Along with the skin of the face, that of our hands is the most exposed to external agents, especially in these winter days, which can cause it to suffer a series of complications that manifest themselves in the form of dryness, irritation, and redness. ” The cold, the wind and the humidity favor the hands to dry easily and have a rough touch, being common that in winter the hands become irritated and turn red, and they can even experience, in the most extreme cases, the formation of chilblains”, explains the pharmacist Mar Sierra, alma mater of the cosmetic firm Sarah Becquer.
As Rocío Escalante, owner of Arbosana Farmacia, explains, the skin of the hands has some particular characteristics: we do not find that on the back it is very thin and fragile, it has few sebaceous glands, and having less fat, tends to dry out more easily, which also causes premature aging. Meanwhile, on the palms, the skin is thicker, but there are no sebaceous glands either, which also favors dehydration. And it also has sweat glands so some people may suffer from hyperhidrosis.
Items that can damage them
As we mentioned before, hands are always exposed to cold, sun, dry indoor air, water, soap, chemical products, now hydroalcoholic gels … A sum of factors can end up weakening your delicate skin. Rocío Escalante summarizes what, in her opinion, are the three factors that can most affect them:
– Touching aggressive soaps and irritating substances (which may be in detergents and chemical products) increases dryness and causes irritations, painful cracks, calluses… This is the main reason why it is always advisable to wear gloves.
– Wash them constantly also the dehydrated ones. Right now, due to the hand hygiene that we must have to avoid possible COVID-19 infections, we must choose soft soaps and hydrogels that respect the skin barrier.
– Cold and wind accelerate dehydration, just like heat and dry environments are caused by heating.
So you should take care of them
For this reason, with the help of the two pharmacists, we have compiled some tips to take care of the skin on your hands during these cold months and help you better cope with them.
- In the opinion of Mar Sierra, the most important thing, as you can imagine, is, as far as possible, that you use gloves to protect them from the cold. But in addition to this purely physical measure, it is essential to maintain an optimal level of hydration of the skin and its structure.
- To hydrate the skin, you must use highly moisturizing agents such as urea in hand creams, but you can also relipidize cell membranes by enriching these creams with vegetable oils that behave in a similar way to the lipids that exist in your skin. , will help it absorb them as if they were its own, and incorporate them into its cellular structure, helping it to strengthen its natural barrier or shield function more forcefully. The use of oils such as jojoba, or sweet almonds, will help you achieve this effect.
- When washing them, it is very important to avoid aggressive soaps and choose products with a pH similar to that of our skin (5.5), the so-called syndet (soap without soap).
- “If they have a very rough touch or are dry, not only because of the cold but because of the constant use we make of hydroalcoholic solutions to disinfect them, I recommend exfoliating your hands at least weekly,” says Mar Sierra. If you want to make your exfoliating mixture at home, you can use two tablespoons of almond oil or shea butter and mix with one of brown sugar. Apply this mixture to your hands and perform gentle massages. Subsequently, remove with warm water and rinse, subsequently applying your usual hand cream or oil.
- “Just as important as exfoliation, it is the deep hydration of the hands through a hydration mask that I also recommend at least once a week. You can apply a few drops of jojoba or argan oil to your usual cream and leave it to act for 5 minutes, subsequently removing the excess or purchase a specific ultra-hydrating mask for the hands”, comments Mar Sierra.
- As important as the hands, are the nails and maintaining good health of the same and good hydration of the cuticles can help you avoid the appearance of complications such as nails breaking, as well as helping your manicure last longer. Using oil to moisturize the cuticles regularly will help your nails to be healthier, stronger, and longer. Among the oils that we suggest are sweet almond, argan, castor, or any of the facial oils that you use, if you do not specifically have one of those that I have named.
- Rocío Escalante also recommends protecting them from the sun, which can cause spots, increase dehydration and accelerate their aging, as well as avoiding direct heat sources: very hot water, hot air dryers…