Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Weather Hand Care 101

Cold winter weather can be brutal to our hands with chapping and cracking or even worse, turning them rough and scaly.  However, there are some helpful tips to survive the constantly plunging temperatures to keep hands soft and pain-free.

The first line of defense is never leave the house without wearing your thick gloves or mittens.  This may sound silly, but the skin of your hands is not the only thing to suffer when not taking safeguards.  You will also pay the price with your cuticles.  They will dry out and become ragged.  Sometimes, they can even pull away from the nail bed to harbor bacteria.  This is the time to start incorporating a cuticle oil into your beauty routine to keep that area lubricated.  If you don't have any immediately on hand, you also could rub your lip balm over the base of the nail to protect that vulnerable cuticle.

You need to moisturize more frequently during the winter.  Pay special attention to the curve between your thumb and pointer finger because this skin area is prone to splitting.  If you often experience this problem of your hands forming cracks and bleeding, you might need to visit your dermatologist and see about a cortisone cream.  You need to heal those cracks.  Otherwise, you risk them becoming infected.

Look for heavy duty hand creams and lotion formulas that have both humectant and occlusive ingredients for the best winter protection.  Good humectants might be ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea, lactic acid, panthenol, propylene glycol, and aloe to attract moisture and carry it deep inside the cells of the skin of the hands. 

For the most part, occlusive ingredients are greasier ingredients like shea butter, lanolin, petroleum, cocoa butter, silicones, and mineral oil that are capable of locking in moisture on the top layers of the skin like a barrier to prevent evaporation. 

To get even more of those heavier hand creams and lotions, you should habitually apply them to damp skin.