Who does not want beautiful, soft and smooth hands? Yet, if your hands are rough, scaly, dull-looking, tanned and the skin around the nail is peeling off, then you are not alone. Winter is hard on your hands. Smooth, supple, and soft in September, hands can turn red, chapped, and rough by January. 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.
Exposure 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 moisturising 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 recognised for its anti-inflammatory, moisturising, 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 moisturising 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.
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