Looking After Your Hands

Our hands play an important role in our lives. We use them when expressing ourselves, to show our affection for the ones we love, and even put them through the stress and hard work of daily chores. Hands are a vital tool that we should definitely take better care of. Now, more than ever, our hands need both protection and pampering.

Every time you wash your hands, the skin is stripped of its natural oils. Excessive hand -washing can quickly leave you with very dry hands. So, the recent extra hand-washing has played havoc on our long-suffering hands. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a great deal of interest in how people might avoid getting infected. One of the methods public health officials strongly encourage is hand-washing. We are all very adept at washing our hands thoroughly. But this repeatedly cleaning with soap and water and then using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol to be effective) can lead to damaged skin and soreness. It’s also worth mentioning that wearing one-use gloves on a daily bases can cause problems, as latex gloves can result in allergic reactions and irritation. (I am writing an additional blog post about this as we speak)

Frequent hand-washing can lead to Irritant Contact Dermatitis. This presents as dry, sore, itchy or red skin on the hands. This isn’t an allergy, but an irritative effect of the soaps been used. Looking after your hands is important, to keep them healthy and free from infection. The most important step is applying a moisturiser (emollient) to the hands regularly. Ideally, every time you wash your hands, use a hand cream or lotion afterwards. Often people have a hand cream but simply do not use it frequently enough, to get its full benefits. Daily activities do dry out the skin on your hands so moisturising will give back much needed hydration.

Very dry hands that are rough and cracked need a lot more care and attention If you have severely dry hands this might also mean you’re dehydrated. Contact your doctor if your hands become infected. A great tip to get an overnight miracle hand treatment is to rub in a thick layer of hand lotion or cream and pull on a pair of light cotton gloves. Simply leave them on throughout the night and you will wake up with lovely, soft, moisturised hands. (It works for the feet too using socks of course!)

Here are a few easy tips in caring for your hands;

  • Avoid exposure to extremely hot water and use warm water to wash your hands.
  • Wear gloves for washing up and gardening, to help protect hands and nails from dehydration and damage.
  • Protect your hands when using chemicals such as cleaning products and wear rubber gloves.
  •  Apply the cream or lotion to the backs of the hands first and rub together before smoothing any excess onto the palms. The backs of your hands need more moisturisation.
  • Massage your hands, regularly, which is very stress-relieving and helps to release any pain in your hands. Good for arthritis sufferers.
  • Use mild and gentle soap when washing your hands and natural hand lotions and creams.
  • Wear sunscreen on your hands. This is easy to forget to do. Your hands show as much age damage as your face.

On a final note, often we don’t stop to consider the impact of cleaning products on our skin. These remove grime, limescale and dirt, but they also do the same to skin cells. The chemicals in toilet cleaners are some of the most abrasive. Chlorine combined with acid can form a toxic chlorine gas, which can cause severe burns on the skin. So, (as your grandmother swore by) always wear a pair of rubber gloves. Washing your dishes in piping hot water is essential to remove dirt and kill off lingering germs. However, this hot water is uncomfortable and bad for your skin.

The most well-known brand (launched in1950) and the best, I’ve tried is Marigold, good sturdy high-quality gloves that last for months, these are now latex- free and recyclable. (even the disposable glove range) They have teamed up with Teracycle®, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste. Which is one more reason to buy this product.

So, it’s not just a nice treat to buy a hand cream but as important as buying a product for your face. And your hands do deserve your gratitude for all they do for you!

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