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Skin Care Tips for Dry & Aging Hands

Hand Care Guide

From dry, cracked skin to signs of aging, we reveal our top tips for healthier looking hands.

An effective hand care routine is essential for preventing dryness and irritation. While many of us make the effort to carry out a regular facial skincare routine, lots of us overlook the need to take specific steps to care for the skin on your hands. In many cases, people adopt a reactive approach to hand care - only using hand creams when suffering from redness, cracking or dry skin. This guide walks you through how to understand the skin on your hands better and adopt a more proactive approach to preventing common hand problems.


Why do I get dry hands?

The most common causes of dry, cracked hands are:

  1. Weather & the environment - Cold temperatures, wind, humidity and sun exposure are all known to affect your hands, not to mention exposure to air-born pollutants like those you'd encounter in a more congested city.
  2. Exposure to chemicals - Harsh soaps, sanitisers, disinfectants, household cleaners (e.g. dishwashing liquid) can all have a noticeable impact on the health of your hands. Washing up gloves are your friend!
  3. Lifestyle choices - As with all skin care - your diet, overall health, medication and whether you smoke are tied to how healthy your hands will look and feel.
Image of someone washing their hands. Overly washing hands can lead to dryness and irritation.

Common Hand & Nail Concerns

There are a number of issues and irritations that you can struggle with on your hands...

Dry & Cracked Skin

Dry skin, unsurprisingly occurs when your skin doesn't have enough moisture in it, so it starts to feel rough, flaky and begin to crack. This is most common in winter, when it's harder for your skin to retain its moisture.

Dry and cracked skin, when your skin feels rough, flaky and begin to crack

Eczema

Eczema refers to a number of different skin irritations, typified by flare-ups of reddened, itchy skin

Eczema actually refers to a number of different skin irritation conditions, typified by flare-ups of reddened, itchy skin. While not unique to your hands, across the knuckles and between the fingers are common eczema spots.

Brittle Nails

It's not just the skin that can benefit from improved hand care, as neglecting your hands can also lead to weakened and easily-breakable nails, or irritating 'skin-tabs' that occur down the side of your nails.

Brittle nails, weakened and easily breakable

Wrinkles & Age Spots

As we age, our hands get age spots, wrinkles and lose elasticity

As we age, our hands can show the signs. They lose elasticity and wrinkles appear. You may notice 'age spots' - small, dark areas of skin that are often associated with years of sun exposure.


6 Tips To Save Sore, Dry Hands

Looking for some simple steps you can take to protect and soothe your hands all year round? The following are our top 6 tips for preventing dry and irritated skin...

1. Use tepid rather than hot water to wash your hands

Hot water strips the hand of essential moisture. Make sure you use lukewarm water. This is a useful tip for your whole body as very hot baths and showers do the same.

2. Use a moisturising soap or hand wash

Look for products with shea, olive oil or aloe vera and avoid harsh synthetic chemicals. Soaps all work in the same way, and those with natural hydrators will prevent dehydration. And don’t forget to use a nail brush to clean under your nails too. Lots of us have one lurking in a bathroom cupboard – time to get it out!

3. Pat instead of rubbing your hands dry

After washing, gently pat your hands dry. Don’t rub them vigorously. Studies have found the most hygienic way is to use paper towels, but be gentle with them to save making your hands sore. Remember, whilst hand dryers can seem efficient, they can be the cause of increased skin irritation.

4. Moisturise your hands straight after washing

To prevent excessive dryness, and to lock in moisture, use a good quality hand cream straight after washing and frequently throughout the day. Have your own tube in your bag or pocket to minimise contamination from sharing with others. Keep a hand cream by your bed to give them a good coating before you go to sleep too – maybe treat yourself to a nightly hand massage to soothe and calm yourself before bed? The cream should be free from known irritants and contain ingredients to reinforce the skin barrier.

5. Try a weekly hand treatment

Don’t save your exfoliator and masque just for your face. You should give your hands a weekly treatment too. Exfoliate away dry skin to allow the moisturisers to work. You can also treat your hands to a hydrating masque. Smooth the masque on and place your hands in a small plastic bag, or even a large sock, whilst you let the active ingredients get to work. Your hands will emerge feeling super soft and any irritation will be calmed.

6. Wear gloves

Gloves are a must! Wear them for household chores, especially the washing up, or if working in the garden. They will save your hands from further wear and tear.

Dry, cracked fingers and hands, requiring regular hand care routine to soften and soothe

The Best Products for Dry Hands

Our specially formulated, luxurious hand and nail care products have all been designed to hydrate, nourish and protect against dry hands. Plus they're 100% vegan!

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ARK's body beautiful Intensive Hand & Nail Cream, formulated to soothe dry and cracked hands

"My hands get very sore and dry due to my job, I could definitely feel the difference after applying for the first time. Light, none greasy and smells lovely..."

- Customer Review, Intensive Hand & Nail Cream

ARK intensive hand & nail cream formulated with ingredients to target brown spots, hydrate and encourage strong nails

"This is so beautiful, so hydrating, and clears up my eczema flare-ups with no problem!"

