Among the parts of the body that become really dry during winter are the hands. The skin on the back of the hands is thin and has few oil glands. The hands also come in contact with soaps and detergents daily, when we perform our washing chores.
These play havoc on the skin, making it rough and dry. This is more so in winter, when the skin loses moisture to the atmosphere. So, protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves for your washing chores. Surgical gloves are easily available at a chemist shop. Bath time is appropriate to pamper the hands and supply them with the oils and moisture they need. In fact, applying body lotions and creams soon after bathing, while the skin is still damp, helps to seal in moisture.
Here are some Home Remedies for the Hands
• Before your bath, apply oil on the hands and feet and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin. Sesame seed (til) oil can be used, or you can use olive oil. For extreme dryness, use pure almond oil. Warm the oil before use.
• A traditional home pre-bath treatment is to mix gram flour (besan) with curd (dahi) and a pinch of turmeric (haldi) into a paste. Apply the paste on the hands and feet. After 20 minutes, dampen with water and rub the paste gently on the skin and wash it off while bathing. Do this two or three times a week.
• For dry and dark hands, take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into hands. Wash off after 15 minutes. You can do this three times a week.
• For dryness of the hands and feet, add one teaspoon pure glycerin to 100 ml rose water. Apply on the hands and feet to relieve dryness.
• To soften the skin and lighten skin colour of hands, you can also take some sugar in your palm and add lemon juice. Rub this on the back of the hands and wash off.
• Put a cupful of warm milk in a bowl. Soak your hands in it for five minutes to strengthen nails and soften the skin.
• Take fresh orange peels, pierce them with a fork. Rub the peels on the hands to brighten the skin.
• For very dry hands and nails, mix together one tablespoon almond oil, one tablespoon sesame seed (til) oil, one teaspoon wheatgerm oil. Apply daily and massage it into the skin. Massage around the nails too, in order to soften the cuticles.
A luxury treatment for hands:
Take four teaspoon almond oil and mix one tablespoon rose water. Add half-teaspoon tincture benzoin, drop by drop. Mix together. Apply this on the hands. Wear loose cotton socks on the hands and leave on the preparation all night. Rinse off with plain water next morning.
A weekly manicure keeps nails in good condition. First remove old nail varnish. To cut nails, use a nail clipper. Then shape them with an emery board. File in one direction only.
Soak the hands in warm water for 5 minutes after adding a few drops of shampoo. Use a soft brush to clean nails.
Wash the hands. Then apply cream and massage nails and skin. Push cuticles back gently using a cotton bud. Keep them soft and smooth, otherwise, they stick to the nail and get dragged as the nail grows.
Avoid cutting cuticles or cleaning nails with sharp instruments. Use a cotton bud to clean under the nails. Then apply nail varnish, using 3 long, smooth strokes, from the base of the nails to the tip. Two coats of colour will be needed for an even finish.