Wintertime’s cold, dry winds have a habit of rapping your knuckles until they’re cracking and dry. You put your hands through a lot, and you expect the world of them. Your hands tell a story about you: your maturity, your grace, your fight with the copier machine paper jam this morning. Here are 9 tips to help keep your hands in excellent shape this winter and beyond:
- Since you need to wash your hands to avoid germs, be sure the hand soap you use is gentle and moisturizing (all soaps kill germs, they don’t have to contain harsh antibacterial additives to do the job). We like Dr Bronner’s Shikakai Soap and Kiss My Face Moisture Soap.
- About 30 minutes before showering or bathing, apply a generous amount of lotion to your hands and allow to soak in. This will help reduce additional moisture loss in the shower.
- Use a first aid gel when you have a hangnail or cut on your hand. This helps heal cuts and reduce further damage when your hands are hard at work (minor hand abrasions often become reinjured several times before getting to heal, so help ’em out). We like Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel and Eras Wound Honey (made with Manuka honey) for speedy clear healing.
- Its a good idea to have a hand sanitizer with you during the winter when you are more likely to run into people with runny noses, but you can opt for gentle versions like Cleanwell Orange Vanilla Hand Sanitizer Spray or Original Foam which do not contain harsh drying agents, yet are naturally effective against germs. Also safe for kids.
- Don’t use lotions and creams that contain petroleum-derived ingredients which temporarily soothe, but eventually rob the skin of its protectant oils. Look for lotions that contain nutritional oils like flax oil, borage oil, or sunflower oil for extra healing benefit. We like Shikai Dry Skin Lotion, or Griffin Remedy Omega-3 Lotion.
- Don’t forget to exfoliate – gently. A weekly session with a natural scrub will do wonders to help new skin cells, and shake off dead skin flakes. Be sure to take it easy: gentle massaging is better than rough scrubbing which can age skin prematurely. Try Biggs and Featherbelle Fresh Mint & Sugar Scrub or Adzuki Bean & Sea Salt Scrub (the salt ones will sting a bit if you have abrasions on your skin) for brand new, baby soft hands in about 3 minutes. Rest, then moisturize…
- Do a deep moisture treatment weekly by generously massaging Alaffia fairtrade Shea Butter or Weleda Skin Food into the hands for a few minutes and covering with cloth gloves or socks for one hour or more. This can be a great overnight treatment for severe cases.
- Use sunscreen regularly on the backs of your hands and wrists to protect against noticeable aging and wrinkles. Chemical-free sunscreens like ones by Goddess Garden, Mychelle, or Badger are the safest and most effective options available. Natural sunscreens like the 3 above contain protective nutrients and they also protect against windburn and weather-related damage. Chemical sunscreens don’t have that additional benefit. *Diaper cream containing zinc oxide offers similar benefits in a pinch.
- To help heal damage and improve the look of your hands, use an antioxidant-rich facial repair treatment cream or serum daily for 3 months or more, just before bed. Excellent options: Andalou Naturals Omega Glow Facial Concentrate, Mychelle Deep Repair Cream, or Blissoma Lift Intelligent Energy Creme.
Bonus tip: consider taking a photo of your hands with a loved one’s hands. One day you’ll look back and be able to appreciate them in a new way.
Alyssa works in multiple MOM’s locations.