When it comes to skin care, hands sometimes take a backseat to more visible areas. Even if your face is the first thing people notice, caring for your hands is essential. Cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing your hands helps with everything from preventing skin infections to helping you look your best.
Better Habits for Better Skin
With most of us washing our hands more often than usual, dry skin is becoming a bigger problem. Whether the skin on your hands is peeling, your knuckles are cracked and bleeding, or your hands are just incredibly dry, the right habits can help.
Most of us have heard often enough that we need to wash for 20 seconds to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria. But the way you wash, rinse and dry can make a big difference. You may be tempted to wash with hot water for extra sanitizing power, but doing so can dry out the skin on your hands. Bar soap is the best choice for hand-washing because it generally has fewer harsh ingredients and is more moisturizing.
How to Rinse Your Hands
Rinse with warm water, carefully removing all residue. Soap residue between the fingers or on the backs of your hands can cause dermatitis, a type of skin irritation.
Dry Hands Carefully
If possible, dry your hands with a soft towel. Paper towels can be a little rough, and air-drying allows a good deal of moisture to escape. Cracked, irritated skin is more vulnerable to rashes and infection. Damaged skin can even make you likelier to develop allergies. With your hands at risk for so many conditions, pat them dry instead of rubbing to avoid irritation.
Lotions are good for frequent moisturizing throughout the day. Although they're thinner and absorb more easily, non-greasy lotions can also penetrate below the surface for deep moisturizing. Try one with super-hydrating glycerin, or get the healing benefits of the anti-inflammatory herb calendula in a body butter for face, hands and body. Creams are better than lotions at retaining moisture, and ointments make an excellent topper for lotions and creams. Ointments don't actually deposit moisture in the skin but do enhance the hydrating power of your other hand moisturizers.
Make a 'Skin Burrito'
Dr. Dawn Davis of the Mayo Clinic coined this term to describe a wet dressing for the hands. Apply a skin burrito if the skin on your hands is very dry or damaged. Take these steps for deep moisturizing at bedtime:
- Soak two washcloths in a bowl of warm water and a teaspoon of vinegar.
- Wring excess liquid from washcloths.
- Apply a thick lotion or cream to freshly washed and dried hands.
- Wrap hands with the 'marinated' cloths and cover them with socks.
- Go to sleep and wake up with softer hands!
Other Tips to Prevent Dry Hands
Besides washing and moisturizing properly, these habits can help your hands look and feel better:
- Wear gloves in cold weather
- Moisturize every time you wash
- Use rubber gloves for household chores
From infections to skin peeling on the hands, excellent hand hygiene can keep a variety of skin conditions at bay. Find gentle cleansers and natural moisturizers at The Henna Guys. We have everything you need to win the war against dry skin and irritated hands.