Are you wringing your hands because they are dry from hand washing this winter? Have you looked down and said to yourself, "Whose hands are these?" Surprised by the cracked cuticles and shriveled skin you see?
Hand to hand combat occurs when we repeatedly wash our hands in an effort to stay healthy because the resulting dry skin can make us vulnerable. Our skin's natural protective moisture barrier goes down the drain with the germs we wash away. That moisture is important because extremely dry, cracked skin allows an easy avenue for cold and flu germs to enter our bodies.
While hot water, soap, and alcohol based gel sanitizers are a helpful part of staying healthy throughout the winter season, they can be harsh on the skin. It's time to knuckle down with these beauty tips to restore dry hands to the smooth and supple beauties they deserve to be.
It may take a few weeks to see a difference, so start today and wave goodbye to dry hands and also check out my other article on this topic, Hands Up! 10 Tips To Brandish Winter Dryness On Hands and Nails:
1. Dry hands = Dry nails & cuticles: Remove nail polish since it draws attention to hands. Buff and shape your nails to a clean finish. Taking a break from polish means a break from chemical removers; even the non-acetone removers are tough on nails. They may look naked, but nails need time to breathe to be healthy and strong. You will see much better results when you get your next manicure if your nails and cuticles are no longer dried and cracked.
2. Exfoliate the sweet, inexpensive way: In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp. of olive oil with 2 Tbsp. of sugar into a paste. (I use Carapelli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this beauty recipe.) Over the sink -- Gently scrub your hands for about a minute with the paste (no water). Then rinse in warm water and continue scrubbing until all the sugar has dissolved. The oil will bead up. Use a paper towel to blot your hands, leaving a light layer of the oil -- no worries, in a few minutes the oil will be gone. You will feel an immediate improvement in the texture of your skin. Try this once a week to keep dry, flaky skin away. NOTE: Do not use salt.
3. Lip Smacking Good Cuticle Care: Hand cream and butters are helpful, but dry cuticles need extra help. I've seen the best results from Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment for Lips. A little goes a long way to healing dry cuticles. Plus, you save money by buying a product that does double duty.
4. Give the slip to bar soaps laden with chemicals: Avoid antibacterial soaps -- there is much concern over the harmful effects of triclosan. Try to select soaps that are made with quality base oils and essential oils. This type of soap, either in liquid or bar form, will reduce the dryness factor from repeated hand-washing.
5. The Cream Machine: Pick one you like, but check the ingredient list before you buy. Try to select creams that are made from natural ingredients without perfumes. Most company's, especially ones that pride themselves on producing natural sourced ingredients, have ingredient declarations for each product. Check these out before you buy so you know what you are getting before you open your wallet!
The TRICK to moisturized hands is to keep a bottle / jar / tube of cream at EVERY SINK in the house. Think about how many times you have washed your hands, dried them, only to discover hand cream wasn't handy. This is a missed opportunity to prevent dry skin. Use a 1-2-3 step process, wash - damp dry - moisturize. This works to build up moisture for your next washing. It seems simple and repetitive but your hands will thank you so apply, apply, apply!
6. Keep 'em covered indoors and out: Use plastic gloves when you clean or do dishes. Wear white cotton gloves at night after applying hand cream and cuticle care product to help seal in the product (if you don't have cotton gloves, use a pair of old white cotton socks). It looks kooky, but it works to speed up the healing process of dry skin. When outdoors, gloves or mittens are essential in protecting your skin from the elements.
The more steps you take to lessen the drying process, the better your results. Think about all your hands do for you each day; they deserve some extra care. Incorporate these quick tips into your routine to help soothe your skin this winter so they are ready for spring!