We are in the midst of a doozy of a flu season! One of the most repeated pieces of advice during this time is “Wash Your Hands!” Your hands are likely the main culprit when it comes to picking up germs.  But we can’t simply hide them away! Your hands are a big part of first impressions. You shake hands when you meet someone for the first time and when you greet friends. Your hands express your affection to those you love.

In the course of a day, your hands are exposed to a storm of germs, dirt, harsh substances, sunlight and more. To make matters worse, the frequent washing that’s recommended to keep your hands clean (and you healthy) also can keep them dry, cracked and wrinkled. Healthy skin is a vital barrier against germs and infection, so dry cracked hands are like an open door for trouble.  Here are some tips for keeping them in good shape:

Avoid hot water and go easy on the antibacterial soaps: With flu season in full swing the temptation is to overdo antibacterial soaps.  However, according to the CDC, antibacterial soaps are no better at ridding you hands of disease causing germs than regular soap. They also kill good bacteria on your hands and encourage bad bacteria that resist antibiotics. Wash hands thoroughly, with enough contact time with the soap,  but don’t use hot water to wash your hands, use tepid or cool water, rinse hands well and dry by patting or blotting gently. Don’t rub.

Pamper your hands: Treat rough skin with a homemade oil and sugar scrub. Mix together ¼ teaspoon each sugar (brown or white) and olive or coconut oil and massage into the backs of hands once a week. These oils are a wonderful source of moisturizing omega-3 fatty acids, and the sugar buffs away rough patches.

Sun protection: To help prevent lines, spots, and most importantly, skin cancer, use a daily hand cream with at least SPF 25. In addition, when outdoors don’t forget the backs of your hands when applying sunscreen. (Pigmentation spots appear up after overexposure to UV light. These spots, which look like freckles, were once thought to be caused by liver dysfunction, earning the name “liver spots.”)

Seal in the moisture: Smooth on lotion after washing hands at night to take advantage of the moisture. Many lotions are water based, but try a cream for night time care. Creams are thicker and longer-lasting than lotions. Most creams are water-based, but folks with extremely dry skin may want to use an oil-based cream. Oil will hold water inside your skin longer.

At Privy Skin Care, we treat all your skin, not just your face! For questions, or to book an appointment, call us at 702.496.2066, or visit www.privyskincare.