Home improvement work or gardening tasks don’t come to a complete stop in the winter. While you may need to adjust some items on your to-do list, you’ll also want to keep the momentum and finish your projects. One personal area that will need extra attention this winter is your hands. Cold and dry weather can wreck your skin, and constant physical work can cause chronic physical problems. Here are six steps to protect your hands during the cold season.
- Stretch your hands, wrists, and arms. When doing repetitive tasks, such as painting, gardening, hammering and similar tasks, your muscles can become constricted and sore. Taking the time to stretch all related muscle groups will help lengthen the muscles, and keep hands pain free and flexible.
- Wash and sanitize. Your to-do list probably includes some messy, dirty tasks, so be sure to wash your hands frequently. While there have been recent questions about the safety and use of sanitizers, the key is making sure you’re washing your hands for at least 30 seconds to get rid of any lingering bacteria. In the winter, use warm water, rather than hot water, which can further dry your skin.
- Apply a soothing, moisturizing hand lotion. After drying your hands, protect the skin with lotions that soothe and nourish. Look for products without alcohol, which can strip natural skin oils. Use products with healing properties, such as coconut or other natural oils.
- Wear layers. Winter layering applies to your hands just like your winter wardrobe. First, wear cotton gloves, which helps your hands stay warm and helps lotion to moisturize your skin. Next, wear protective rubber gloves to protect your hands from cuts or bruises. You don’t want to wear only rubber gloves, as they can create a breeding ground for bacteria, but you want to protect yourself against harsh environments or rough work materials.
- Get a manicure. This may seem like a frivolous step, but getting a professional manicure can keep your nails and skin healthy. Your salon pro can make sure your nails are cut properly to prevent breaking or splitting. You can also try a shellac manicure which lasts two weeks, regardless of how much you use your hands. Many salons offer hand massages and lotion for overall pampering. Search Groupon Coupons for discounts at your local nail salons.
- Rest. While resting too much won’t get your home project or gardening work finished, you need to take regular breaks to make sure you aren’t hurting your hands over the long term. Over exertion and repetitive tasks can set your muscles up for chronic conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome. Set a clock to take breaks, if you must, but treat resting an important part of your hand care routine this winter.