Q: My hands are extremely dry and rough, especially during this time of year. What do you recommend to help keep them moisturized and feeling good?
Dr. Linda Miles, D.O.M., responds:
We know winter can be especially drying for our face and hair, but our hands may be the most used and exposed body parts. Also, as we age, the skin on the back of our hands tends to become thinner with very little fat underneath. All of these factors make our hands extremely vulnerable to everyday wear and tear, and aging. To help keep your hands hydrated, healthy and looking and feeling great, try these simple hand care tips:
1. Cleanse carefully. When washing your hands, avoid hot water and harsh soaps that aren’t meant for skin (for example, dish soap). They can strip skin of its natural moisture and protective oils. Use lukewarm water and gentle cleansers specifically formulated for skin. Especially in winter, look for soaps with hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cupuacu butter and jojoba oil.
2. Moisturize thoroughly. After washing your hands and after showering, apply a rich crème to hydrate and lock in moisture. derma e® Anti-Aging Hand Crème is especially formulated to thoroughly condition dry, chapped or weather-worn hands. Antioxidants such as olive, green tea and vitamin E are added to help protect and prevent the signs of aging, while aloe and MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) soothe and soften skin.
3. Stay protected. Always remember to wear gloves, whether you’re cleaning house or spending time outdoors. Many household cleansers contain bleach and other harsh skin irritants. Outdoors, your hands are subjected to sun, snow, wind, water and the list goes on (especially for those who garden). Wearing gloves is a simple way to keep them protected, and prevent future damage.
4. Pay attention. We should be just as attentive to what we put on our hands as we are to what we put on our face. For example, while hand sanitizers can be beneficial, they can also dry out skin. Applying hair care products can also take a toll on skin. When using or applying different products, understand the effects so you can take appropriate action to keep your hands safe and healthy.
5. Treat well. In the evening, apply a thin layer of Vitamin E Skin Oil 14,000 IU to your hands and cover with soft cotton gloves overnight. This fragrance-free, non-comedogenic vitamin E oil treatment not only hydrates skin, but it also deeply penetrates to help resolve rough, cracked, itchy, red skin. Turning on a humidifier at night is also an excellent way to treat your skin to a healthy blanket of hydration.
6. Healthfully nourish. We often forget to drink water in the winter, but this is very important for well-conditioned skin. Make sure you are drinking at least eight glasses a day, as well as consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables. Also, omega fatty acids that can be found in foods such as salmon and walnuts are also great to include in your diet as they are known for their healthy skin benefits.
7. Remember this. Skin is the largest organ of the body and needs to be treated as such. Taking care of it on the outside and inside is essential for optimal health.
Whether it’s winter, or any time of the year, these simple steps will help keep your hands moisturized, protected and prepared to conquer those everyday tasks.
Dr. Linda Miles L. Ac., D.O.M., is Vice President of derma e® Natural Bodycare. Read beauty q & a with derma e for great tips on natural beauty and skincare.