Have you ever struggled with dry and peeling skin on your hands every time it gets a little too cold?
When winter sets in, your hands begin to show neglect and ageing sooner than most parts of the body cry, chapped hands are one of the most common winter skin woes. Not only can they crack, peel, and bleed, when your skin barrier is compromised, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions can worsen. Your hands are one of the most used body parts and need to be taken care of.
Most of us face a similar problem during the harsh winter when our hands react terribly to the cold air and harsh winds during peak winters leading to lizard skin. You may also find that dead skin tends to accumulate quicker in the winter and rough patches of skin seem to be all over. This is because in the winter the cell turnover rate is decreased, If you’re washing your hands frequently to avoid coronavirus, you could sap whatever natural oils are left in your skin.
Actually, the skin on the back of the hands is thin and lacks oil glands. That is why the hands are prone to wrinkles and lines. The nails also become dry and brittle, breaking or chipping easily during peak winters.
Exposures of hands during winters can lead to skin issues like pain, redness, flaking and itching. Ironically, by washing our hands with chemical-laden soap, we can develop dry cracks in the skin giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies which lead to conditions such as eczema.
The outermost layer of our hands is composed of oils and wax, and it acts as both a shield from the outside and a guard that maintains natural moisture in the skin. The skin barrier is a mix of proteins, lipids, and oils. It protects your skin, and how good a job it does is mostly about your genes.
Here are a few easy tips to take care of hands
Protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves/ mittens for your washing chores./vegetable choppings/cleansing etc to retain the moisture you already have. Always wash your hands with tepid water. Make sure the water is not too hot or cold. Limit exposure to high heat. Surgical gloves are easily available at a chemist store.
Apply freshly extracted Aloe Vera gel on hands and let it dry in the natural environment on your skin. You can apply it twice a week. The best prevention is to begin using aloe vera gel before your hands show signs of dryness. Apply raw milk cream if you have dark knuckles, it will help lighten the colour.
Bath time is appropriate for pampering the hands and supplying them with the oil and moisturizing they need. Before your bath, apply warmed oil on the hands and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin. You can use coconut oil, which is very nourishing. Coconut oil is recognized for its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and anti-microbial properties. Applying coconut oil over damp hands helps in sealing the moisture. Or, use pure almond oil immediately, after your bath, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream, while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture. Twice a week, have a pre-bath treatment by mixing ground almonds with curd and a pinch of turmeric. Apply on hands. After 15 minutes, rub the paste gently on the skin and wash it off with water. At night, massage cream on your hands, working it into the skin.
You can also try some home remedies to keep the skin soft and smooth
Among the many kinds of moisturizers, hand creams are better than body lotion because they are more nourishing. Lotions, which are primarily water-based, can further dry out the skin because the water evaporates. Creams, which are often oil-based, are more effective after washing hands. Once your hands are dry, immediately use hand cream to seal in the moisture.
A luxury treatment for hands: Take four teaspoon almond oil and mix one tablespoon rose water. Add half-teaspoon tincture benzoin, drop by drop. Mix together. Apply this on the hands. Wear loose cotton socks on the hands and leave on the preparation all night. Rinse off with plain water the next morning.
Use hand ointment or cream instead of a lotion as these are more effective. Vaseline is still the most effective moisturizer out there.
Lemon juice and sugar rubbed together with the hands help to soften the skin.
Take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into hands. Wash off after 15 minutes. Do this three times a week.
Take fresh orange peels, pierce them with a fork. Rub the peels on the hands to brighten them.
Choker (wheat bran) and besan (gram flour) can be mixed with turmeric and milk into a paste and applied on the hands. Wash off after 20 minutes. This softens, cleanses and tightens the skin.
Mix almond oil and honey in equal parts and massage into the nails and cuticles. •
(The author is an international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India)