Soap, water, and hand sanitizer have been our best friends for the last few months. As we’ve heard repeatedly, to keep your hands clean is to keep yourself and the community safe. Clean hands are a key practice that can slow down the rate of a pandemic and limit the number of infections. One of the byproducts of constant hand washing is dryness and potential damage to your skin. The good news is that there are handy convenient products that you can use to alleviate some of these effects. We’ve come up with a list of tips and ingredients to look out for when you’re selecting hand products that are suitable for your skin.
Let’s talk soap! We have our ancestors to thank for the discovery of soap which has changed history, creating the most effective defense product against harmful pathogens. We also have to thank Aboriginal Australians who’ve been using a tea tree oil aka melaleuca extract as an antimicrobial compound, meaning it can kill bacteria, fungi, viruses, and microorganisms. Back in the day, they used tea tree leaves as a remedy to treat wounds which was later used by Western medical practices. The best part of using tea tree oil is that it’s natural, gentle on the skin yet effective, fighting against unwanted germs.
Lush and The Body Shop both offer tea tree oil-based hand wash products. Lush’s Parsley Porridge Soap comes in bar form, made with parsley, thyme, tea tree oil, aloe gel, and oatmeal. The antibacterial tea tree infusion combined with the oatmeal acts as a mild exfoliant yet is soothing and anti-inflammatory.
Keep your hands smooth and soft by exfoliating from time to time. Good riddance to dead skin cells, and welcome beautiful, newly generated skin cells, soft hands. A key to choosing an exfoliant is to ensure you avoid any products that are overly abrasive and damaging. Always start with something mild such as Aesop’s Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash, a fan favorite, formulated with herbal extracts and finely-ground pumice stones which help exfoliate, cleanse, and moisturize hands while leaving an earthy fragrance with bergamot, and bitter orange leaf.
We hear about shea butter all the time, but why are we so obsessed with it? Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from kernels of African shea trees. It contains something called “ester resins” which helps repair and reduce the absorption of harmful UV rays. It’s fast-absorbing which makes it an excellent emollient for dry skin and is often used for treating eczema, rashes, inflamed skin, and more.
If your hands are screaming for attention, Clarins’s Hand and Nail Treatment Cream offers an intensive hydration that is described as “an invisible glove of nourishment” made with soothing shea, sesame oil and Japanese mulberry. This glove also acts as a shield from environmental and daily damage while comforting chapped, irritated skin. Sisley’s Restorative Hand Cream is another shea-based option which also contains sweet almond oil and pro-vitamin B5 to soften cuticles and strengthen nails.
For those with sensitive skin, ACCA KAPPA’s White Moss Moisturizing Hand Cream is free of parabens, petrolates, PEGs, Silicones, and GMOs. Made with natural ingredients such as magnolia, blackberry, and violet extracts, this fast-absorbing cream is tender yet protects, soothes, and provides long-lasting hydration without feeling greasy.
Luxury fragrance brands may often be overlooked when it comes to skin products, but they put just as much thought and care into their hand creams as they do creating innovative scents. In fact, diptyque’s Luxurious Hand Balm and Atelier Cologne’s Hand Cream Collection both contain apricot kernel oil and almonds which have a high concentration of vitamin E. Not only does vitamin E penetrate the skin quickly, it can help cellular restoration from sun damage to healing support for scars or burns. Both creams provide rich hydration for dry or sensitive skin.
Take a look at your hands. If you’re starting to notice fine lines, rough skin, or discoloration, plant extracts such as licorice and lotus flower extracts are here to help with tightening, and alleviate discoloration. To reduce the appearance of wrinkles, go for a refining cream with anti-aging properties such as The history of Whoo’s Gongjinhyang Royal Hand Cream. It offers an intensive nourishing solution leaving hands noticeably softer and smoother.
Your hands need attention now more than ever. Remember rule #1 and actively keep your hands clean to avoid the possibility of spreading germs. We’re in this together so let’s all do our part in keeping our community as germ-free as possible!