Frequent hand washing and freezing temperatures this season wreak havoc on exposed skin. Know your winter moisturizing regimen like the back of your hand with these skin care tips.
It’s one of winter’s trickiest beauty challenges—keeping hands soft and smooth during the year’s coldest months. The lack of humidity and our exposure to indoor heating—which sucks moisture out of the air— leaves our hands prone to becoming dry, chapped, itchy and flaky. Or worse. “It can get to a point where skin is really unsightly: red, scaly, itchy,” explains dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen of Toronto’s Rosedale Dermatology Centre. If Madonna’s recent predilection for wearing gloves indoors doesn't appeal to you, read on. We asked Cohen to share his top tips for winter hand TLC.
Skin care tip: Bringing moisture back
“For people who are prone to dryness, the way they wash their hands is important,” says Cohen. Cramped office quarters bring closer contact with colleagues—great for producing body heat, not so much for preventing the spread of germs. After direct contact with door handles and subway tokens, Cohen recommends washing with a mild soap or creamy hand wash instead of alcohol-based sanitizers, which can further dry out skin.
Skin care tip: Heat warning
Avoid soaking frosty fingers in hot water when washing, “It’ll dry out your hands even more,” says Cohen. And immediately follow up with a moisturizer while hands are still damp. “Exposure to the wind and cold can really dry out the skin, like it does on your face, so you definitely want to protect your hands as much as you can.”
Skin care tip: Build a barrier
Use a cream specifically designed for hands. “They’re usually thicker than regular body lotions or creams so they’re slightly more resilient to repeated hand washings,” says Cohen, adding that choosing the right cream is critical to sealing in moisture in wind-chapped hands. Go for texture: Ingredients like Petrolatum and Shea butter tend to be the thicker components of moisturizers and better ensure long-lasting protection.
“Hands age pretty quickly,” says Cohen. Just as SPF-enriched creams shield the face and body from harmful UVA/UVB rays, you can protect your hands from sunspots and other irregularities by moisturizing on both sunny and cloudy days.
Cohen recommends hand moisturizers like Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Formula and Cetaphil Therapeutic Hand Cream. Opt for pocket size and toss them in your bag for easy access and apply often and generously throughout the day.
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Want to find the solution to dry hands this winter? Check out more of our winter skin care tips on the next page...