How To Deal With Dry, Cracked Hands
They’re one of the hardest-working parts of your body, yet all too often neglected. Yes, we’re talking about your hands here.
It’s almost impossible to name an everyday activity where your hands aren’t in motion, to some degree. From eating to texting to opening doors, they’re very rarely at rest. “Hands are what we use to interact with the world, explains Dr. Terrance Keaney, a dermatologist and the founder of W for Men, the world’s first clinical practice dedicated to male dermatology. “They are exposed daily to water, bacteria, viruses, dust, dirt, and other potential irritants.”
And while many of you associate dry, chapped, overworked hands with the cooler temps of fall and winter, think again. “In the summer, we expose them to so many more outdoor activities,“ says Dr. Robert Anolik, a dermatologist and associate of the famed Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. “Mountain biking, surfing, and rock climbing may do wonders for the body and soul, but make the hands suffer.”
But here’s the reality: keeping your hands, like the rest of your body, in good health isn’t that hard. You just need to be mindful of a few things, and a pay little more attention to what you’re doing with them and how you’re caring for them. Because, and as Keaney says, “preventing dry hands is a lot easier than correcting dry hands.”
Here, Keaney and Anolik reveal their expert tips on keeping your hands in the best shape possible.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re absolute advocates of cleanliness, but there is such a thing as washing too much, especially when it comes to your hands. “Soap is effective at removing dirt and bacteria, but it also strips the skin of its natural oils and lipids, increasing the risk of dryness,” explains Keaney. He recommends that most guys limit their hand washing to about five times a day.
While that hot, steamy water may feel relaxing and make you feel like you’re getting a more thorough clean, it can do more harm than good. In fact, washing repeatedly with hot water can worsen dry, cracked hands, according to Anolik. Instead, opt for lukewarm water and be sure to rinse thoroughly, to remove all traces of cleanser.
Ditch The Soap
Anolik say to steer clear of true soaps, which have a pH of between 9 and 10. This causes skin alkalization, which breaks down the natural skin barrier. He recommends “syndet” cleansers, which have pH values closer to neutral. The trick is to look for a product that uses the word “cleanser,” instead of “soap.” C.O. Bigelow makes a terrific, moisturizing version.
Hydration Is Key
“Hands lack sebaceous glands, which can contribute to an increase in trans-epidermal water loss,” explains Keaney. In layman’s terms: because hands can’t produce moisture on their own (unlike the skin of your face), applying moisturizers is especially key to hand health. Keaney recommends moisturizing early and often with lightweight, non-greasy creams like Baxter of California’s Hand and Body Moisturizer. And if your hands are in especially gnarly shape, enlist a more heavy-duty treatment like Eucerin’s Intense Repair.
Source by askmen