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5 Hand Care Tips to Soothe & Strengthen

If we learned nothing else in 2020, it was the proper way to wash our hands. Of course, many of us were already well aware, but perhaps we weren’t washing them quite as often as we should have been.

Many of us have been required to continue working as before, but with the additional daily routine of hand washing, wearing gloves and changing them regularly. And of course, this can also take a toll.

Either way, pandemic-induced additional hand washing hasn’t been without cost. Our hands are more dry, sore and cracked than ever before, thanks to hand sanitiser and strong soaps. But we happen to know the secrets to healthier skin, so you can maintain soft and nourished hands at home.

Trust us, keeping your hands healthy, even if you have to wear gloves, is simpler than you might think…


Tip #1 – Choose Your Gloves Carefully

hands in gloves making heart shape

You might already know how important choosing the right face mask is, but have you stopped to consider what you put on your hands?

Using the best gloves can make an enormous difference to their effect on your hands. This is because many people can have a reaction to the products used in disposable gloves without even realising why.

For example, many gloves are latex-based, and can cause swelling and itchiness (even if you only react mildly). In more serious cases, you could also experience sneezing and difficulty breathing, so it’s important to check the labels before you put them on.

Even if you’re not allergic, some gloves can cause irritation purely because of the time we’re expected to wear them. High-quality gloves will decrease this risk, but even nitrile and vinyl gloves don’t allow the air to circulate.

Your skin needs to breathe, it requires ventilation and will sweat, but there’s nowhere for that sweat to go while you’re wearing gloves. This creates a sauna-like effect from the excess heat, and the only proper way to counteract this is to ensure that once those gloves are off, you’re taking the best possible care of your hands.


Tip #2 – Use Hand Moisturiser

closeup of dried-out hand

The consequence of wearing gloves for a long time is sweaty hands. Not just nervous sweaty palms, but seriously sweaty. And when we sweat in such a way, we produce bacteria. Which means as soon as those gloves are off, you need to find a good hand wash and wash your hands as quickly as possible.

But how is that helping with sore, dry hands, you might ask? Well, it isn’t. No matter how good your hand soap may be, you’re still drying out your hands with excessive washing. Which is why a good moisturiser is key.

A moisturiser specifically designed for hands is preferable, but if you don’t have one available, a body moisturiser will do until you can find something more specific to your needs. Remember to keep it by the sink as a reminder to use it and apply a generous layer after washing and drying your hands.

Your hands will only absorb the moisturiser as needed if they’re thoroughly dry before application.


Tip #3 – Know Your Ingredients

woman applying skincare oil to wrist; oils, candle and flowers on wooden table

This is a big one. As we said before, any moisturiser is better than none, but choosing a hand cream with ingredients targeted at hand care is always better.

Look for products with soothing ingredients that will help to nourish and protect your skin from abrasive and drying soaps, alcohol-based sanitizers, and harsh cleaning products. There are three ingredients in particular you should know: occlusives, humectants and emollients.

Occlusives are normally oil-based, and these prevent moisture loss. But if your hands are already dry, you need to boost their hydration, which is where humectants come in. These increase the water content in your skin by pulling moisture from the air. And last come emollients, which provide a protective layer by covering small cracks, whilst softening the skin.

Plenty of ingredients you’re already aware of are either occlusives, humectants, emollients or a combination. But knowing which is which means knowing exactly what you’re doing to better your hand care.

A commonly found ingredient is aloe vera. We know it for its soothing properties, but it’s also an effective emollient that can stimulate new cell growth, reduce irritation, and also functions as an anti-aging ingredient for your hands.

Shea butter is both an emollient and occlusive. It’s actually a tree-nut oil, which means it’s naturally full of nourishing and moisturising vitamins and fatty acids. This is how it creates a barrier to lock in moisture, while preventing further moisture loss.

Hyaluronic acid is as important an ingredient for your hands as it is for your face and is also a humectant. Though naturally occurring in the skin, it depletes as we age. But since it attracts water and draws in moisture, it’s an amazing ingredient for adding moisture to our hands.

Similarly, Vitamin E is a humectant and an emollient, functioning to protect and beautify the hands. As a potent antioxidant, Vitamin E shields the skin, while nurturing it.

Moisturisers or hand masks with the above ingredients will make all the difference when it comes to restoring strong, healthy hands.


Tip #4 – Exfoliate Your Hands

closeup of hands applying skincare oil to fingertip

If your hands are particularly sore and dry, this is a step to avoid for now. But once you’ve gotten your hands into a more reasonable condition, exfoliating is something to consider.

Not just for the face, hand exfoliators are an excellent way to shed dead skin cells from the hands, exposing newer, brighter and younger looking skin. Don’t overdo it though, as this can cause irritation and you might well end up right back where you started.


Tip #5 – Wash Reusable Gloves Regularly

This might be a no-brainer, but given the sweaty and bacteria-ridden state our hands are in after we’ve worn gloves, it’s absolutely crucial that you wash them.

Where possible, try to wash your hands before wearing the gloves again. Where this isn’t possible, try turning them inside out and letting them dry.

Washing your gloves regularly is just as important as taking good care of and washing your face mask. And of course, when you take them off, you still need to wash and moisturise your hands.