With the insane cold so many of us are experiencing, this has been a hot topic amongst my friends on Facebook, especially those in the medical community. With the flu season upon us (get your flu shot this year! It can’t make you sick, the virus is inactivated, and healthy, young people are dying) my friends and I are washing our hands before and after every patient and many times in between other things as well. Throw in this extreme cold, and it is a set up for super dry, cracked and sometimes even bleeding hands!
So, I thought that I’d share my favorite products to keep my hands moisturized and happy. The key is to restore moisture and help out your skin’s barrier function. I like to keep up with moisturizing throughout the day, and when I’m at home I’m sure to use a more gentle soap like soft soap. I know some people use Cetaphil to wash their hands at home as well.
1. Daily Moisturizers: First, my favorite hand creams. These are the ones I like to apply throughout the day, if I’m at work I keep one in my white coat pocket. At home I just keep it around the bathroom, though there is one in my bedside table as well. My favorite is the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, it is super hydrating and not greasy. Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream is my 2nd choice, which is great because it is so affordable but is definitely more on the greasy side. I apply only to the back of my hands if I can.
2. Moisturizing Oils! Seriously, these are my new secret for surviving the winter. An oil sounds like something you’d prefer to keep away from your skin, doesn’t it? Instead, these oils can do a great job of sealing in moisture and they can sink in quickly, leaving behind no greasy residue. I get the most bang out of these products when apply right after washing (for example, while still slightly damp from a shower or after washing my hands). For my hands, I like to apply a light layer after applying all of my skin care right before bed, and once it mostly sinks in, I go for #3….
3. Orly Cuticle Therapy Cream: Love this stuff! I like to use a thick, but not balm-like cuticle cream. After years of experimenting with products, this is my favorite. I use it on my cuticles before bed each night, but when I’m feeling dry or the weather is bad out, I apply generously to my entire hand. So, oil, then cuticle cream.
4. Cuticle Remover: As strange as it might seem, you need to keep working on those cuticles! If I’m not keeping up with the cuticle remover, I’m sure to get a big mess of hang nails and cuticle mess. It isn’t pretty. You should never cut your cuticles (especially in the winter, it’s a great set up for infection), so I use Cuticle Remover instead. This one is my favorite, 1-2x/week.
5. Extra Credit: Small appliances! First, you should already know that using a humidifier (I have this Crane Cool Mist Humidifier) is a must in the winter. If you have one attached to your heater that’s the best option. Otherwise a cool mist version in your bedroom is your best bet.
Second, it’s a bit of a splurge, but when things get painful I break out my paraffin bath. I have a HoMedics Paraffin Spa. It takes about 3 or 4 hours to heat up and melt, but I’ll do a few treatments about 30 minutes apart and it feels amazing.
What are your favorite winter skin products and tips?