How to Prevent and Treat Dry Hands and Nails in Winter
If you tend to associate words like “chipped”, “red”, “cracked” or “dry” with winter months, it’s a sign your hands and nails are not exactly looking their best and are aching for proper TLC. Asap.
Switching from cold outdoor temperatures to hot, dry indoor air surely does not help. It drastically reduces the moisture levels in your skin and nails, leading to severe dryness. Yes, nails also suffer in winter, as dry air tends to destroy keratin – the protein that helps them be flexible and look strong and healthy. Sigh. Ready for a weatherproofing plan, ladies?
The first step is prevention. It’s smart to start your intense moisturizing campaign well before your hands show any signs of dryness and your nails start chipping and splitting.
The rule of thumb is to apply hand moisturizer EVERY TIME after you wash your hands (dermatologist’s rule!), because frequent usage of water and ultra-lathery soaps can further dry skin and nails. And, since we’re talking about hand cleaning, please remember not to overuse alcohol-based hand sanitizers . They will wreak havoc on your pretty hands causing really dry skin and cracked nails.
The moisturizer you choose must contain emollients and humectants – the ingredients that do the trick when it comes to winter hands. Jojoba oil, squalene and lanolin are some of the emollients that you should look for on the ingredient list, while glycerine, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid are a few of the most important humectants that increase moisture levels.
If you are already dealing with bleeding and painful cracks, look for a more powerful moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly, or a cream with beeswax or Shea butter. Slather it on before going to bed and slip on cotton gloves to keep hands moist overnight. It will feel like a power nap.
Come winter, nails also need some extra pampering. And, because the delicate skin around them becomes ragged easily, you need to rub moisturizer into your cuticles, as well. Applying nail strengthener and massaging warm olive oil, or Vitamin E into your nails and cuticles every week is a great idea to fortify your nails. These treatments help banish hang nails, keeping cuticles perfectly hydrated on cold days.
If you have always had sensitive or very dry skin, or you are prone to suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or different allergies, you should stay away from products containing chemicals like perfumes and preservatives which can increase dryness and rashes.
Three words: prevention and constant moisturizing. This is the only recipe that guarantees sexy hands and healthy nails. Yes, even in winter!