The combination of wintry temperatures, frequent hand washing and constant sanitising can be hell on the skin on your hands. And never before has hand cleansing been so important.
But unfortunately, relentless washing, sanitising and the winter coldness can bring a whole host of skin complaints along for the ride. Feel like you’re in a constant losing battle with chapped hands? Then here are our top five simple tips for dealing with dry hands while continuing to practice good hand hygiene …
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1. Cleanse With Care
Soap can be very drying on your skin, but it’s not advisable to swap it out for a soap-free hand wash right now. Because… well, you know why. So, continue to wash your hands with your regular liquid or bar soap for 20 seconds, making sure you thoroughly cleanse between your fingers and around your nails.
What you can do to reduce dryness is to stick with lukewarm rather than crazy-hot water. Scorching temperatures strip your skin of natural oils and increase water loss which can cause dry, cracked skin lightning fast.
2. Choose Non-Drying Hand Sanitisers
Let’s get one thing clear, alcohol and your skin are not the ideal couple. However, hand sanitiser is a handbag essential, so there’s simply no getting away from dousing your skin with alcohol – which, btw, needs to be in a concentration of at least 60 percent to effectively combat germs.
The good news is there are many sanitiser brands that come packed with skin-loving ingredients to help combat the drying effects of such a high concentration of alcohol. Look for things like aloe vera, essential oils, glycerin and hyaluronic acid to soothe, calm and moisturise your skin.
3. Apply Moisturiser After Cleansing
THE most important thing of all is to moisturise your hands after every time you cleanse or sanitise. Not only does chapped skin make it easier for bacteria and germs to penetrate your skin, but it allows moisture to escape, making any dryness and itchiness ten times worse.
Moisturise your hands with a rich cream that contains botanical oils and/or butters to help smooth over cracks and seal moisture into your skin. After washing your hands, pat them dry with a towel, then liberally apply Natural Luminosity Body Butter while they’re still damp to help lock in water.
The same goes for sanitising, but remember to allow your sanitiser to dry completely before applying hand cream – otherwise it will lose its efficacy.
4. Try Some Gentle Exfoliation
If you’ve got dry, flaky patches on your hands, a little gentle exfoliation will go a long way. Exfoliating works to remove dead skin cells, allowing newer, fresher skin to be revealed at a surface level. This helps smooth the skin and allows your hand cream to absorb better. Yes, it really is a win-win.
Grab Natural Luminosity Scrub and work this gently over damp skin for a couple of minutes twice a week. Don’t scrub too vigorously, but use light circular motions to massage it over the backs of your hands, then rub your hands together to give the palms a deep cleanse, before rinsing and patting dry.
5. Wear Gloves – Inside & Out!
Protect your hands from prolonged exposure to water, disinfectants and other chemicals by popping on a pair of gloves when gardening, cleaning the house or doing the washing-up. This will stop any of those nasties from breaking down the protective barrier on the skin, thus reducing your chances of irritation, redness and chapping.
Also, now that summer’s a distant memory, always wear gloves to protect your hands when you go outside. Dry, winter air lacks humidity and sucks all the moisture out of your skin, so anything you can do to shield your hands from the chilly weather is going to be a major plus.
You can leave the Marigolds by the kitchen sink, but a cute pair of winter mitts? Absolutely!
PS: If your hands are persistently dry despite your best efforts to care for them, this might be a sign of eczema or a type of allergy. Book an appointment with your GP or a dermatologist if you think this could be the case.
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