We spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep our faces in tiptop shape, but hands need special care too. This is especially true in winter where the cold and lack of moisture in the air combined with dry indoor heating can take a toll on your hands. Adding insult to injury, there is all that hand washing and sanitizer required during the time of Covid-19.
There are habits you can adopt that will definitely make a difference for the health of your hands. Plus, a little night time treatment before bed will dramatically change the condition of your hands when done consistently.
Wash with Detergent Free Soap
You can still get clean hands and wash away most bacteria without rubbing your hands raw. Deodorant soaps are the biggest offenders because they are so alkaline. They severely damage your skin's protective barrier. This makes skin more vulnerable to germs getting through. Regular soap can be almost as bad. Using a soapless soap like the ones that contains coconut derived surfactants can be just as effective as harsh soaps for removing germs without damaging your skin. The key when washing your hands is the rubbing. It's not soap alone that kills the germs but the friction of lathering and washing away the organisms that makes hand washing effective. Washing with soap has been shown to be better than washing with water alone because it loosens the germs’ ability to grip onto hands, making bacteria more easily rinsed away.
Apply SPF Every Day
Nothing ages your face like the sun, follow that logic to protecting your hands as well. Most of the sun's damage to your hands comes from simply not protecting your hands when sun's rays are streaming in through your car's windows. I leave a bottle of Gentle Screen SPF 30 in my car's glove box and apply it every time I get behind the wheel. I even use it before putting on my gloves, offering a little hand treatment while I'm driving.
Exfoliate Your Hands
Most people don’t think to exfoliate their hands, but exfoliation removes that dull dead skin layer and allows for better penetration of important actives like calming botanicals, brighteners, peptides and repair serums containing anti-aging antioxidants like the powerful antioxidants found in cranberries and pomegranates found in our Shea Butter Balm. Exfoliation also helps reduce sun spots on your hands. I find Tropical Enzyme Smoothing Peel as the preferred hand exfoliant to be the most effective. Since it contains only enzymes and not strong acids it is much gentler when it comes to exfoliating the backs of our hands. If your hands are visibly irritated or raw you should skip this step and focus on rich, healing hand creams.
Keeping Hands Moisturized
Keep a little stash of hand moisturizer in your desk drawer, your handbag, on the kitchen counter and by your bedside. The bedside being the most important. I keep Avocado Body Lotion in various locations around my house. It is especially effective when applied after hand sanitizer has dried. I keep both Avocado Body Lotion and Shea Butter Balm in my night stand. These two products are the last thing I do before going to bed. I use Avocado Body Lotion on my legs and arms before getting under the covers. I like it because it is not greasy or sticky. Then I apply Shea Butter Balm on my hands. This rich emollient treatment is perfect for hand repair when skin becomes raw and rashy, or just exceedingly dry. It does way more than a traditional hand cream.
Wear Cotton Gloves to Bed
After exfoliating, treat your skin with a brightening serum followed with and an emollient hand cream. Cotton treatment gloves are a great finishing step for pushing these important reconditioning ingredients into the skin. Speaking of gloves... when it becomes cold enough to put on a hat, it is definitely cold enough to don a pair of gloves. Investing in a good pair of gloves is effective for blocking out wind and keeping hands warm. Use water-resistant gloves when outside in the snow. Also, that pair of rubber gloves you keep under the sink should be used every time you wash dishes. If not, the detergent and hot water will certainly dry out your hands.
Bedtime Hand Recap:
1. Wash hands with a detergent free soap. Rinse well. Let thoroughly dry.
2. Apply Tropical Enzyme Smoothing Peel for 5 minutes to lighten spots and remove accumulated dead cells. Rinse off and dry.
3. Apply Brightening Peptide Serum to improve brightening and boost collagen.
4. Cover with Shea Butter Balm as a rich, emollient treatment.
5. Finish with white cotton treatment gloves. Sleeping with gloves on overnight really enhances the treatment.
Tips and Myths about Hand Washing:
The following tips will help you wash your hands correctly and myths that might keep you from doing so.
Wash hands with a Moisturizing Soap
Frequent hand washing with hot water and soap can strip natural oils from your skin. Some soaps are less drying than others, but all bar soaps contain binders that can be drying. Switch to moisturizing cleansing gel and make sure the water is lukewarm rather than hot.
Antibacterial soap is better than plain soap.
There’s no need to grab the antibacterial soap off the drugstore shelf anymore. Very little evidence shows that antibacterial soap is will prevent illness and the spread of infections better than regular soap and water. However, deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps are much more drying and irritating for your skin.
Choose your soap carefully.
High detergent soaps don't really clean better. High detergent soaps break the bonds between the cells which allow moisture to escape leading to dehydration and irritation. The breakdown of the barrier layer makes it easier for germs to get in. Let me say it once again, a detergent free gel cleanser will do the job without over drying your hands.
Make sure you are washing long enough.
A study from Michigan State University study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that 95 percent of people don’t wash hands long enough to effectively kill germs—that is 20 seconds with soap and water according to the CDC.