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Without question, our digit-wielding hands and feet are tireless workhorses for our entire body. Whether stomping to work, tucking into lunch, giving that all-important presentation, or dragging you through a mid-week workout, your digits are pretty much always on job. Hell, they’re even the limbs, double-handedly taking task to look after the rest of our skin and its many complaints.
So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn our extremities take a bit of battering and the skin can become tough with constant use. Caring for our hands and feet is just as important as caring for everything else.
Signs you might need to take more care of your hands and tootsies include dry skin, brittle nails, age spots, flaking or itching and abnormal sweating. However, even without these symptoms, it’s makes great sense to introduce a regular hand and foot routine anyway.
Here’s a few things to consider.
#1 Avoid harsh soaps
Let’s face it, Covid-19 hasn’t done us any favours on this one. Becoming obsessed with washing our hands, and/or piling on stacks of skin-drying hand sanitisers, has emphasised the likelihood of brittle nails and flakey skin for many. Although it’s important to keep washing your hands throughout the day, excessive hand washing can cause your hands to become sensitive and dry due to the natural oils and moisture being stripped. Steer clear of harsh soaps laden with chemicals as this will add insult to injury.
#2 The elements
Pay attention as the weather, temperature or humidity changes. Cold weather can be a factor in hands becoming extremely dry and cracking. It usually occurs when the weather is cooler, as the air becomes dryer which causes our body to hold onto less moisture. So, watch out if you’re travelling. Travel-sized hand creams and treatments are readily available today and make it easy to keep a good product on hand at all times. All you have to do is remember to use it!
#3 Workplace battles
And we don’t mean with colleagues! Many professions require frequent hand washing, have more exposure to harsh surfaces or simply just mean the use of your hands more often than others. Those working with chemicals may also develop irritations to the skin. Wear gloves if/when you can and be sure to moisturise before bed each night. This will allow your hands to “catch up” on some much-needed repair overnight.
#4 Massage and moisturise
These stages are often talked about separately, but frankly, we’re busy, so we’ve thrown them into one movement. We’re not going to insult your intelligence, it’s pretty self-explanatory, grab a decent moisturiser or hand cream, pop a blob on each finger or toe and massage from tips to the base of your palm/heel, taking in your ankles and wrists if you have time.
#5 Protect from sun exposure
Hands and feet are covered in exactly the same skin as the rest of our bodies, yet they also seem to be the parts we don’t pay as much attention to when we slap on the sun cream. What are we thinking? We’re not, clearly. Hands especially are exposed to the sun 365 days of the year, even when the clouds are covering super strong rays. Making sure they are protected from UVA and UVB rays is just as important and should be something we’re all doing as part of our normal, everyday routine. You know the drill, get to it folks!
#6 Turn down the heat
High water temperatures may dehydrate the skin on your feet and hands, causing further dryness.
Our quick, self-care guide
Treat yourself to a weekly hand and foot treatment and encourage the moisture back into your best friends.
1. First up, wash your hands and feet with a natural, moisturising soap-free cleanser or wash.
2. A pumice foot scrub or exfoliating hand scrub, will get to work on even the toughest palms and soles.
3. Try and allow for enough time to soak your hands and feet in order to soften any dry, hard or cracked skin while gently cleansing to smoothen and freshen.
4. Next up, cover your feet and hands in a soothing balm or mask and allow to work its magic for around 15-minutes.
5. For an intensive treatment, apply a layer of thick moisturiser before bed, then slip your feet into a pair of socks, or hands into some gloves, and allow it to soak in overnight.
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