The gym, dishes, housework, DIY projects… daily life puts your hands to the test. Follow this game plan to deal with common problems.
DRY OR CHAPPED HANDS
About this condition… Unlike dehydrated skin, which lacks water, dry skin needs protective oils (lipids)–it can feel tight, itchy and can occasionally peel. Exposure to external aggressors can make your skin fragile to the point of losing flexibility, cracking and becoming rough, red and painful. Ouch!
What to do: give your hands an intensive nourishing cure. When you wake up, at bedtime and after each wash, coat your hands with an ultra-rich cream, massaging it in carefully (including between the fingers!) to encourage deep moisturizing. Repeat this daily until your skin returns to normal.
To prevent recurrence and reduce the risk of chapped skin:
- wash your hands with warm rather than hot water;
- use a mild soap;
- wear gloves when using chemicals or cleaners;
- always keep a tube of moisturizer with you.
CORNS OR CALLUSES
About this condition… You get calluses when your skin is subjected to repeated friction like when you frequently handle weights at the gym, a rake, a mop, etc. To protect itself, your skin creates a hard barrier with a thick layer of dead cells.
What you can do: When you step out of the shower or bath, gently use a pumice stone on your calluses, which have been softened by the heat of the water. Avoid rubbing too much, however, because you could actually damage the healthy skin surrounding the callus. In fact, it’s better to remove a thin layer every day than try to remove the callus all at once. You need patience and diligence to get rid of calluses!
About this condition… Hand sweat is a natural phenomenon that helps regulate your body temperature. However, it can become pathological if the sweating on your hands is excessive and recurring. No matter what the cause or precipitating factors–physical exertion, stress or diet, sweaty hands can be unpleasant and embarrassing.
What you can do: Apply an antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride to the palms of your hands, just like you would to your armpits. You can also keep a small box of talc with you and sprinkle a little on your hands when needed, like before a stressful presentation, an interview, etc.
About this condition… Like your skin, your nails react to everyday aggressors: they can become dry, yellow, brittle or split. It’s not just a question of aesthetics–they can become painful and even get infected.
What you can do: To make your nails healthy again, make sure you:
- eat a diet rich in vitamin B, zinc and calcium; fill up on nuts, greens, legumes, whole grains and dairy products;
- avoid biting your nails;
- cut them frequently—nails, just like your hair, need to be trimmed regularly to stay healthy;
- wear gloves during manual labour (washing the dishes, handling chemicals, a DIY project, etc.);
- apply a nail-repair product for a few weeks.