Your hands are two of your body's most important assets. They work hard for us everyday, but how often do we return the favor? It's all too easy to take our hands for granted - subjecting them to everyday abuse without taking the time to keep them looking and feeling their best. These six simple tips can help keep your hands healthy, happy, and ready to tackle whatever comes their way.
Cleanse With Care
While washing your hands regularly is an important habit to form for good health, it can be harsh on your skin. For routine hand washing, try to avoid extremely hot water and overly strong cleansers. Warm water and gentle soaps (handmade bars are ideal) will do just fine for most hand washing needs. Of course, you may need to turn up the heat once in a while - maybe after a particularly grimy kitchen or household project, but try not to make scalding your hands a habit.
Smooth & Polish
Every once in a while it helps to give your paws a good old fasioned scrub. Salt and sugar scrubs are great for exfoliating rough skin that can build up on busy hands. Try using a salt or sugars scrub on your hands once a week to keep them smooth and happy.
Protect Your Paws
Gloves were invented for a reason, so use them! Whenever you are handling anything caustic, toxic, or extremely hot or cold, it's important to protect your hands as much as possible. Everyday things, like household cleaners, hot peppers, or sinks full of dish water can do a number on your skin. It's worth investing in sturdy, comfortable, re-usable work gloves for the kitchen, garden, and workshop.
Our hands do enough work for us without having to take the place of Swiss army knives. Without thinking, we abuse our hands instead of picking up something as simple as a shovel or an oven mitt. Though it might be tempting to pry that beer open with your bare hands, try using a bottle opener instead. Instead of reaching into that hot pan, try using a pair of tongs. Think twice before tackling tasks without help, and your hands will thank you!
Dehydration can result in dry, wrinkled looking hands. By drinking plenty of water, your hands (and the rest of your body) will stay in much better shape. If you have a hard time keeping up with drinking the recommended amount of water everyday, consider using an app. Apps like Waterlogged and Daily Water can help you track how many glasses you've consumed and set you up with daily reminders to drink more.
Like the rest of your body, your hands are often a reflection of nutrition. A healthy diet can help keep your hands looking great, especially one filled with collagen boosting foods like spinach, berries, and carrots.
Even if you do everything possible to pamper your hands, chances are that you'll need an extra boost to keep them well moisturized. Light lotions and hand creams are perfect for use throughout the day. You can even try using a lotion after every hand wash. At night, treat your hands to a balm or salve for more intense conditioning. A water-free recipe is ideal for soothing dry skin and healing damage from the daily grind.
Don't Forget Your Cuticles
Cuticles often need a little bit of extra love to stay healthy. To keep them in shape, try applying a blend of Castor Oil and Olive Oil. Rub a drop of the mixture onto each cuticle before bed. Regular manicures can also help keep your cuticles under control. Whatever you do, don't nibble the poor things. Cuticles are easily damaged, and that damage can lead to redness, discomfort, and even infection.
Make Time for (Healthy) Manicures
Keeping your fingernails neat, trimmed, and filed does more than keep them pretty. This kind of regular maintanence can also keep them healthy. It's important to keep up with nail care, but try to avoid treatments and products that include toxic chemicals like acetone. Embellishing your natural nails with tips, gel coatings, and shellac can also do serious damage to the nail and nail bed (not to mention exposing you to some pretty scary chemicals). If you prefer keeping your nails long and colored, consider switching to a natural DIY nail routine or finding a salon that specializes in natural nails.
There is nothing quite like a good hand massage. You may not realize how hard the muscles in your hands work everyday. By loosening the often overworked muscles and joints in your hands you can keep them spry and comfortable. While you can certainly spring for a professional hand massage, there are also plenty of simple self-massage techniques that you can use on a daily basis.