HELPING HANDS: TIPS FOR ESSENTIAL HAND CARE

Cathleen Klemm

 

Hands work constantly on our behalf. Their natural protective moisture layer is diminished by regular washing and drying. Paradoxically, meticulous hand hygiene can destroy the important defensive barrier that maintains an optimal skin condition!
Usually, hands show the most age-related damage on our bodies. The thin and delicate skin on the top side of the hands is extremely susceptible to accelerated aging caused by chemical irritants and damage from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun.
Over a lifetime, however, you can protect the skin of the hands by making a few minor conscious modifications to your daily routine.

Wash hands in lukewarm water

As a result of the Covid-19 health pandemic, people are washing their hands more frequently than ever before in order to prevent the spread of germs. Many mistakenly believe that hot water will be more effective for maintaining health, but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that “the temperature of the water does not appear to affect microbe removal; however, warmer water may cause more skin irritation and is more environmentally costly.” (cdc.gov)
In addition to hot water, scented products can also have a drying, deleterious effect to the skin. We therefore instead recommend using warm water in conjunction with a fragrance­free cleanser. (INSIDER TIP: While originally formulated for use on facial skin, we have been known to use our emollient Luminous Cleansing Elixir on our hands, as it soothes and hydrates the skin while removing dirt, debris, and residue!)

After washing hands, apply a moisturizer

Preserving the skin’s moisture level is essential to hand­care maintenance. Should the barrier become compromised, this delicate skin will also become more vulnerable to the negative effects of harsh chemicals, such as those found in hand sanitizers, soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, perfumes, preservatives and household cleansers.
For best hand-care results, after washing, bathing, showering, or swimming, gently pat hands dry and immediately after, apply a rich, oil-based moisturizer, such as our new Dermal Defense Hand Cream to seal in moisture. Enriched with sustainably grown avocado oil and glycerin, Dermal Defense Hand Cream helps to combat the ravages of aging, environmental exposure, and the deleterious effects of hand washing. Featuring marine extracts, niacinamide, and panthenol, this vitamin-infused botanically based hand salve promotes an improved skin texture as it helps to soothe, nourish and brighten the overworked dermis in this vulnerable area.

Moisturize as needed

It is important to moisturize whenever hands feel dry and not just by the clock, i.e., once in the morning and before bed, etc. (INSIDER TIP: For a very effective overnight treatment, we suggest applying Baume Ultime generously to the hands and wearing cotton gloves to bed!)

At sinks within your home, at work, or even on the go, make sure to have your favorite gentle products that you have already patch tested readily available for use.

Patch test products before use

In order to ascertain whether you are sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients contained in a product, first read the ingredient listing to see if you have a known sensitivity to any of the ingredients in the formulation. Before proceeding with intended use, we strongly suggest that you apply a small amount of the preparation to the fine skin of the inside wrist or inner-elbow arm area, and wait for 48 hours. If no irritation is noticed after that time, the product should be compatible with your skin type.

Wear the right gloves

We are enthusiastic advocates of the use of gloves to promote a more hygienic environment and for the protection of your hands’ skin quality! When working with water or cleansing agents, consider vinyl or neoprene gloves that are long enough to reach three quarters of the way up the arm; these fleece-lined gloves may be purchased at any grocery store or via Amazon. (Please note that some people are sensitive or allergic to latex, a component of many disposable gloves, and they can also be ordered without this component.)
As an added precaution to assist in overall hand­care maintenance, try wearing an extra layer of cotton gloves under neoprene or vinyl gloves in order to absorb excess perspiration and moisture. Doing so can circumvent the factors highlighted above that cause dry skin conditions. Simple, lightweight cotton gloves are available at hobby or camera stores and can be used on top of moisturizer too for a longer hydrating effect.
Be mindful to wash cotton gloves often. If the vinyl/neoprene gloves are not disposable, make certain that they are cleaned regularly and turned inside out so that they may dry thoroughly in order to avoid the growth of bacteria. Plus, using wet gloves just soaks the hands in more water for longer and results in increased dryness.

Protect hands from the sun

Everyday exposure to the sun takes quite a toll on the hands over time: It can cause age spots, wrinkles, and leathering of the skin as well as lead to carcinomas. Be proactive about sun protection and wear gloves when outdoors – particularly while driving. UV exposure is cumulative, and research has proven that skin exposed to the sun through window glass can lead to significant skin damage over time, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of applying sunscreen to the hands unless protective gloves are utilized outdoors, as the thin and delicate skin on the topside of the hands is extremely susceptible to accelerated aging caused by harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun no matter the season; and, again, we are enthusiastic advocates for the year-round use of gloves – especially whilst driving – as an additional protective measure! (INSIDER TIP: Even in warmer conditions, Jami often wears leather, cotton. or thick fabric gloves to help protect the delicate skin on her hands! She recommends Solumbra fingerless gloves or Nike’s lightweight outdoor gloves with special opening or finger appliqué for phone/texting use.)

Indulge in a manicure when it is safe to do so

Manicures are terrific for enhancing the appearance of the hands! Receiving a manicure can be very relaxing, and freshly-polished nails always look elegant and are an easy way to feel better, too! For the benefit of your health and the environment, we suggest considering one of the many excellent nontoxic nail polish brands available on the market today.

With these tips, hands can be better preserved to sustain everything that we put them through and still come through it all feeling comfortable and looking their best!

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