Ask Ana – How Do I Stop Hard, Dry Skin On Hands?


How Do I Stop the Hard, Dry Skin On Hands Around My Nails?Ask Ana - How Do I Prevent Dry Skin On Hands Around My Nails


I have a question for you from a member of a polish discussion group I am in.

“I moisturize constantly, and the skin around the tops (as in closest to my knuckles) and sides show that, but no matter what I do, the skin directly to the sides at the TIPS of my fingers is rough. Usually looks fine unless it starts to peel, but it feels terrible when I touch it (doesn’t hurt, just feels wrong) and the OCD part of me wants to pick it away. I never noticed it before I started moisturizing. I assume it was unnoticeable because the entire area was dry. Does anyone else have rough skin around the tips of their nails despite moisturizing? Is there a solution? It’s a real bummer.”

What is the cause for this? This area will sometimes harden for me as well. With use of Simply Pure Nail Oil™ it is less often, but it does happen from time to time. ~Christian


Christian, thank you so much for asking this! Great question.

I actually had to sit and think about this one for a minute because no one has ever asked, and it’s not in Doug Schoon’s book, Nail Structure and Product Chemistry

I get this dry, hard skin on my hands as well. My guess is that anyone with nails longer than nubbins does too. There are two reasons.

It’s Friction Baby

1. They’re calluses.

Our skin has an amazing ability to protect itself in areas that experience a lot of friction, pressure or irritation.

EVERY time we put pressure on our fingertips, we press that skin into a mildly sharp edge of our fingernail.

Try it—put 2 fingers together and press. Watch what happens to your skin—it moves up and around the outside of the nail. This means that every time we touch something or pick something up, we are putting a “cutting” type of pressure on that skin.

Nanette Silverberg, MD, a dermatology professor at Columbia University, says, “Friction strips the skin’s moisture and enhances the dryness.” [source:]

The body’s response is to thicken the layers of skin in that vulnerable area. I noticed that the callusing is harder on my right hand fingers than my left. This makes total sense since I’m right handed.

So in a sense—these calluses are not wrong—they’re a very good thing. We just don’t like the way they feel.

It also explains why we don’t really feel pain when nipping that skin off. It’s just hardened layers of dead skin.

But what happens when you’ve nipped that skin away? It feels really tender until that skin thickens up again!

Hum, that makes me question….what are we doing to ourselves?

Will the Real Moisturizer Please Stand Up?

2. It’s darn hard to moisturize that area.

Our fingers have a lot of trouble really getting into those small areas around the nail to moisturize with lotion.

And in reality, lotion doesn’t “moisturize” anyway, no matter what they say on the bottle. It creates a barrier on your skin that is not absorbed.

In my 45 plus years, I’ve only found one thing to help that skin stay softer— Simply Pure™ hydrating oil.

Just like our nails, there are two things that keep our skin soft and flexible or “moisturized”—water and sebum (body oil).

Now, sebum really isn’t an “oil”—it’s a wax ester. Jojoba is a wax ester also.

It actually can be absorbed by the skin and nails. Simply Pure™ contains the highest percentage of jojoba on the market today.

Since Simply Pure™ has an “oil” consistency, it can seep down under the nail edge and soften those calluses, especially if you consistently apply the oil “under” your nail tips.

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