When it comes to our skin care, we all know how important it is to care for our face, neck and décolletage. After all, our faces are the focal point of our bodies when interacting with others, and sadly, one of the first places to show visible signs of aging. Many of us already know that our face is home to some of the thinnest skin on the body, and areas such as the eye lids and undereye area are some of the first to develop fine lines and wrinkles. It’s why so many of us begin forming their skincare regime from a young age.
And whilst our faces are the focal point of our interactions with others, our hands also play a role, with a friendly handshake or wave regularly used to greet friends and make new acquaintances alike. But did you know that the skin on the back of our hands is just as thin as some areas on the face, making it equally as fragile and susceptible to showing signs of aging? And does anyone really want to shake a dry, rough and calloused hand?
It’s easy to see why a daily hand care routine is crucial, both to prevent them from drying out as well as to prevent them losing their youthful suppleness and developing age spots. Whilst many acknowledge the significance of caring for our hands, sometimes knowing precisely where to start can be overwhelming – and that’s where we come in.
Dukes Avenue is taking a look at how you can build your own hand care routine; with 12 simple tips on how you can provide your hands with an extra dose of indulgent attention! So dive right in, and let this be the inspiration you needed to start treating your hands like royalty!
- Hand Care Routine 101
- How to Take Care of Your Hands: The Essentials
- How to Take Care of Your Hands: The Extras
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Hand Care Routine 101
Ok, so we know our hands are important to care for, but the reality is that our hands are constantly exposed to so many factors that don’t help the cause; from harsh soaps and cleaning products, to sun exposure and harmful UV rays. Our hands are used to fulfil the most basic of functions throughout the day, and unsurprisingly this is bound to take its toll upon the hands’ skin, often making them feel tight, dry and eventually losing their youthful appearance.
We’re conscious that we have readers from all over the world, all of whom have their own schedule, routine, career and family obligations, with lifestyles that differ drastically. We know that forming your own hand care routine is very much a personal thing (one that not every reader has the same amount of time for!) so rather than put one together for you, we’re listing 12 things that you might want to consider when building your own.
Of course, some steps are more important than others – keeping your hands clean is definitely more important that sleeping in cotton gloves, but we’ve included everything that is worth considering. Prioritise what works for you!
How to Take Care of Your Hands: The Essentials
1. Keep Them Clean
Keeping our hands clean is fundamental for maintaining good hygiene practices. After all, our hands are constantly touching things that harbour germs – and let’s not forget the recent pandemic we’ve all overcome – so it is no surprise that washing our hands regularly is the foundation for this hand care routine. Irrespective of everything else on this list, washing your hands throughout the day is an absolute must.
After washing, it’s important to moisturise the hands to keep them soft and smooth. Ideally, moisturiser is gently rubbed into the hands after each washing to prevent the soap and water from stripping hands of their natural oils, but of course, this may not always be possible. We recommended keeping a non-greasy hand cream in your handbag for whenever you leave the house, so that you always have it handy for whenever you need it.
There are various types of hand moisturisers to choose from, ranging from hand serums to hand creams. Naturally, all harbour their own individual benefits and choosing the best hand moisturiser for your hands depends on their condition and skin type. Moisturising lotions that incorporate shea butter, beeswax, hyaluronic acid or aloe are ideal for healing dry and chapped hands.
3. Shield Your Hands From the Sun
Whilst many of us remember to apply sun protection on our face as part of our morning skincare routine, the hands are frequently left unprotected from the sun and its harmful UV rays. Yet this is a crucial part of any hand care routine as exposure to the sun can lead to premature signs of ageing, sun burns, age spots and pigmentation. It is recommended that sunscreen is applied to the top of the hands in the morning before heading outside, and if at all possible, reapplied after washing hands (following any hand cream).
How to Take Care of Your Hands: The Extras
4. Choose a Moisturising Hand Soap
Despite the hygienic benefits of regular washing, water which is too hot or too cold could easily dry out the skin – as can harsh soaps. To work around this, swap out very hot water for lukewarm and instead, use mild, moisturising hand soaps whenever possible.
Alcohol-based soaps and hand sanitisers can alter the skin’s pH levels causing the hands’ skin to become irritated, dry out and in time, even crack. Seeing as harsh chemicals can easily rob the hands of essential moisture, choosing the right hand wash is important. Mild, alcohol free hand soap is less likely to compromise the pH levels of your skin, reducing the risk of irritation and dryness. For especially dry hands, look out for moisturising hand soap that contains natural hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter or oils like coconut oil or jojoba oil.
