If you’re reading this from the Northern Hemisphere, then there’s a good chance that wherever you are is cold. Here in New York the temps have been dropping, and we’re definitely entering glove and beanie territory. This is also the time of year when cuticles start to crack, and hands can feel like sandpaper – not cute. Below, our best advice for winter hand care, and surviving the winter with your hands in one piece.
Not just for keeping your hands warm, gloves are the best way to fight the effects of the drying air when you step outside. Cold weather, harsh winds, and dry air all cause hands to dry out and crack, so adding a layer of fleece/leather/cashmere between you and the outside world definitely helps. If you’re left gloveless, hopefully your jacket has pockets!
Rubber gloves should be an all-year-round accessory, but particularly in winter when the air is super dry and the water is super hot. When you’re washing up or doing housework, slip on a pair of rubber gloves to protect hands from the drying effect of water. Yes, you read that right – the drying effect of water. You put your hands in hot water, you dry them off, your hands are much drier than when you started. As an added bonus, rubber gloves will save your manicure from chipping or cracking.
Humidify The Air
If you have the heater on inside, then chances are the air in your home is drier than the sahara. Using a humidifier will not only help keep moisture in your skin; keeping your nose and throat moist will help ward off cold and flu germs that love a dry environment.
While the alcohol in hand sanitizer gels can be quite drying on the skin, if you are a frequent hand washer or someone who is around germs all day (hello, school teachers) then hand sanitiser is a better alternative to very drying effects of soap and water.
If your cuticles are dry and cracked, and regular moisturizer isn’t cutting it, add a cuticle oil to the mix. Cuticle oil not only contains the ingredients to repair damage, but to fight future damage. A little goes a long way, with ingredients like apricot and jojoba oil loading in the moisture, while citric acids help the oil absorb quickly so it gets to work straight away.
This is the most obvious and most important, so we saved the best for last. This is the time of year when you should have a tube of moisturizer stashed in your purse, in the glove box, on your desk, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and on the bedside table. Too much? Never!
There are two types of moisturizer ingredients – emollients and humectants. Humectants draw water from the environment into the skin, while emollients seal the water already in the skin, in. For the cold winter months when there isn’t much moisture in the air to be drawn in, you should be using the heavier, thicker emollient creams. These act as a lubricant on the skin; look for ingredients like lanolin, jojoba oil, and squalene. One of the favourites here at pedicure.com is an amazingly rich lanolin cream called Golden Ointment from Australian brand Lanolips. It isn’t available yet in the US, which is a real shame. Other drugstore favorites include Aveeno and Cetaphil. Humectant creams will have ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, urea, and lactic acid. Many moisturizers are a combination of humectant and emollient, but emollient ingredients are key for winter.