Winter is hard on your hands. Hands that are smooth, supple and soft in January, become red, chapped, and rough by May.
The main culprit? Lack of moisture.
During winter, the humidity in the outside air plunges. Inside, things are even drier, thanks to indoor heating. If you’re washing your hands frequently to avoid catching a cold or the flu, you could sap whatever natural oils are left in your skin.That can leave your hands so dehydrated that they crack, peel, and bleed.
People visit our Specialist Skin Center complaining of dry chapped hands and feet and are desperately looking for a solution. It’s a simple one to fix as we simply need a combination of a therapeutic hand and foot treatments that focus on removing the excessive dry skin and then repairing the barrier function of the skin to allow the skin to protect itself.
Strong or Weak Barrier?
“How well your hands can withstand winter’s harsh conditions has a lot to do with the strength of our skin barrier”, says Ayesha Kajee , Expert Skin and Body Therapist at M.E.G : The Skin and Body Experts.
The skin barrier is a mix of proteins, lipids, and oils. It protects your skin, and how good a job it does is mostly about your genes and largely due to the environmental factors (harsh winds, fragranced body lotions, drop in humidity, indoor heaters , excessive washing with harsh soaps) that we are exposed to. If you have a weak barrier, you’re more prone to symptoms of sensitive skin, such as itching, inflammation, and eczema. Your hands are also more likely to become very dry in winter.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
To treat parched, scaly hands, you need to replace the moisture that your thirsty skin is missing. Drinking water, will not do that!
“It’s the moisturiser you apply directly to your skin that is going to act like a ‘lid on a pot’ and prevent your skin from loosing any further moisture and also prevent unnecessary ingredients penetrating it too. Think of it as a form of the skins own ‘passport control’. Start moisturizing before there’s a problem. The best prevention is to begin using a moisturizer before your hands show signs of dryness” ,says Ayesha Kajee
Here’s what to do:
1) Apply a fragrance free moisturiser to your hands 5-6 times a day, especially after bathing or washing hands during the day.
2) Try Dermalogica’s “Multivitamin Hand and Nail” treatment. Its packed with oils, Skin moisturisers and Powerful Multivitamins to repair and heal the skin.
3) The Body Shops “Hemp” hand and nail treatment we have found to be very effective.
4) Keep a tub of your favourite cream /body butter on your bed stand and reapply to your hands and feet before climbing into bed. Pop a pair of socks on to help penetrate the cream into your feet.
5) If you exercise , its worth your while to put a little cream on the chapped areas on your feet before slipping the into your trainers. The heat build up whilst exercise will create a deeply penetrating effect.
6) Do not neglect the cuticles as they need as much attention as the hands and feet. A drop of Olive oil onto the area and gently massage it in, will rescue them in no time at all.
7) Book yourself in for a very thorough MEG Full House Hand or Foot treatment. Its 60 min of seriously therapeutic work on all those problem areas, that will leave your hands feeling like new!