I was tickling the ivories on my computer keyboard the other day (I l-o-v-e R-y-a-n G-o-s-l-i-n-g) when my eyes settled on a frightening sight.
Something — probably a combination of biting winds, indoor heaters and obsessive hand washing — had turned them into two chapped chunks of leathery turkey jerky.
“Tabs!” I screamed, reaching out to him for emotional support, but as soon as he took one look at my wretched paws, he hissed and ran away.
Okay, well, maybe not, but I think he did sort of cringe.
When the holidays get rolling and the tasks pile up, that’s usually when I forget to take care of my hands. This year, I’m giving my talons some extra TLC, because the last thing I want on New Year’s is to have hands like that guy on Tales from the Crypt.
Here are five handy (pun intended!) tips to soothe and protect your paws and keep them looking their best.
1. Grab your gloves!
No, not the lacy fingerless kind, a la Madonna (although those are cool, too). Wearing gloves, both indoors and out, helps protect them from the elements.
As long as you’re not allergic to latex, consider keeping a bag of disposable ones around to wear while preparing meals with acidic ingredients, and then to avoid detergents while doing the dishes, keep a pair of rubber gloves near the sink. You might even stash an extra pair to use while cleaning the house.
If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel like, say, Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive, driving gloves are a stylish way to protect your paws from the sun.
I also keep a pair of cotton gloves on my nightstand and slip them on after I put on hand cream before bed. I’ve mentioned this tip before, but it’s one of my faves. It’s a great way to hydrate your hands overnight.
I think I’m pretty good about remembering to exfoliate my face and body on a regular basis, but I always forget to exfoliate my hands. Why is that?
To jog my memory, I’ve been keeping an exfoliating scrub on my bathroom sink; if you happen to have an exfoliating face serum (for example, something with an active ingredient like AHA or BHA), you can also mix a couple of drops into your regular hand cream and apply that to your hands instead.
3. Turn down the heat
Washing hands with hot water can strip them of their natural oils, so try turning down the water to a lukewarm temp.
4. Go for the glycerin
Since soaps can be drying, look for a cleanser made with glycerin, which tends to be gentler on the skin. Also, don’t forget to rinse well (get in between those fingers, too!), as soap residue can irritate the skin.
5. Moisturize me!
After washing and drying hands, apply a hand cream with SPF (gotta protect those paws from the sun!) while they’re still slightly damp; it’ll help lock in moisture.
If you don’t like greasy hands (and who does?), opt for non-greasy lotions, like ones containing lanolin and/or glycerin, and you can also blot any excess product off your palms.
For more help handling the changing seasons, check out…
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,