Your hands need care just like the rest of your skin, but we often neglect them. Your hands show some of the first signs of aging on your body because the skin there is very delicate (as delicate as the skin around your eyes!) and is constantly exposed to the elements and the stress that comes with lots of use. Thus, they can quickly show evidence of a lack of care. Now, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, we are asked to wash our hands more frequently than ever and to use hand sanitizer with high alcohol content (and alcohol is so harsh and drying). Our poor hands, especially those of essential workers, can easily get cracked, dry, rough, irritated, and they can even bleed. So how can you combat this and care for your hands on a more regular basis, especially during the pandemic?
7 Tips for Caring for Your Hands:
1. Make a DIY hand soak for dry hands.
You can easily make a soothing hand soak at home, and you only need a few ingredients: warm water (enough to fill a small bowl that you can soak your hands in), one cup of apple cider vinegar, and three tablespoons of an oil, such as olive oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil. The apple cider vinegar will exfoliate and soften your skin, while the oil will moisturize and soothe. Soak your hands in this mixture for 10 minutes, then pat them dry, and moisturize using a cream.
2. Invest in a hand cream with very moisturizing ingredients.
During fall and winter—and particularly during this time of the excessive hand washing and sanitizing necessitated by coronavirus—anyone can benefit from a thick hand cream, like our Intense Hand Repair Cream with Muru Muru Butter. Hand creams with superior butters and oils like this do not just moisturize your hands—they also repair them by healing the skin’s barrier.
Your hand cream should have rich ingredients like Muru muru butter, cocoa butter, and shea butter. Muru muru butter is incredibly softening and nourishing emollient with major benefits for skin. Other moisturizing ingredients that are good to look for in hand creams and soaps are olive oil and aloe vera, and heavier oils, like avocado, sunflower, or macadamia. If your hands are drier, go for an oil-based cream rather than a water-based one.
If the skin on your hands is cracked, you might want to go the extra step of finding a cream with a more ointment-like, balmy texture until your skin heals and you can use something a bit more lightweight.
3. DIY an overnight hand mask.
Why not be extra with your hand care right now? Your hands will thank you. There are some inexpensive, readymade hand masks you can buy, but doing this at home, DIY style, is also super easy. All you need to do is put a generous amount of lotion on your hands and then put on gloves that you can wear overnight, or at least for a few hours.
Cotton gloves work, as will other types of plastic gloves (you can get these at any drugstore). If the gloves are larger than your hands or the fit is loose, all you need to do is secure them to your wrists in some way so that nothing leaks out.
4. Use cuticle oils or creams instead of cutting your cuticles.
This tip doesn’t have to do with moisturizing per se, but it’s an important tip from the hand models of the world: use cuticle oils or creams instead of cutting your cuticles, which most people do (I’m guilty too). Basically, this is better for your hands because cutting your cuticles on your own results in making them grow tougher and more irregularly. If you use a cuticle oil or cream instead, and just push your cuticles back every once in awhile, your nails will start growing longer and looking healthier.
5. Do a paraffin wax treatment.
Okay, so I had never heard of paraffin wax treatments before looking into hand care. They sound like a really old school beauty treatment, like cold cream and hair rollers, from the days of cutesy vanity tables. Apparently they are pretty easy to accomplish, though, and can seriously help moisturize your hands (or your feet). All that’s involved is dipping your hands a few times in warm, melted paraffin wax, allow the wax to harden, put on some gloves, and wait ten to fifteen minutes. By then, the wax will have hardened and you can just crack it off to reveal extremely soft skin.
6. Exfoliate your hands.
Just like facial exfoliation, exfoliating your hands will help brighten your skin, even its tone, and keep them looking young. You can choose a hand cream that includes retinoids, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid), or fruit enzymes for this purpose, and apply it at night. You could also rub a bit of a facial cream or serum that has these ingredients on your hands at night, which is a great way to use some of the leftover product that’s already on your hands from applying product to your face. You could even use a body scrub on your hands, or DIY a hand scrub with sugar and olive oil!
7. Protect your hands during the day with SPF.
Also just as in the best advice given for caring for the skin on your face, sunscreen is the most important product you can use to keep your hands looking young. You could pick up a daytime hand moisturizer that has SPF, or you could even apply a few drops of your facial SPF to your hands before you head out for the day.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Apply hand cream regularly, several times a day, after washing your hands. Always apply moisturizer, especially during the pandemic!