If you’ve ever despaired when your hands suddenly feel like sandpaper and your cuticles look cracked in winter, read on for the latest tips to keep them soft and smooth.
Frequent hand-washing is a sign of the times, but constant exposure to water and soap reduces the healthy fatty compounds in the top layers of our skin, according to Harvard University. To counteract this, use lukewarm water to wash, and a moisturising soap that won’t strip your natural oils, Look for one with hydrating ingredients added, like shea butter, aloe, or plant-based oils. After washing, apply a handcream containing emollients (such as squalene) which forms a protective barrier over the skin and traps moisture beneath. Beaute Pacific Enriched Hydrating Hand Cream ($38, beaute-pacific.com/au) is squalene rich and reactivated by contact with water, ensuring hands remain protected.
Quick Fix: If you’re cleansing on-thego, try Dermal Therapy’s new Sanitising Hand Cream, $8.99, dermaltherapy.com.au, containing urea to keep hands soft while killing 99.9% of bacteria.
Keep Hand Cream Handy
The skin on your hands is constantly exposed to the elements, and is thinner and more susceptible to damage than on the rest of your body. Moisturising is key to keeping hands soft and supple. Keep a cream in your bag containing humectants (like glycerine, urea or hyaluronic acid) which pull moisture into the skin from the atmosphere (we like CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream, $6.99, Chemist Warehouse), and reapply when needed. If the appearance of your skin bothers you (think: age spots and wrinkles) a brightening treatment like Skin Doctors Younger Hands, $34.95, uses active ingredients to boost skin density and lighten pigmentation. When applying your face products, rub any excess to the backs of your hands for an added dose of nourishment – and never forget the SPF.
Quick Fix: For deeper hydration, try an overnight hand mask like Mavala Repairing Night Cream for Hands, $64.95, mavala.com.au, to help restore your mitts to their baby soft best.
Use Nutrition to Condition Healthy Nails
To combat dry cuticles, massage them daily with a moisturiser such as Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, $14.99, to keep the skin around your nails nourished. Our nails naturally become drier and more brittle with age, as our bodies absorb less nutrients, says nutritionist Fiona Tuck. “Nails can be a reflection of your inner health and dietary habits so if you ‘feed’ the nail with the correct nutrients, they’ll grow stronger and be more resistant to breakage.” Good foods include cucumbers, barley, oats, root vegetables, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale along with raw nuts and seeds.
Quick Fix: Wearing nail polish for extended periods can cause nails to become brittle, so give them a breather. In between using coloured lacquer, go au naturel with the help of a strengthener such as Sally Hansen Nail Rehab.
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