Keeping your hands moisturized during the cold, dry winter isn't always easy. Constant washing and hand sanitizing can strip your skin of essential oils, while constant exposure to water can result in painful cracks.

Luckily, there are many ways you can keep your hands moisturized this winter, even when outside elements make it difficult. Red and chapped hands are a common problem for those who live in colder areas. But with the right precautions, you can keep your hands soft and smooth all year.

1. Use A Humidifier

Humidifiers attach to your home's HVAC system to increase the moisture in your home's air. This added humidity helps your skin stay hydrated, preventing it from becoming dry and cracked.

If you don't have a humidifier in your home, you can also use a spritz of water or a moisturizing hand mist to hydrate your hands.

Some dermatologists even recommend that people with dry skin use a humidifier at night while they sleep. The extra humidity in the air can help keep your hands from drying out while you sleep. But be careful not to overdo it, as too much humidity can lead to other problems like bacterial or fungal growth.

2. Try A Hand Cream with Added Vitamins and Minerals

These special formulas lock in moisture and are great for those who work with their hands daily. If you have particularly dry hands, try adding a hand cream with a high glycerin content.

Glycerin is a humectant (meaning it naturally attracts water to your skin), so it'll help to prevent your hands from becoming overly dry. You may want to consider a hand cream with added vitamins and minerals if you have sensitive skin.

These special formulas are often fragrance-free and non-irritating, making them perfect for those with sensitive skin. Most hand creams that contain vitamins and minerals are often specially designed for people with sensitive skin.

3. Use A Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E

Hand sanitizers with vitamin E are extremely effective at keeping your hands moisturized. Vitamin E is a great moisturizer and is used by dermatologists to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.

When choosing a hand sanitizer, be sure to look for one that contains vitamin E. Hand sanitizers that contain vitamin E are usually fragrance-free and won't dry out your hands. Be sure to follow up with a moisturizer, though, as hand sanitizers are only meant to be used occasionally.

4. Exfoliate Regularly to Combat Dryness

Regularly exfoliating your hands can help remove dead skin cells, which can cause dryness. Dry hands can signify that you're not using exfoliation correctly.

Exfoliating regularly can also help minimize the appearance of dry patches and prevent them from becoming irritated.

You may consider purchasing a scrub with added oils if you have particularly dry hands. Oils extracted from plants, like coconut and almond, are natural humectants. They'll help to keep your hands hydrated while you scrub away dry patches.

5. Try A Hand Mask

If your hands are already dry and cracked, you can use a hand mask to help smooth and hydrate your skin. Mask for hands is a great option for an instant boost of hydration and can be used once or twice a week as needed.

If your hands are generally dry and you want a long-lasting effect, try a hand mask with a thicker formula. These masks often contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, and vitamin E. These can soften your hands and make them feel softer and smoother for several days following treatment.

6. Wear Gloves

wearing gloves can help you avoid getting dry, cracked hands. One great way to combat this is to wear gloves lined with fabric and anti-aging ingredients. Fabric gloves will help keep your hands warm and allow your skin to breathe, preventing it from getting dry.

For example, you can wear surgical or medical-grade gloves while gardening. They're extremely effective at keeping out dirt, germs and other contaminants. But most importantly, they're very hydrating, making them a great choice for those with especially dry hands.

Keeping your hands moisturized during the winter can be challenging. Dry hands can flake, peel and even crack, leading to infection. Keeping your hands moisturized can help prevent this and keep your hands looking their best.