How to Care for Your Hands and Nails in the Winter
Winter sees a drop in temperatures and a rise in dry skin. The exposed skin on your neck, face and even your eyelids are all subject to flaking from the frigid cold and therefore, we up our skin-care routine in an attempt to combat the issue. But other areas of your body can be affected by winter, like your hands and nails, and they need just as much special attention. To make sure you’re giving your nails and hands the proper care they need during the winter months, we’ve put together five simple steps that you can follow, ahead.
A Winter Nail and Hand-Care Routine
Just like the skin on other areas of your body, the skin on your hands can dry out and crack during the cold weather that comes with winter. To avoid that, try following a few (or all) of the below steps to make sure your nails and hands are thoroughly moisturized and protected.
Step #1: Wear Protective Clothing
Wearing protective clothing, such as gloves or mittens, can help prevent the skin on your hands from drying out as a result of exposure to environmental conditions. But that doesn’t just stop with your hands —don’t forget your toes. One of the best ways to take care of toenails year-round is by the wearing proper shoes. In general, if your shoes are too tight, it can have negative consequences for your toenails.
Step #2: Moisturize
Your nails run the risk of becoming brittle when they dry out. To avoid this, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests applying petroleum jelly while they’re damp in order to rehydrate them. For your hands, a thick skin salve should do the trick. Many hand lotions can also be rubbed into your nails, accomplishing two tasks at once.
Step #3: Don’t Over-Wash
Over-washing your hands (or any skin on your body, for that matter) can be drying. Tiny bacteria called microbiomes populate our skin in a symbiotic manner and benefit our skin health. According to board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Whitney Bowe, over-cleansing the skin can harm these bugs. “Any time that your skin feels really tight and dry and squeaky clean after cleansing, it probably means that you’re killing off some of your good bugs.” Keep hand-washing to an appropriate amount in order to keep only the harmful bacteria at bay.
Step #4: Avoid Harsh Substances
Reading the packaging on skin-care products is incredibly important. Otherwise, you may unknowingly be putting harsh irritants on your skin. Check product labels for words such as “parabens” or “alcohol,” which could cause damage to your fragile winter skin. Stick with gentle products that won’t dry skin out further. For nails, limit the use of your polish remover and take care that it's acetone-free.
Step #5: Use the Right Ingredients
Subzero temperatures call for the best of the best moisturizing ingredients.To ensure the skin on your hands and nails remains soft and strong throughout the winter, look for ingredients that help restore your skin’s natural barrier. Formulas containing ceramides — a lipid compound — always hit the moisturizing mark.
Photos: Chaunte Vaughn