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Hands Up! 10 Tips To Brandish Winter Dryness On Hands and Nails

Hands holding flowersGive yourself a hand, point to a menu item, show off that new bauble on your ring finger, raise your hand, shake someone else's, clap at the show, shuffle the cards, and a thousand other ways we use our hands every day... It's an exhaustive list - and a blessed one - but the winter has a way of drying out our hands and nails to leave them less than attractive. These 10 tips will have you proud to put your hands up and hide them no more!

While we don't think about it, our hands are the one area of our body that we see all day long without the help of a mirror. It's true that the hands and neck show age faster than other parts of our body (this alone should be enough incentive to administer extra TLC).

It's also true that they demonstrate to us how well we take care of ourselves, just look down at your hands, what are they saying to you? People look at our hands, too. Think about when you noticed the librarian's hands with the uneven, split talons, or the store clerk sporting chipped black polish. Anyone can dress well or wear a fabulous watch, but if your hands are a mess, the effect is lost. 

This article isn't only about the cosmetic aspect, dry hands can lead to cracked skin, making us susceptible to picking up germs, and potential infection, etc. As a former hand model, I've learned a thing or two about taking care of these precious helpers, but this fall and winter seemed to be more of a struggle than previous years.

If your hands and nails are dryer than usual, I suggest starting the rejuvenation process by skipping manicures for a bit to give your hands and nails a rest from exposure to chemicals and random products. Remove all polish, shape and file your nails down, buff them, and let them go nude so they can breathe; if you hate this idea, then wear polish for special events only and increase their polish-free time whenever you can. Plus, a little naked time will save you time and money for a few months!

Please know that I use each of these tips, ideas, and hints. With all the hand-washing we do, I suspect other women are experiencing the same thing so I want to share this list with you because they are WORKING for me and can for you, too. For your convenience, I've listed Amazon ads for the products I use at the bottom of this article (click to read the Here We Are blog ethics).

  1. Get Thee To The Glove Department: NOW is the time to buy a few pairs of new gloves because they are at deep discount prices at most department stores. Think about sprucing up your winter coat with a bright, accent color instead of a regular pair of black leather gloves. Treat yourself to red (my favorite), or purple, perhaps try a pair with fringe or sparkly accents. The point is: If you like them, you'll remember to bring them with you AND wear them! 
  2. Don't DIY: There are some projects you are better off avoiding when your hands are very dry. Leave that knitting project for next winter and try a new craft. Once you've gotten your hands in shape, you can crochet some afghans or baby blankets to your heart's content. The point is: The constant manipulation of the wool won't give your skin the time it needs to heal. 
  3. Elbow Grease Required: Getting your hands back in shape takes time and attention because we are always using them. It's the one part of our body that come into contact with everything. Please read my earlier article Wave Goodbye To Dry Hands: Quick Tips To Soothe Your Skin This Winter. The point is: Don't just read it, but actually start using the recommendations, especially #5 of that article, "The Cream Machine." This is the easiest way to maintain moisture balance throughout the day.
  4. A Little Dab'll Do Ya: Beside the multitude of coconut oil uses, it is really helpful with dry hands and cuticles. As I wrote in Cuckoo for Coconut Oil: 10 Easy Beauty Uses For This Money Saving Must-Have Natural Product, a little goes a long way. The point is: For pennies on the dollar and noooooooooooo chemicals, a jar of organic coconut oil can be your new best friend. 
  5. Wax On, Wax Off: An at-home paraffin wax machine is a very handy gadget (and you all know how much I like gadgets! See ad below for similar ones to mine.) My sister-in-law, Lynn, gave me one years ago, and I still use it regularly. The point is: It's a fantastic spa-like treat, and the heat is very relaxing; totally worth ordering one to add to your beauty routine. Bonus: You can also dip your elbows in it and wrap them up with plastic wrap to help smooth them before the summer and short sleeves season. TIP: Apply coconut oil before you dip into the paraffin wax for extra deep moisture absorption.
  6. Inside Out: I am a vitamin enthusiast... Even with my usual daily intake, I saw unwanted changes in my hands and nails starting last autumn. I evaluated what I was taking and decided to introduce a Hair, Skin, and Nails multi-vitamin with Biotin. Since this is a sensitive, quasi-medical decision, I'll refrain from sharing this product BUT I will say that I think it is working. The point is: If you think it might help, talk to your doctor first, and then try it. 
  7. Scrub-A-Dub-Dub: Exfoliation is a key step to soothing and smoothing your hands. If your hands are extremely dry, this should only be done once a week on average. I highly recommend - and have even reviewed this product in the past - Sugared Butter Whip: This Hand and Body Polish Deserves A Big Round Of Applause. You can certainly make your own scrub, BUT you will be amazed at the results from this very effective, sweet product treat. I bought 5 of these scrubs from Parisian's Pure Indulgence to include in four Christmas gift goodie bags (The fifth one was for me!)... Each girl who got one has told me how much they like it. The point is: Trust me on this product, the owner, Kelli Parisian, is on to something big with her Sugared Butter Whip Hand & Body Polish formula... You will NOT be disappointed. [Remember, the Here We Are motto is "if I like it, I will tell you, if I don't, I will tell you!"] 
  8. Cover To Recover: Always wear plastic kitchen gloves for dishwashing and cleaning because cleansers and detergents wreak havoc on exposed skin. After you've tried the previous steps in this article, especially numbers 4, 5, and 7, be sure to pull on some white cotton gloves to further seal in moisturizer and aid in healing. You can do this anytime, but wearing them through the night will yield the best results. They are inexpensive but very effective for this process. The point is: A little time looking like a mime will make your exposed hands say "Look at me, look at me!" Gift TIP: In each holiday gift bag with the Sugared Butter Whip, I included a pair of the white, cotton gloves tied with a ribbon to a tube of hand cream. 
  9. Quell The Gel: I know that the alcohol based gels are handy, no pun intended, but they really are extremely drying. They also burn if you have cracked skin. Be sure to read the ingredients, many are almost 100% alcohol. I like EO Botanical Hand Sanitizer and use it in all forms, the wipes, the spray, and the gel (which contains 62% alcohol); and the lavender essential oil smells heavenly. The point is: It's important to check the ingredient list before you buy, and to be willing to experiment with an alternative product if you aren't getting the results from your usual ones. 
  10. Shun The Sun: If you aren't one to wear gloves outside in the winter, then get an emollient moisturizing sunscreen for the back of your hands. This is a must-do every day of the year. The sun will age you faster than anything else and there is no way to truly repair it's damage to skin. Plus, dry skin becomes exponentially dryer after sun exposure. I discovered the Caribbean Breeze sunscreen line last year in Florida. The lotion smells great, NO it's not chemical-free, BUT it is moisturizing with pomegranate and green tea extracts. The point is: Taking a couple of minutes to apply an SPF 15 (or higher) lotion or spray to the backs of your hands goes a long way to avoiding sun spots and pre-mature aging. TIP: Keep a small tube of sunscreen in your purse to reapply throughout the day.

If all 10 tips seem like a lot to do, then pick a few and get started today. A little attention can go a long way to getting your dry hands and nails in tip-top shape. Let me know how you keep your hands moisturized. We all like to try new beauty tips that work!  

 

[The claims made about specific products or procedures on or through this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The reviews and opinions provided on this show are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. Please consult with a health-care professional before taking or administering any new product or treatment to yourself or anyone else.]

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