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

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 at

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! Hummmm….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 years, I’ve only found one thing to help that skin stay softer—™. 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. 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. ~Ana

What Do You Think?

Did this article change your thoughts in any way? Please comment below….

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

  1. Linda December 3, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    A doctor once told me it was from a B vitamin deficiency, but I have to believe it’s more of a callousing response since my right hand us more affected and I’m right handed. To care for it I file the skin with a metal Emery board.(so I can wash it cuz it loads up fast with dead skin). I am going to try the Pure Nail Oil.

    • Ana March 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      Linda, thank you so much for your comment. If you’re using Pure Nail Oil™, you shouldn’t need to file that callus. It will keep the skin soft so it doesn’t bother you so much. Filing the skin will only cause the body to build up more skin making the callus thicker. ~Ana

  2. JenB December 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    I appreciate this post, my cuticles are constantly hard and peeling. That’s why I googled it and I am here. But it’s impossible to read your blog with your copyright message popping up every 30 seconds.

    It’s actually a clever idea, people are plagiarized constantly on the net, especially small blogs. But once is enough. I don’t know what you’re using as a js trigger, but you may want to consider something that isn’t set off more than once per page view.

    • Ana December 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by Jen and reading.

      I’m not sure what is happening for you. The plug-in we use only pops up that message if anyone is trying to right-click on the article. It still allows you to left-click on links. It shouldn’t be popping up every 30 seconds, unless someone is consistently trying to right-click on or highlight the content.

      I just went and tested this feature, to re-verify that it’s working correctly. It only pops up when there is a right-click. I timed it for two minutes and there was no additional pop-up….until I right-clicked again.

      I’ve had my articles stolen and my advice twisted when posted on other sites. I spend hours writing each article. This is the only way I can protect my work. ~Ana

      • Jennifer July 22, 2014 at 11:11 am #

        This same thing happens to me. I right click on links listed on the current page I am on, because I prefer to open new tabs rather than have the link open in the same window. If I read an article and follow a link, then read another article, and so on-I prefer to have 8 tabs open than have to continue to hit the back button to try to remember where I was before. However, I get the messages a lot here when I right click a link out of habit.
        Maybe that is what OP is referring to?

        • Ana July 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

          Jennifer, you are correct. Left clicking is required to click on the links. Right clicking won’t work. I’ve written too much content that can be stolen to put in ebooks on Kindle. I’ve set up the live links so they open in a new tab. Hope that helps. ~Ana

  3. Elle December 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I received my sample of Head Over Heels Body Fluff and immediately used it up on my winter dry I had to order a whole jar…or two. Immediately!! I won’t be without this product again, and I won’t waste money on useless chemical concoctions from the grocery store or expensive name brand ones from Nordstroms that don’t do nearly the great job that body fluff does.

    Ana, I don’t know how you do it, but your products seem so simple yet work so well,without the chemical garbage so often found in other lotions. Thank you thank you and thank you again.

    Body Fluff has done so much for my dry arms and legs the last few days. Ana, you know how our NorthWest winter weather can dry the skin so much. Your lotion seems to soak right in my flaky wrinkled skin that I suffer with, as a 70 year old. I look and feel like I’ve luxuriated in a pure nail oil bath instead of simply using a fingernail sized bit of Head over Heels, gently rubbed in. It goes so far.

    I’m going on vacation, on a cruise, in a couple of weeks and have been working hard to look and feel as good as I can, from fingernails & toenails to skin. I’ve gotten so much from Bliss Kiss products. I have very fair skin and burn easily, so I’ve been tan bed has really dried my skin out. I now use Body Fluff along with the Tanning Extender the salon sold me. I really feel like it’s doing less damage to my skin now.

    Thank you very much for the quality and honesty in your products and on your blog.

    BestWishes for a great holiday!
    Elle (aka Plantcrone)

  4. desikittwh April 28, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    thank you! had this problem on and off, it drives me to distraction.

  5. Glacia July 3, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    This was very helpful to me .I used different kinds of moisturisers with no effect then I started cutting then with nail cliper and they come back again more harder and cracking .I’mean going to buy pure nail oil which stores sell it.

    • Adrienne October 5, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      Hello!! You can purchase Simply Pure™ from our website:

      Thank you!
      Assistant to Ana