- 'Boy Does Beauty' (Skincare Blogger) on the Vitality Hand & Body Wash

ARK Skincare's Vitality Hand & Body Wash, great for nourishing dry, cracked hands

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Read more from ARK Skincare

6 Tips to Save Dry & Sore Hands

Over-washed, sore hands? Our top tips will help…
 Hand washing has never been so important. However, over washing causes dryness and irritation leaving many suffering with soreness. Here we explain simple steps you can take to protect and soothe your hands.
But first, why are we having to wash our hands so much?
 person washing their hands in a teal sink under running waterARK Skincare Intensive Hand & Nail Cream
We find ourselves in unprecedented times, and all of our lives have suddenly changed. The first message we received as soon as word spread about the COVID-19 virus was to wash our hands. Washing hands is essential to stop the spread of the virus. The COVID-19 virus itself is covered in a layer of sticky molecules, which is how it so easily attaches to surfaces and clings to your hands. The good news is this sticky coating is made up of molecules that are also attracted to soap which can destroy it. Using soap breaks down the outer layer of the virus, allowing it to be dissolved by water, washed away, and destroyed.

When you wash your hands with soap and water, you surround any microorganisms on your skin with soap molecules. The hydrophobic tails of the free-floating soap molecules attempt to evade water; in the process, they wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of certain microbes and viruses, prying them apart. 

“They (the soap molecules) act like crowbars and destabilise the whole system.”

Professor Pall Thordarson, acting head of chemistry at the University of New South Wales.

More details on this can be found in this article from the Independent on Soap, Hand Washing & Covid-19. 

But what if hand washing facilities are not available? Can hand sanitizer gels help too? The answer is yes, if they are at least 60% alcohol based. The alcohol can effectively kill the virus but you need to fully coat your hands, so you need to use the gel liberally, and, let it dry naturally, to take effect. The problem with gels is that the alcohol, the very ingredient that makes them effective, is incredibly unkind to your skin. Skin soaked in alcohol will show the signs of dryness and cellular damage. Obviously this is preferable over the transmission of any Coronavirus, but it can lead to irritation and soreness, meaning hand washing with soap is always the preferred option, if you have the choice. You can learn more here.
 
 
Hand washing needs to be thorough to be effective (see more advice on this here) so it can unfortunately also lead to dry irritated hands. In extreme circumstances they may become so dry they become red, cracked and incredibly sore. It can even lead to conditions such as contact dermatitis. This is because excessive cleaning can strip away natural oils along with the dirt and germs.
SO what can we do when we have to be washing our hands but don’t want to suffer from the associated side effects? Here are our top tips:

1. Use tepid rather than hot water to wash your hands

Hot water strips the hand of essential moisture. Make sure you use lukewarm water. This is a top tip for your whole body as very hot baths and showers do the same.

2. Use a moisturising soap or hand wash

Look for products with shea, olive oil or aloe vera and avoid harsh synthetic chemicals. Soaps all work in the same way, and those with natural hydrators will prevent dehydration. You may like to try the ARK Skincare Body Beautiful Vitality Hand & Body Wash
And don’t forget to use a nail brush to clean under your nails too. Lots of us have one lurking in a bathroom cupboard – time to get it out!

3. Pat instead of rubbing your hands dry 

After washing, gently pat your hands dry. Don’t rub them vigorously. Studies have found the most hygienic way is to use paper towels, but be gentle with them to save making your hands sore. Remember, whilst hand dryers can seem efficient, they can be the cause of increased skin irritation. Read more about this here.

4. Moisturise your hands straight after washing 

To prevent excessive dryness, and to lock in moisture, use a good quality hand cream straight after washing and frequently throughout the day. Have your own tube in your bag or pocket to minimise contamination from sharing with others. Keep a hand cream by your bed to give them a good coating before you go to sleep too – maybe treat yourself to a nightly hand massage to soothe and calm yourself before bed?
The cream should be free from known irritants and contain ingredients to reinforce the skin barrier. Learn more about our award winning Hand Cream here

5. Try a weekly hand treatment

Don’t save your exfoliator and masque just for your face. You should give your hands a weekly treatment too. Exfoliate away dry skin to allow the moisturisers to work. You can also treat your hands to a hydrating masque. Smooth the masque on and place your hands in a small plastic bag, or even a large sock, whilst you let the active ingredients get to work. Your hands will emerge feeling super soft and any irritation will be calmed. Click through here to find out more about our exfoliator and masque products.

6. Wear gloves 

Gloves are a must! Wear them for household chores, especially the washing up, or if working in the garden. They will save your hands from further wear and tear.
 
 
 
In summary, effective hand washing, and good hand care, will be a lesson we have all learnt only too well by the end of this current pandemic. Moving forward our hands will continue to take the brunt of the battle against the transmission of viruses. Take steps to protect and nourish them now, and save yourself from the uncomfortable side effects which can occur.
 
To learn more about the battle against coronavirus and the latest government advise please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Shop ARK Skincare's Hand Care Collection HERE

 100% Vegan Friendly. Award Winning. Made in the UK. 

Flatlay of ARK Skincare handcare products, featuring Hand Lotion, Hand Wash and Hand Cream.