What Makes Hot Hands Hot: Decoding the Heat

In our daily activities, we seldom think about the heat of our hands, how does it happen or what factors contribute to the heat phenomenon. We normally attribute warmth to body temperature, but have you ever wondered what actually makes hot hands hot? Sit back and take a closer look at this phenomenon.

Hot hands, warm hearts; this is the common phrase when it comes to warmth in the human body. But what really makes hot hands hot? Is it due to the body’s temperature? Is it due to environmental factors? Well, in this article, we will decode the heat and find out what really causes hot hands. Let’s dive in.

Fundamentals of Body Heat

The amount of heat that the skin produces is a factor of the blood flow through the skin vessels, the thermal conductivity of the skin and the body’s metabolic rate. The thermoregulation system of the human body helps maintain a normal body temperature. Considering that the normal human skin temperature ranges from 30°C to 35°C, any temperature above the basic temperature is referred to as warm. Consequently, this gives an explanation for hot hands, which are warmer than the basic skin temperature.

The Physiology behind Hot Hands

Within the human body, the cardiovascular system is responsible for the heat flow, which involves the pumping of blood into the arteries by the heart. Senses in the body, known as thermoreceptors, are responsible for the monitoring of the body’s temperature. On realizing the body’s temperature is below the optimal level, the brain sends a signal to the cardiovascular system, directing it to produce more heat.

The cardiovascular system’s response is to increase the blood flow, which is directed to the cold areas of the body, particularly the hands and feet. The hands and feet are the primary areas of the body with high arterial blood flow in the skin, thus acting as the heat exchangers that regulate the body’s temperature. This leads to the warming up of the extremities, primarily the hands, hence the term hot hands.

What Causes Hot Hands?

So, what causes hot hands? Hot hands result from various factors, ranging from amino acid metabolism, to hormonal fluctuation, as well as environmental factors. Hot hands may occur as a by-product of psychological or physiological processes. It may also result from underlying medical conditions or external factors such as sun exposure or simply an increase in temperature.

High blood pressure, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune conditions are among the medical conditions that may lead to hot hands. These medical conditions may lead to imbalances in the body’s metabolic rate, leading to fluctuations in the temperature of the hands.

On the other hand, hot hands may also occur due to psychological factors such as stress, anxiety or excitement. Psychological factors can cause the body’s cortisol hormone levels to rise which in turn raises the body’s metabolic rate, thus creating warmth in the extremities such as the hands.

Finally, environmental factors such as sun exposure, increased temperature or physical exertion can cause the body to sweat, increasing the metabolic rate and creating warmth or increasing body temperature.

How to Regulate Hot Hands

Hot hands may be quite uncomfortable, but there are ways to regulate them. These methods can be alleviated both internally and externally.

Internal Factors

Internal factors that influence the regulation of hot hands include managing stress and anxiety. Stressful situations, anxiety or excitement can make the hands warmer than usual, which can then cause discomfort. Learning how to manage stress and anxiety can relieve the warm sensation, reducing the body’s metabolic rate hence preventing the creation of heat in the extremities.

Ingesting hot beverages can also cause hot hands, but the ingestion of cold beverages can help alleviate the symptoms. Drinking cold water or placing a cold towel around the neck can help cool off the body’s metabolic rate, thus providing relief from the heat.

External Factors

External factors that can influence the regulation of hot hands include regulating the external temperature. Using air conditioning, a fan or seeking a cooler environment can help alleviate hot hands. Additionally, wearing clothes that can easily dissipate heat can also help regulate body temperature, such as loose-fitting clothes, breathable material or wearing fewer layers.

Finally, applying cold compresses to the affected areas may help relieve warmth in the extremities, thereby reducing the body’s metabolic rate.


In conclusion, hot hands are usually due to a combination of factors, ranging from environmental conditions, psychological and physiological factors. Hot hands can cause discomfort but can be managed using various internal and external methods. Understanding what causes hot hands and managing the symptoms can help alleviate the discomfort.

Most Common Questions on What Causes Hot Hands?

  • What factors cause hot hands?
  • There are several factors that cause hot hands, including temperature changes, medical conditions, hormones and some psychological triggers.

  • What are the medical conditions that cause hot hands?
  • Medical conditions that can cause hot hands include thyroid disorders, autoimmune conditions, high blood pressure and other underlying medical conditions.

  • How are hot hands relieved?
  • Hot hands can be relieved by managing stress and anxiety, staying hydrated, seeking cooler environments and using cold compresses to affected areas.

  • What is the physiology behind hot hands?
  • Hot hands are a result of the cardiovascular system’s response to producing more heat by increasing blood flow to cold areas of the body, particularly the hands and feet, hence regulating the body’s temperature through heat exchange.


  • Kumar, A., & Sinha, A. (2014). Regulation of human body temperature: what doctors should know. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 8(2), CC01.
  • Stryjek, R., & Corchado, J. M. (2014, September). Characterizing the Evolution of Body Temperature as a Useful Indicator of Health. In International Joint Conference SOCO’14-CISIS’14-ICEUTE’14 (pp. 395-404). Springer, Cham.
  • Burkitt Wright, E. M., Spencer, C. H., & Thomas, N. J. (2017). Hot stuff: Thermoregulation in the pediatric population. Pediatric Rheumatology, 15(1), 70.

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