your body that are exposed. While most people don't want to wear gloves in the summer time, go for sunscreen instead.[9]
    • Go for as high an SPF rating as you can get. If you're out in the sun, there's little point in wasting time with anything rated less than 20.
  6. 6
    Stay well hydrated. If you're not getting enough water, your skin will dry out. Diet plays a big role in your skin health, making it important that you get at least 8 glasses, or around two liters of water each day.[10]
    • Alcohol can dehydrate you, which can in turn result in dryer skin. If you struggle with dry skin, avoid the overconsumption of alcohol.

Part Three of Three:
A Quick Potion

  1. 1
    Mix together a bit of hair shampoo, conditioner and lotion in a bowl or in your hand.
  2. 2
    Add in a bit of handwash or liquid soap and stir using your finger or a spoon.
  3. 3
    Put the mixture into your hands and rub until it is evenly distributed.
  4. 4
    Using a towel, get as much as you can off of your hands. Remember to wash the towel once you're done.
  5. 5
    Leave your hands like that for half an hour.
  6. 6
    After the time has passed, you hands should feel weird and a bit sticky. Go to the sink.
  7. 7
    Put some lotion and hand-wash in your hands and rub.
  8. 8
    Wash your hands and then pat them down with a towel.
  9. 9

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Which cream should I use to make my hands softer?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You could try common moisturizers, like Gold Bond. However, coconut oil and olive oil work very well too. They're also good for your nails.
    Thanks! 33 4
  • How to get smooth hands? Should I remove their hair?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Removing hair is purely up to you. If the hair bothers you, go for it, but the hair on hands is usually barely noticeable and few people remove it. If you want smooth hands, just follow the instructions in the article.
    Thanks! 16 1
  • Why can't I use lemon juice?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Because lemon removes the moisture content of your hands and makes them dry and hard.
    Thanks! 39 9
  • If I keep using lotion on my hands, will the stay soft when I am older?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Moisturizing does help the skin age well and minimizes lines and wrinkles. It helps soften the hands no matter what age you are. But you have to keep doing it - you can't just do it when you're young and then stop and expect the effects to last.
    Thanks! 22 5
  • Is brown sugar fine?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Brown sugar is okay, but it's usually softer than white sugar, which makes it a little less effective as a scrub.
    Thanks! 21 7
  • Does using honey and sugar mixed together soften hands?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, honey and sugar mixed together creates an exfoliator, which can help smoothen and soften hands.
    Thanks! 9 2
  • How long does it take for hands to soften using lotion?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • That varies, depending on your skin type and the kind of lotion you're using. Applying a thick, moisturizing body butter multiple times a day while hasten the softening process.
    Thanks! 13 4
  • Are essential oils good for dry hands?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It depends on the oil. Sandalwood, olive, and coconut all work great on dry hands.
    Thanks! 5 1
  • Will softening my hands make them less prone to wrinkled skin?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, as dry hands tend to show wrinkles more. Keep in mind that aging is also a natural process, and cannot be stopped.
    Thanks! 17 10
  • Can I use egg yolk to get soft hands?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Egg yolk can be used for a shinier, glossier finish when washing one's hair, however it will not necessarily soften your hands at all.
    Thanks! 2 0
Show more answers
  • Can Vaseline heal wrinkled hands?
  • How can I remove body odor and get an extremely light smooth skin without any side effects?
  • Can I use baby oil to get my hands soft?
  • What is the consistency of the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion mix supposed to be?
  • Is it ok if I only use shampoo, conditioner, and lotion?
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  • Be sure to continue these skin-softening steps on a regular basis, or else your hands will continue to dry out.
    100 Helpful?  31
  • Applying castor oil allows your hands to become soft and smooth.
    79 Helpful?  24
  • Don't wash your hands with hot water.
    58 Helpful?  24
  • Rub your hands with the inside of an avocado to moisturize and soften them.
    62 Helpful?  44


  • Keep in mind any skin allergies or conditions (such as sensitive skin) and test out lotion on a patch of skin before you apply to your entire hand. Discontinue use of any product(s) if it irritates you.
    52 Helpful?  14

Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Moisturizing/Hydrating soap
  • Warm water
  • Lotion
  • Sugar and olive oil or commercial exfoliant
  • Deep conditioning salve (optional)
  • Deep conditioning treatment
  • Pair of socks
  • Gloves
  • Sunscreen

About This Article

128 votes - 82%
Co-authors: 89
Views: 1,046,595
Categories: Hand and Foot Care

Reader Success Stories

  • DR

    Donna Roberts

    Dec 10, 2017

    "Great hints! Very good article employing lots of simple home remedies. Will be trying some of these today."
  • JA

    Jaire Ascencio

    Jul 15, 2016

    "This article has helped me in so many ways, because I did truly not know that I had to drink two liters or 8 glasses of water. This is very resourceful, and I've learned vigorously a lot about a myriad of essential ways to help. I very much enjoy to read articles from your page. Thank you very much!"..." more
  • A


    May 31, 2017

    "My mom is always complaining about how dry my hands are. The sugar and olive oil seems to already be working, as well as the 'Quick Potion,' which I have on my hands currently. Thanks."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • SM

    Sadie Menzines

    Dec 13, 2016

    "Oh my gosh! This helped so much, thanks! It worked really well, and my hands feel moist already. "
  • MJ

    Michelle Jacobs

    Dec 13, 2016

    "Good. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow, because I have really dry skin."
  • NA

    Noor Abeeha

    May 27, 2016

    "I want to make my hands clean, white, and beautiful. Thank you!"
  • AR

    Anna Rip

    Jul 26, 2016

    "The scrub mentioned here worked well for me!"
  • SU

    Sarah Urena

    Apr 25, 2017

    "It helped me get my arms soft too!"
    Rated this article:
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