Dry skin and accelerated aging: Our hands, which are exposed to a wide range of pollutants, need a daily skincare regimen, too. What should we avoid and what can we do to keep our hands looking young and soft?
Fall and winter bring in the cool weather. Beyond a sense of relief, the drop in humidity can cause dryness, especially to exposed areas of the skin – the face and hands.
Most of us take care of our face, but our hands are not usually granted that same level of attention; this, despite being the most exposed, active part of our body. Hands are very sensitive because we tend to wash them more often than any other part of our body. Our hands (as well as our face) are also more vulnerable to changes in weather, so they tend to age more rapidly. Just like with our face, it is very important to follow a daily skincare regimen for our hands to prevent aging, discoloration and dry skin.
Many people apply hand cream regularly, but not all products provide optimal, long-lasting protection. When buying hand cream, we tend to gloss over the writing on the tube and are content with a cream that has a scent we like. We end up buying whatever hand cream is on sale, we choose products by brand name, or we randomly grab whatever we come across without taking the time to read the list of ingredients. While these creams may inadvertently soften the skin in the short-term, they do not provide long-term nourishment and moisture. As a result, in many instances they need to be applied generously and frequently to relieve dry skin. They usually contain mineral oils that instantly soften the skin, but these clog the skin and cause perspiration by not allowing it to breathe. Hand creams that contain mineral oil end up accelerating aging of the skin.
Tips for long-lasting protection of the hands:
1. Wash in moderation. Do not wash excessively beyond the maintenance of basic hygiene (after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, after changing diapers, etc.). If washing hands is not necessary, use water alone or a very gentle soap.
2. Defense. Use gloves when washing dishes or cleaning the house. If you do not use gloves, use cream to form a layer of protection for the skin.
3. Apply frequently. Use hand cream before going outdoors to protect them from environmental damage and from frequent changes in weather.
4. Deep massage. When applying hand cream, massage well into the skin in order to help the cream permeate the skin and to boost blood flow to the joints.
5. Steer clear from the sun – not just for your face. As much as possible, avoid exposing your hands to the sun. Hands are the first to show discoloration and pigmentation.
6. Have you checked your elbows lately? Elbows tend to show signs of dry skin. While they are not visible to us, they are visible to others, so apply cream to the elbows as well.
7. Avoid mineral oils (fuel derivatives like paraffin). Avoid hand creams based on paraffin oil, which forms an opaque layer on the skin. In the long-term, mineral oils dry out the skin.
8. Pampering peeling treatment. Pamper your hands with a peel to remove dead skin cells, leaving them feeling soft and soothed.
9. Corrective stage. Apply corrective hand cream after washing hands to restore lost moisture.