Oily skin can be a problem anywhere -- even on your hands. While many people wrestle with overdry skin from too much washing and exposure to the elements, the opposite can be a problem, too. Oily hands can leave marks on paper and textiles, foul up frequently-used electronics and lead to a slippery grip. You probably won't be able to permanently cure your oily hands, but you can manage the condition.
The Cause of Oily Hands
Oily skin is caused by overproduction of sebum, which is the skin's natural oil. A balanced amount of sebum keeps your skin moisturized and supple, but too much makes it uncomfortably oily. Overactive sebum glands can be caused by anything from hormonal cycles to stress to a change in the weather to what you eat.
Wash, But Don't Overwash
Overwashing can exacerbate oily hands, as it encourages your skin to overproduce sebum to compensate for its loss. When washing your hands, avoid soaps with added moisturizer. Instead, try washing with dishwashing liquid, which is designed to cut through grease and oil. If that's too harsh, opt for an foaming cleanser designed for oily skin.
Powder Your Paws
Dusting your hands with fine powder, especially after a shower or bath or after washing your hands, can help absorb excess oil and keep your hands clean and dry. Use baby powder or unscented talcum powder for best results.
Witch Hazel and Vinegar
Astringents cut through oil and tighten up pores, drying their secretions; when used as a hand treatment, they effectively clear up oily skin. Both witch hazel and vinegar can be used in this way -- opt for apple-cider vinegar over white vinegar as it is less harsh to the skin. If straight vinegar is too strong, dilute it with water in a half-and-half ratio before using.
Hand Sanitizer and Other Tools
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers tend to dry out your skin -- in this case, that's a good thing. Use hand sanitizer throughout the day to cut through the natural oils your hands are producing and you'll get a disinfection bonus, too. You can also carry packaged hand wipes for touch-ups during the day.
Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, travel, and food and cooking. Her work has appeared in Curve Magazine, Girlfriends, Libido, The Children's Advocate, Decider.com, The SF Weekly, EthicalFoods.com and GoMag.com.