Hands are a feminist issue.
No question. Remember all that noughties skewering of Madonna because hers looked decades older than her face? Seems unsisterly now.
But whatever your take on her Madgesty and her anti-ageing approach, we can all agree that there’s something depressing about dry, cracked hands.
And right about now, when the temperature dips and the heating flicks on, is when the irritation and inflammation start ramping up for me.
My own hand issues are predictable. Every winter, since moving to the countryside, I get chilblains (yes, that ailment you thought had died out with the Victorian era).
Rosie Green takes a multi-pronged approach to protecting her hands. She uses washing up gloves, wears battery-powered, heated gloves when outdoors and slathers on hand cream at bedtime
My already bony hands (a common affliction of runners, according to dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams) get parched, swollen and sore.
Last year I fared better by taking a multi-pronged approach – finally submitting to washing-up gloves, investing in battery-powered, heated Sealskinz gloves when outdoors and slathering on hand cream at bedtime.
But whether yours are seriously dry or just looking lacklustre, professional help is here: cosmetic doctor Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme shares her happy-hand tactics below.
Swerve the sanitiser
‘Sanitisers usually have a high alcohol content and are very drying on the skin, so choose washing over using sanitiser if possible. Don’t do both. When washing, wet hands before adding any soap to protect the skin and help reduce irritation.’
Use targeted ingredients
Sanitisers are drying, so wash hands instead
‘Ceramides are particularly important as they help to prevent moisture loss from the skin. Hyaluronic acid is also useful for hydration.
‘Niacinamide is another of my hero ingredients because it is an antioxidant. These help to neutralise free-radical damage that can occur from various chemicals used around the home.’
Moisturise to the max
‘Hand cream is king: after washing, apply it to prevent the skin drying out, and also apply regularly throughout the day.
‘When applying hand cream, ensure that you coat the front and back of each hand and pay particular attention to moisturising in between the fingers, as this is the area most likely to crack.’
Layer with lanolin
‘If you find your hands are already itchy, dry or peeling, use a barrier product, such as lanolin, and cover any areas of cracked skin before applying an intense repairing cream.’
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