Got to be honest, I thought I’d do this as a winter post but the extra level of handwashing & use of hand sanitisers has left my hands feeling unloved, dried out & irritated.
Yup, we use our hands everyday & they cop a lot of exposure to not only heaps of chemicals but also lots weather conditions, both hot & cold water, plus let’s be honest a big exposure to large temperature variances. Bottom line – these can make our hands become dry, cracked & painful due to wear & tear- for both men & women.
So how do you choose a hand cream? Everyone seems to like something different for quite different reasons. Plus, there seem to be a gazillion hand creams to choose from, but you need to identify the problems first. These seem to be the main ones.
We all know to wash our hands but COVID has been a stark reminder as to how long & how often, as well as providing a big bold why. It can be what you are choosing to wash your hands with. Remember whether it be soaps or handwashes they can have chemicals & minerals in them causing dehydration. It could also be a combination with hard water in your area (see next point).
Some areas have hard water. Hard what? It’s a thing, sometimes the area where you live can have a higher concentration of minerals in the water which when in contact with your skin – zaps out the moisture (sorry if that was too technical .. lol). It just makes you feel super dry.
Your skin is a big reflection of how your body is working. A poor diet lacking in essential oils (THINK extra virgin olive oil, avocados, oil fish such as salmon or mackerel) can actually make the issue worse. It is kind of like moisturising from the inside out! Plus, you need to keep hydrated, so plenty of water but remember to keep the tea & coffee to a minimum.
This can be a huge problem. Honestly, cold & dry winter weather especially is not kind, to anyone’s skin.
Hmmm, so what to look for?
Essential Fatty Acids
Super good for the effects of extremely dry skin. My favs include avocado oil, hemp oil, argan oil or sweet almond oil. They help the skin retain its moisture levels.
It sounds a little science-y but basically it will help retain or preserve any moisture. Yup, it locks in the moisture..winning! Glycerine or glycol are both commonly used as humectants but beware too much can make the product feel sticky. Other commonly used humectants in hand creams are honey, aloe vera & wheat proteins.
This forms a physical barrier on top of the skin (to seal in moisture & prevent it from evaporating). Dimethicone a commonly used is a synthetic liquid plastic seal that helps with the skin’s barrier function. Personally, I like to look for beeswax as it fulfills this role but also acts as an emulsifier (stops the mix from separating).
I must admit when it comes to hand creams, I have no loyalties & rarely use the same brand twice in a row. There are so many considerations – the consistency you like, how it smells smell & does it absorb quickly? In winter, I like to use a thicker one at night (my current fav is Nina’s Bees), whilst watching TV or before I go to bed. It is handmade in the Blue Mountains, has lavender & patchouli in it with beeswax & olive oil, my hands love it. I would give you a pic, but I’ve just ordered some more! However, I will choose something different for through the day, and then summer is a whole other story.
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