Hands are either cold/dry or warm/sweaty. How can I get dry/warm?
February 4, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Maybe its because I have poor circulation, maybe it's because of something else, but my hands are often cold to the touch. They're also often dry, or other times just very sweaty and moist (when warm). How can I find a happy medium where I can have dry yet warm hands? I'm not sure of the cause, but if it is poor circulation to my extremities, how can I improve this naturally?
posted by Vexir to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you spoken to your doctor about Reynaud's Phenomenon? I am not a doctor or nothin' but I had a girlfriend who had Reynaud's, and she had similar symptoms to what you're describing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:47 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I often get cold hands/feet when it's cold out. Mild exercise seems to cure it for me, I jog a bit or jump around when it's an issue for me.

An obvious thing to try would be to head down to your local pharmacy and get your blood pressure taken with one of those cuff machines. Use a handy chart like this one to see if it could be considered low. If so, that's a very likely cause.
posted by zug at 2:13 PM on February 4, 2011

I used to be cold to the touch all the time. Every time I got in the sack with a new boy it was one of the first things they commented on. Regular exercise has mostly fixed this for me. Take cayenne pepper supplements was useful, but I stopped using once exercise took care of the problem.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:56 PM on February 4, 2011

You might want to get your thyroid levels checked by a doctor. Hypothyroid has some of these symptoms.
posted by mermayd at 3:15 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

People always told me that my ice-cold hands were a sign of a thyroid problem, and yours may very well be, but my tests always come back normal and I'm otherwise healthy, so I've just resigned myself to living with it and developing ways to cope. Here are some things that help:

Keeping my hands moisturized and staying hydrated in general.

Wearing fingerless gloves when I'm just hanging around at home reading or watching TV or surfing online.

Keeping a warm-mist vaporizer running all day long to humidify the air (as an added bonus, you can run your hands over the steam when you walk by for a little burst of "ahhh warmth").

Cuddling with pets. Dogs don't mind if you're using their bellies to warm your hands. Cats are natually more suspicious of your ulterior motives, so proceed with caution.
posted by amyms at 5:51 PM on February 4, 2011

I have Reynaud's, and experience the same thing. (My hands are annoyingly damp as I type this.) But I don't know if that's necessarily what you're experiencing. I know I have it because not infrequently in the winter one or more of my fingers will just go dead and numb and white and VERY cold, because the blood has ceased to flow into that extremity. It's weird, but not more than an annoyance. I'm not sure it's related to the cold hands, though. I believe I have poor circulation as well, and I found out today that I have rather low blood pressure (diastolic is 58, and it surprises me that that's considered normal). My feet also get really cold in winter, but I don't get Reynaud's symptoms in my toes (thank heavens). I think it may be two different, though possibly related, phenomena.

I also have the joyous distinction of just kinda sweating a lot. I am lucky that I favour black shirts, is all I'm sayin'.

That said, I am very interested in further answers, because this is something I would love to change too. OP, are you male or female? I have known far more females with the Cold Hands Problem than males.
posted by Because at 5:56 PM on February 4, 2011

One of the principal causes of cold hands is simple muscle tension in your arms and shoulders. This is a very common problem for folks who spend a lot of time at the keyboard. It's not all that easy to fix because your body gets used to being tense and you don't even notice it.

I would recommend conscious relaxation exercises. Yoga helps. But even try standing with your arms at your side, allowing them to swing loosely. Relax your neck and shoulders. Then spend two or three minutes just imagining your arms as hanging loosely from your shoulders. Say "loose", "loose", "loose" to yourself. Do your hands get warmer? If so, then tension's the source of your problem.
posted by storybored at 7:05 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm hypothyroid and have freezing hands always (so another vote for considering a thyroid condition). Then (related to the thyroid condition) I started getting arthritis in the hands when it would be really cold out, and I have such dry skin in the winter that it cracks and bleeds. Now I have fingerless gloves that I NEVER take off. They keep my hands toasty, and they protect my sensitive skin so that it never ends up getting that bad. I don't know how I'd live without them!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:00 PM on February 4, 2011

I also have cold hands and feet, as well as low blood pressure and possible Reynaud's. Exercise has been the best way for me to regulate my temperature, especially yoga. Massage is also supposed to help improve circulation. Maybe a full body massage or even the massage that often accompanies a manicure could help?
posted by gumtree at 2:47 PM on February 5, 2011

Don't forget to moisturize if your hands are very dry. I sometimes linger in the hot shower or wash my hands under hot water as a way to warm up, but this can be really hard on your skin. I slather on CeraVe in the winter ($15 or so for a big tub). Lotion and creams can also be causing your sweaty hand problem, too.
posted by gumtree at 2:52 PM on February 5, 2011

Response by poster: I don't think it's Reynaud's, my hands aren't discolored in any way. It could be the fact that I have lower blood pressure than normal. It's true, I do spend a lot of time at the keyboard. I notice my hands get cold whenever I'm holding them up or doing something with them for a long period of time, i.e. driving.
posted by Vexir at 10:45 AM on February 8, 2011

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