Caring For Your Hands

handsOur hands are in constant use and as such are under continuous attack from our daily lives and the environment. The result of this is exposure to a whole variety of bacteria, chemicals, dirt, UV rays and so much more. When you think about what you do with your hands in just one day, it is a wonder that for many of us they are not in a worse state. I don't know about you, but I am constantly washing my hands, not because I have some sort of OCD but because I will have been preparing food, touching my pets, cleaning things, gardening and so on with the result that they need to be washed before I do something else.

Hand washing is very important for good health and can prevent us from becoming ill or passing on a 'bug'. Of course the downside of all this hand washing is that the skin becomes dry and cracked\. Do not despair – there are ways to reduce and repair the damage of daily life and it need not cost a fortune or take hours of your time.

The first thing to do is take a look at your hands to see what state they are in.

* Is there any visible damage?
* Is the skin dry or cracked?
* What state are your fingernails in?

By taking a critical look at your hands you can begin to do something about caring for them.

Before you take any action, consider your diet: is it balanced and are you getting a good range of essential vitamins and minerals? Diet is essential to healthy skin and if your diet is lacking, your skin may suffer.

Ask yourself if you are drinking enough water as dehydration can lead to deep lines and cracks in the skin. Plenty of water will also ensure the removal of toxins and waste products from the cells in our bodies.

As I have already mentioned, washing hands a lot can lead to dry and chapped skin, even if you use a gentle organic handwash. Regular moisturising with a good quality organic hand moisturizer will help keep the skin in good condition. If you can manage once a week, to really plaster moisturiser onto your hands and then put on a pair of cotton gloves overnight, I can assure you that your hands will feel wonderfully soft and fully moisturised in the morning.

Prevention is always better than cure, so here are a few ideas to help prevent some of the daily damage:

1. Wearing rubber gloves when doing housework will prevent the skin on your hands from coming into contact with a variety of harsh chemicals.

2. When the weather is cold and dry outside, it is a good idea to wear gloves as the exposure and changes in temperature can lead to painful chapping.

3. Gardening gloves will save your hands not only from ingrained dirt but also from thorns, scratches and other damage.

4. Wear an appropriate sunscreen to prevent UV damage.

It is achievable to have soft hands even if you spend a lot of time outdoors or in water. Healthy skin is a long term project and you will reap what you sow.

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