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Getting Hand-sy

Hands washing skin care

How to best take care of your hands in a heavy-handwashing, and sanitiser-reliant global pandemic.

“The health of our hands isn’t the most important thing; it’s killing off the pathogens and making sure the hands are properly sanitised.”

James Vivain

While COVID-19 related restrictions have eased for most Australian states and territories, direction from our nation’s health authorities is to continue diligent hand hygiene. While hand washing, and the use of hand-sanitiser are extremely effective in warding off potential pathogens and viral infection control, it can be bloody rough on our fiver fingered friends.

I don’t know about you but my hands have never been put through such extensive washing, drying and contact with harsh chemicals, not to mention the toll of dry and cracking skin due to the arrival of winter.
It’s really taken a toll.

The protective layer of the skin, also known as the skin’s barrier, requires nourishment to heal and restore. In instances of an impacted skin barrier, nasty skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema may pop up if you’re predisposed to them.

The skin on our hands are just as important as the skin on our face, so what are some ways to keep our hands clean and healthy?

Our friends over at Broadsheet asked James for his tips and tricks on caring for our five-fingered friends in a time of ramped up handwashing and sanitising.

Take our hands..

If you’re experiencing textural changes in your hand’s skin like cracking, roughness and tightness, it’s very likely your hands are begging for some nourishment.
Hello hand cream.  
“When it comes to the richness of products, you might want to use a lotion throughout the day and then an ointment or balm at night,”
James explains. For super depleted skin, he recommends using a moisturising product that is richer, with higher fat or oil content.
Battling dehydration on our hands should also be approached with the same ideologies as the face. When choosing a hand wash or sanitiser, look for appropriate options that are not dehydrating.

Choosing the right wash and sanitiser 

Look out for hydrating-locking ingredients such as glycerine, aloe vera and natural oils. Try to steer clear of dehydrating nasties such as parabens, pegs, sulphates and artificial fragrance and colours.
When it comes to choosing a hand sanitiser, James recommends opting for one that is alcohol-based as they are proven to be less irritating on the skin.
If you haven’t already understood that we should be treating our hands with the same rituals and techniques as the skin on our face, return to the top and start this article again.

Yes! Exfoliate!

To further encourage penetration and efficiency of serums and moisturisers to the skin, we rely on the process of exfoliation. Removing dead skin cells will aid your hand creams to get in deep and do the good work.
“If you have a facial exfoliator, loofah, pumice stone or body exfoliant, take that to the hands every couple of days to pare back some of the dead, flaky skin.”
suggests James.
For those who prefer a chemical exfoliant, we recommend Body Therapy by PCA Skin ($105) .A 2-in-1 exfoliating moisturiser, the 12% lactic acid content within the lightweight formula activates the natural production of water and oils in the skin to enhance hydration and improve skin tone and texture.

‘Hand-cial’, the facial of the hand.

If you’re looking to really lock in some hand self-care, James implores you to apply a nourishing mask to your hands, just as you would do to the face. Don’t neglect the nail and cuticle area, they deserve some love too.
Some JV approved ones would be;
Aspect Probiotic Sleep Mask ($62)
Aspect Fruit Enzyme Mask ($62)

After you’ve washed off the mask, polish off the hand spa experience with the application of a balm or lotion, then pop some gloves on. For super soft replenished results, leave the gloves on overnight.  

Voila! Round of applause for happy, healthy, clean hands.
  

For the full Broadsheet article, see here.