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You use your hands for almost everything you do, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night. They're exposed to the elements, constant washing and a vast array of activities. Add extreme hot or cold weather to the mix, and you're likely to have parched hands. Take a few extra precautions to protect your hands and treat them to some TLC throughout the day to help them heal and become as smooth and soft as they used to be. If the problem doesn't improve, consult your doctor.
Moisturize your hands every time you wash your face—in the morning and at night before you go to bed. Keep moisturizing lotion beside every sink where you wash your hands and make a habit of using it. Joseph Bark, M.D., a dermatologist from Lexington, Kentucky, recommends doubling up on the lotion. After you wash your hands, smooth a small amount of lotion over your hands. Wait a few minutes for it to absorb, and then apply more.
When the air is dry, it pulls moisture from the skin. Place a humidifier in the area where you spend most of your time to prevent this from happening. If you have a two-story house, use a humidifier on both levels.
Cocoa and Shea Butter Balm
Combine 1 cup of cocoa butter, 1 cup of shea butter, 1/2 cup of jojoba oil and 1/4 cup of beeswax in a double boiler or large, oven-safe container. Heat on a low temperature until all of the ingredients have melted. Stir well. Pour the mixture into jars. After the mixture is cool, put lids on the jars. After washing your hands or when your hands feel dry, coat them with the balm.
If your hands are dry and rough, combine 1/4 cup of cornmeal with 1 tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar. Rub the paste over your dry hands for approximately 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. After you dry your hands, apply any moisturizer. This may help prevent the skin on your hands from cracking and bleeding.
Evening Primrose Oil
MayoClinic.com recommends trying evening primrose oil, which you can find over the counter 2. It can help restore the levels of fatty acids needed to keep your skin soft and smooth.
According to the website Tipnut, you may find relief from products you're likely to have on hand. Rub a small amount of plain shortening, mineral oil, baby oil, olive oil or petroleum jelly over your hands as you would a lotion for relief. These items don't have the perfumes or chemicals that are likely to be found in hand lotions and creams.
Get a pair of plain-white cotton gloves, advises Diana Bihova, M.D., an instructor at the New York University School of Medicine. After moisturizing your hands at night, slip your hands into the gloves to protect them. When you read the newspaper or do anything else that creates friction with your hands, put on the gloves.
- hands in hands against sky, friendship concept image by JoLin from Fotolia.com