5. Clean Under Your Nails with a Nail Brush
As great as it is to regularly wash your hands, the fact is that some dirt and bacteria remains under your fingernails. Whilst it may not always be possible depending on where you are, it’s good practice to use a good quality nail brush to scrub under your nails, and remove anything that won’t go away with just a wash and rinse. There’s no special technique to it and it doesn’t take long at all. Simply grab the nail brush and scrub back and forth both over and under the nails.
6. Keep Nails Short for Extra Hygiene
This is definitely an optional extra, and after all, it does boil down to personal preference. For ultimate hygiene, it’s ideal to keep your nails short and trimmed – it’s a known fact that longer nails do tend to harbour more germs. Be sure to check out our article on classy short nail designs to inspire your next short manicure.
7. Don’t Forget to Exfoliate
Exfoliation is as essential for the hands as it is for the rest of the body, with benefits including the promotion of blood circulation, removal dead skin cells and the encouragement of skin rejuvenation, amongst others – it’s an all-around win. For more information on all the different methods of manual exfoliation, be sure to check out our article on the benefits of body scrubbing, all of which applies to exfoliating your hands.
Despite the benefits of exfoliation, this should not form a part of a daily hand care routine as exfoliating too frequently may lead to skin irritation. We recommend exfoliating once to twice a week and following this up with a healthy dose of hand cream before bed.
8. Deep Condition Once a Week
If moisturising hand soap and daily hand cream is still not quite hitting the spot, deep conditioning might be just what your hands need. Once a week, you might want to indulge in a decadent hand mask, whether that’s in the form of a pair of hydrating gloves or a leave-on treatment. Try this right after exfoliating your hands and we promise you, it will become a newfound skincare treat you won’t want to give up! Here are some of our favourites:
Alternatively, consider soaking those hands in a satisfying paraffin wax bath. Available at salons but also as an at-home indulgence, paraffin wax baths offer a deeply moisturising treatment that can be used on the hands as well as the feet. Simply wash hands, pat them dry and dip them into the paraffin wax bowl, repeating this from 6 to 8 times to allow layers of wax to form. As soon as the hands are covered with suitable layers of paraffin wax, wrap them in a plastic bag or cling film to lock in the moisture and wait from 10 to 15 minutes before removing everything and admiring your soft hands. Follow with your favourite hand cream.
9. Protect Your Hands When Cleaning
Harsh chemicals and water can be the hands’ worst enemies. Yet, coming into contact with both is inevitable when going about daily chores. In such cases, prevention is better than cure! Instead of relying on moisturisers and oils to repair the damage afterwards, take steps to prevent dry hands in the first place.
If your hands are frequently in water, it’s worth investing in long plastic or rubber gloves. These will keep water and any harmful cleaning chemicals from coming into contact with your hands. If wearing gloves aren’t really your thing, just try to avoid overly hot water and opt for natural cleaning products that do not use harsh bleaches, to maintain healthy skin on the hands as much as possible.
10. Apply Cuticle Oil
Whenever you find yourself at home with a few minutes to spare, take the opportunity to provide your cuticles with a bit of TLC. The cuticle is that hard layer of skin that surrounds the nail bed, protecting nails from any bacteria. Many tend to either remove these themselves or at the nail salon, by pushing them away from the nail bed and trimming with cuticle cutters.
In between nail appointments, and whenever you have those five minutes to yourself, try massaging a small dose of cuticle oil into the cuticles, before applying your hand lotion or cream. This will keep the cuticles feeling soft and hydrated, without running the risk of infection. It’s ideal to apply cuticle oil on a daily basis – why not aim to add it to your evening skin care routine, just before your hand cream and before jumping into bed.
11. Wear Cotton Gloves to Bed
As the skin regenerates quicker as we sleep, and in addition to your hand cream throughout the day, consider applying an additional night hand cream to help the skin on your hands heal as you sleep at night. Night hand creams are typically on the creamier side of the viscosity spectrum, boasting a richer oil composition that works wonders for particularly dry, cracked hands. After applying a healthy dose to your hands before going to bed, slip on some light breathable cotton gloves to lock in the moisture and make sure the cream is fully absorbed. You’ll notice a difference the very next morning!
12. Manicure Your Nails
No outfit could ever be truly complete without manicured nails! Whether booking an appointment at a beauty salon or giving yourself a home manicure, providing your nails with the attention they deserve can make any hands look better groomed and provide the motivation to maintain a regular hand care routine. If you’re in need of colour inspiration for your next mani appointment, be sure to check out our top 10 nail colours that match with everything!
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