Gardening can be tough on hands. Digging in the dirt, handling fertilizer and compost, working with plants that irritate the skin, and just being outdoors in the wind and sun causes a lot of damage and sucks the moisture right out of your skin. Then as winter arrives, you face even drier air and harsh weather conditions. But, since the garden is sleeping, this is a great time to focus on hand care so you can heal your skin and get those hands ready for spring.
Here are some tips on keeping your hands soft over winter:
Limit Hand Washing. Of course, washing your hands is important. This is especially true during cold and flu season, but it also strips your hands of moisture. Be mindful of what you touch to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. If you’re careful about touching door handles or your own face and mouth, you can get away with washing your hands less often. If at all possible, avoid hand sanitizers. These contain alcohol and are extremely drying.
Moisturize a Lot. Every time you do wash your hands, use moisturizer. The best time to moisturize is while your hands are still damp, as this will help lock some of the water into your skin. And throughout the day, use a moisturizer to keep your hands soft. Preventing extreme dryness and cracking is easier than trying to fix it after the fact.
Use a Solid Moisturizer. If you’ve never used a solid moisturizing product, you have been missing out! Water strips away moisture from your skin. Every time you wash your hands, you’re actually making them drier. Lotions and hand creams have water in them, and that means they also have preservatives. With a solid moisturizing bar, there is no need to add preservatives – it’s just pure concentrated goodness. You simply rub the bar on your skin. Your body’s warmth will gently heat it and you’ll get a soothing, protective layer of moisturizer and nutrients. With the right product, like Graham Gardens’ Gardener’s Hand Repair, it won’t even be greasy. It will just soak right in and leave you with soft skin, even on those rough, garden-worked hands (- and it’s great for use through the winter season too!).
Use a Humidifier. Air is very dry in the winter. The colder temperatures mean the air cannot hold onto moisture as well as it does in summer. You can improve the condition of your skin by adding moisture to the air in your home. Try using a humidifier inside the house, but also use one in your potting shed or other indoor gardening space.
Wear Gloves. Even if it’s not that cold out, protect your hands in the winter by keeping them covered. Every little bit of exposure to the dry winter air and the wind will strip out moisture and weaken your skin’s natural barrier. Cover up every time you go out, and if you are working in the garden over the winter, use the thickest gloves you can while still being able to work.
Even when you’re out of the garden, your hands can really take a beating from the elements. Use some of these tips to help restore them after a long summer of gardening and get them ready to do it all over again in the spring.