Best tips and advice for keeping your hands hydrated and discomfort free all year round. The Hand Care mini-series explores every step of your hand washing routine and helps you avoid skin damaging mistakes.
In the first episode of the Hand Care mini-series, we have tackled the topic of soaps and sanitisers for different skin types. In our second episode, we dive into the common causes of dry hands and tips on keeping them hydrated. Dry hands is a pretty common skin condition, and although not dangerous, it can be frustrating. Therefore, we gathered for you the best tips on how to treat and prevent dryness.
Like many other skin conditions, environmental factors play a huge role. For example, people who are often exposed to chemicals or stay with their hands for long periods in water are more prone to hand dryness than others.
In the recent years, there was an increase in hand-related skin problems such as eczema, contact dermatitis and severe dryness caused by excessive hand washing, using harsh alcohol-based products and hand sanitisers. Well, this doesn't mean you should stop washing your hands, but find suitable products for your skin and always follow with a moisturiser.
Avoid Using Hot Water
One of the most straightforward steps is to avoid using hot water when showering or washing. Hot water can dry out and compromise your skin barrier, aggravating eczema, itchiness, and redness. Instead, use lukewarm water and keep your showers short. The keratin cells that make up the epidermis, our skin's outer layer, get damaged by hot water.
Use A Gentle Hand Wash
Depending on their formulation, soaps can strip off the skin of its natural, protective oils. A compromised skin barrier presents stinging and burning sensations, flakiness, and dryness. Instead, look for a gentle, fragrance-free soap with hydrating ingredients and high oil content and explore more on this topic in our article "Choosing the Right Soap and Sanitiser for Your Hand Care".
If you haven't tried out the Green Angel seaweed hand wash gel with four varieties of hand-harvested organic seaweeds and lavender, mandarin or neroli, it's time. So refreshing and deliciously revitalising.
Moisturise After Each Wash
You should always follow your hand wash with a moisturiser to keep your skin soft and hydrated. Consider products with coconut oil, jojoba, or shea butter, which are great for dry hands.
During the day, you can use a lighter formulation such as Green Angel's seaweed hand lotion. It is formulated with lavender essential oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, mandarin essential oil with antiseptic and sedative properties to maintain the skin's balance and neroli essential oil with soothing properties. At night apply a petrolatum-based cream or ointment to your skin.
Massage your hand cream on your nail beds and cuticles. Every time you apply hand cream, it adds moisture to your nails while strengthening and keeping them healthy. Choose a product that has vitamin E and essential oils to nourish the cuticles.
Always have a moisturiser on hand to apply whenever you feel your hands are getting dry. Apply it after spraying your sanitiser too.
Protection Against Sun Damage
Did you know that you can tell a person's age by looking at their hands? So, keep them protected! You should avoid long-term sun exposure on all parts of the body, including the hands. Use a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation, dryness and premature ageing.
If you want to learn more about sun protection and how to choose the right sunblock, check our previous article about sun protection products all year and how often to use them.
Reduce Stress Levels
The skin and brain development take place in the same embryonic stage. So there is a strong link between stress and different skin conditions, especially psoriasis. Therefore, it may be due to stress when you experience exacerbating symptoms or an eczema flare-up. When this happens, you know you need to take some time off to relieve tension.
Humidifiers are frequently used by people with respiratory problems to aid their breathing. In dermatology, we use humidifiers especially during winter, on people with atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis (extreme dryness) to keep the skin hydrated and prevent cracking. A humidifier is often placed near the bed, although it may be placed in any other area of the house.
Use Medications If Necessary
Sometimes keeping your hands hydrated and moisturised is more complicated than you think. If itchiness develops or you have severe eczema, you may need to apply a steroid cream to help your skin recover. Always check with your doctor before using prescription medicine.
For example, when searching for a hand cream to alleviate dryness, choose hydrating compounds like coconut oil, shea butter, seaweed or calming ingredients like chamomile and Aloe vera. Lightweight lotions are perfect during the day, while thicker occlusives like petroleum-based creams work great as a hand mask.
Whatever moisturiser you pick, make sure that you are keeping your hands hydrated all day long. Explore our advice for choosing a suitable soap for your skin type in the previous episode of the Hand Care mini-series and how to create a hand care routine for warmer and colder seasons. Use #DHHandCare on social media for tips and advice for healthy skin.
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