8 Reasons for Skin Irritation on Hands

Written by andy
Wondering why you’re prone to skin irritation on hands and other body parts? Here are some clues.

No other body parts come in contact with as many things as your hands. Your hands open doors, pick up objects, shake someone else’s hands, and touch dirty things like toilet handles, phones, and garbage cans on a daily basis. This means your hands are exposed to A LOT of things that could cause irritation or rashes. Here are a few of the more common reasons for skin irritation on hands:

  • Contact dermatitis – Among all the reasons for skin irritation on hands, this is probably the most common. Contact dermatitis is basically your skin reaction to a powerful irritant like a chemical or acid. These irritants damage your skin, and the rash develops as a result. Contact dermatitis can be caused by a wide range of things, hence it being a fairly common cause of skin irritation.
  • Dry skin – When your skin is dry, it tends to be itchy. Skin dryness can be caused by environmental factors (like a dry climate), but it can also be more common with age. As you get older, your body has a hard time producing the proteins that prevent skin dryness. If you notice a lot of dry skin on your hands, it’s a good idea to use moisturizing lotion to keep them hydrated. Regular moisturizing can seriously reduce itchiness.
  • Allergic reactions – If you use a moisturizing lotion that contains ingredients you are allergic to, there is a risk of a rash or skin irritation. Even the most random things can cause irritation: mangoes, strawberries, pineapples, or certain types of oils. These natural ingredients may cause the itchiness of your hands, as well as a rash or skin irritation on hands.
  • Antibacterial soap – Antibacterial soap is an excellent option for those who want to eliminate the majority of germs from their hands. However, many antibacterial soaps contain an ingredient called triclosan, which can be irritating for those with sensitive skin. If you notice skin irritation on your hands after washing them with antibacterial soap, it’s time to change the soap!

READ MORE: 6 Benefits of Amino Acids for Skin, Hair, and Health

  • Contact with poison – Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are three of the plants that are most likely to cause skin irritation. If you notice irritation on your hands after a walk through a forest, it may be the result of contact with these poisonous things.
  • Sunscreen – Your sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from the UV radiation, but some types of sunscreen can cause irritation, especially among those with sensitive skin. Sunscreens that contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) are more likely to cause skin irritation, so look for a sunscreen that uses zinc oxide instead.
  • Laundry detergent – It may sound odd, but it’s 100% true! The detergent that is cleaning your clothes may cause irritation on your skin. For those who wash a lot of their clothes by hand, it’s common to suffer from skin irritation on their hands as a result of the potent chemicals used in the detergent. The perfumes and dyes can also cause skin irritation. Those with sensitive skin should look for more organic, chemical-free laundry detergents to avoid irritation.
  • Dish soap – Dish soap can cause skin irritation, which can be made far worse by the fact that washing dishes tends to dry out your skin. The combination of skin dryness and irritation can seriously increase the risk of irritated skin on your hands. That’s why it’s recommended you use gloves to wash dishes. A good pair of gloves can protect your sensitive skin from irritation and reduce the risk of rashes.

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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