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I know we’re now in March, but sadly, legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has let us know that we’ve still got six more weeks of winter left. I don’t know about you, but my hands and fingers are chapped beyond belief from this cold weather. To save you from the same fate, I’ll lay out some tips to keep your hands feeling amazing during these harsh winter months.

Wash your hands correctly.

Because of COVID-19, you’re hopefully washing your hands more than ever. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that there’s a correct and specific way to wash your hands. To keep your hands moisturized and feeling nourished, you should use either mild hand soap or moisturizing hand wash. When you’re washing your hands, you should also be using either cold or warm water. Extremely hot water dries out the skin more quickly, so lukewarm water is definitely the better bet. Similarly, using hand dryers for a prolonged period of time is bad for skin health. Opt to either air dry your hands or pat dry with a towel.

Moisturize your hands.

We’re also using a lot more hand sanitizer than before the pandemic. Since alcohol is a major part of traditional hand sanitizer, it’s important to moisturize your hands after sanitizing. Wait until your hands have completely soaked up the hand sanitizer before you moisturize.

Also, fun fact, hand sanitizer cream does exist! So if you use hand sanitizer frequently, using the cream version instead can moisturize your hands at the same time. This product is a double win!

Think about it — your hands are constantly exposed to freezing temperatures during the winter. It’s easy to forget to grab warm gloves when you leave home, which unfortunately leads to drier skin. Your hands tend to shed skin cells more often than other parts of your body, which means keeping them moisturized is extremely necessary.

The most effective time to moisturize is after bathing, exfoliating, dishwashing, and before going to bed. Just keep it next to your sink for easy access! If you really need some intensive moisturizing, you can do an overnight skin mask on your hands and wear cotton gloves to help retain the moisture.

Make sure to focus on those cuticles.

People cut their cuticles far too often; it’s important to think of cuticles as the nail’s root. When you cut them off, they can grow back jagged or extremely tough. There are other, more effective ways to properly take care of your cuticles. First, use cuticle oil or hand cream to keep them soft. You can also push them back using the correct tools occasionally, but don’t do it too often as you can harm your cuticles overtime.

Exfoliate your skin.

You can use a gentle hand exfoliant to remove your dull and dry skin. If you didn’t know, exfoliating is the process of rubbing away your dead skin cells to expose fresh skin cells underneath. It’s best to exfoliate your skin no more than two times a week; if you exfoliate your hands too frequently, you can irritate and easily destroy perfectly healthy skin. If you’re someone with sensitive skin or have open wounds or cuts on your hands, you shouldn’t exfoliate at the risk of causing harm.

Wear sunscreen.

Though it’s easy to forget about sunscreen during the winter, it’s important to consistently wear sunscreen all year because it helps protect your hands from premature aging. When you apply sunscreen to your hands, you should apply your moisturizer first. Apply every 90 minutes if you want it to be effective against sunburn — remember, you can burn your skin regardless of the season. 

Hopefully, you now know how to take better care of your hands during the winter and even the rest of the year. This article only highlights five different ways to help with hand care, so do your research and explore other options if you want more in–depth tips. 

Zoe is a Sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, she is majoring in Cinema and Media Studies as well as minoring in English and Russian Studies. She hails from London, England, and has loved being a part of HerCampus. She has a younger sister, and two Havanese dogs (both of whom she misses very much). When she is not studying, she is the Vice President of Penn Sirens (Penn’s Premier all-female acapella group), a performing member of the Musical Theatre and Light Opera Company ‘Penn Singers’, a mentor for ASAP (After School Arts Program), and was selected as a student liaison between the Annenberg center and the students involved in the arts on campus. Find her on Instagram @z.goldstein
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