Your New Hand Care Regimen Has Arrived
5 minutes read
If your skincare routine doesn’t already include hand care, allow us to convince you that it should. “Hands get the same amount of exposure as the face, but your palms don’t have any sebaceous (oil) glands. However, they do have sweat glands,” explains Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. “So you get lots and lots of sweat on the palms, but no oil. Which means that your hands have little protection from irritants.”
If you’ve ever suffered from any long-term barrier damage on your hands, you probably know how frustrating it is to repair. And if you haven’t yet? Well, when it comes to your hands, prevention is 100% better than cure.
Here’s everything you need to know about what causes hands to get rough and dry, and what you need to do to keep them looking and feeling their best.
What causes dry hands?
There are so many reasons why your hands could be getting dry. Some of the most common causes include:
When the air is cold and dry, it sucks out the moisture from your skin too. This is why it’s common to suffer from dry hands during the winter months. Additionally, exposure to central heating, wood-burning stoves, or fireplaces will only exacerbate the problem as they also make the air around very dry.
We’re all washing and sanitising our hands more than we ever have before. And while that is a good hygiene practice, it takes a toll on the skin on our hands. This is especially true if the soaps you use are extremely harsh and stripping. Taking long, hot baths or showers could also lead to dryness on the hands.
Hand eczema is one of the most common forms of eczema that can cause dry, itchy hands. Other inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis can also lead to scaly patches on the palms of your hands. If you suffer from these, it’s best to visit your GP to get the proper treatment.
For a detailed look at what causes dry hands, read: The Best Tips For Dry Hands.
A hand care routine for healthy, soft and beautiful hands
“People always prioritise their face because it’s what everybody looks at,” says McHale. “My advice? Look after your hands as well as you look after your face.”
But what does a good hand care routine look like? It’s not very complicated. Here are the simple steps to remember:
Washing your hands is essential for hygiene. But try to avoid using harsh soaps that could strip the moisture from your skin. Instead, look for options that are gentle and have moisturising properties.
Make your skincare work double duty
After applying your facial products – always include the top of your hands. This will help safeguard against age spots, fine lines and dryness.
Keep your hands moisturised at all times
After your hands have come in contact with any form of soap (hand wash, shower gel, detergent, shampoo…), make it a practice to moisturise immediately. A hand cream is more suited to care for your hands than a regular cream.
“They tend to be richer than body moisturisers and kind of create a film on the hand — like putting on a pair of gloves made of cream,” McHale explains. “But they’re also formulated so they don’t feel greasy.”
If your hands tend to get very dry, choose an ultra-nourishing formula like the Hand And Nail Treatment Balm that contains 26% organic shea butter. It’s nourishing and non-sticky and keeps the hands protected from external aggressors.
Protect them from the sun
When you’re applying your SPF (which should be a non-negotiable skincare step to prevent sun damage and premature signs of ageing), don’t forget to slather some on your hands too. They get almost as much sun exposure as our faces, even during the colder months (unless you wear gloves).
Exfoliate once or twice a week
Give the backs of your hands a gentle scrub a couple of times a week. This will help slough away dead skin cells and leave your hands looking and feeling smoother instantly. Use an exfoliating cream like the Exfoliating Body Scrub for this — it’s got skin smoothing bamboo powders and shea butter that work together to soften your skin.
Treat them to an overnight mask
Give your hands some TLC every once in a while. Mix a few drops of Blue Orchid Oil with your hand cream and massage it in. Wear cotton gloves – either when you’re having a Netflix binge or overnight if you can – you’ll wake with softer, smoother-looking skin and cuticles.
Hand care for skin-damaging jobs
If your job requires you to wash your hands or immerse them in water constantly, or if it involves any physical work that can damage your hands, there are a few tips that could help keep at their best.
- When washing your hands, make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold.
- If you can, avoid hand washes that are hydroalcoholic – these are filled with alcohol and often give you that dry, tight sensation post-wash.
- Choose hand washing over anti-bac gels – soap is less aggressive to skin.
- Rinse skin properly in lukewarm water- so there is no soap residue.
- Cover your hands in protective gloves whenever possible.
- Moisturise your hands as often as you can. Applying hand cream will take you only about five seconds, so don’t skip it.
- Keep a hand cream in convenient locations: your handbag, bathroom, work desk and even by your kitchen sink, so you never miss it.
- Apply to damp skin to lock in more moisture or post-anti-bac gel after it’s thoroughly dried.
It’s important to acknowledge just how much we put our hands through, just by living and conducting mundane daily activities. Take the time to keep your hands healthy and nourished, and they’ll care for you for the rest of your life.