One hand washes the other

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Our hands connect us to the world. They’re an essential tool in our day-to-day lives. From texting to waving down a cab, our hands can get a lot done for us. We convey affection with a soothing touch or gentle hold. We shake hands to greet someone or close a business deal. You may express your feelings by talking with your hands (as I like to do) or clapping loudly at your child’s dance recital or soccer game. In connecting with the world, your hands, like your face, are usually front and centre.

And there's always something extra special about handmade crafts and products. We all love that added touch, that human element, that separates the handcrafted from the manufactured. This is why ensuring that all of my products are made by me, by my very own hands, is so important to our company and our customers.

In the course of a day, your hands are exposed to dirt, grime, germs, harsh ingredients, extreme temperatures, and sunlight. To add insult to injury, we are encouraged to wash our hands several times a day to reduce the spread of germs, which just adds to the harsh results of dry, cracked, and wrinkled skin.

Now that the weather is starting to get colder, you have probably already noticed that your hands are drying out more than usual. To keep your hands looking and feeling good throughout the coming winter (and the rest of the year), follow these daily steps:

    1. Keep your hands clean. Avoid harsh antibacterial soaps with synthetic surfactants, colours, and scents. Instead, use a gentle castile-type soap made from botanical oils that won’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Use warm (not hot!) water and gently dry by dabbing the skin.

    2. Exfoliate. Use simple products right from your kitchen like brown or white sugar and olive oil to create a gentle scrub. Brown sugar is softer than white sugar so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin. The soft granules will gently remove dead skin cells and leave fresh new cells while making skin softer and smoother in appearance. It also contains glycolic acid, which is an AHA derived from sugar cane that acts as an enzymatic exfoliant. Glycolic acid helps to diminish the bonds that hold dead cells to the skin, thereby reducing age spots and sun damage.

    Olive oil is high in antioxidants like vitamin E and A, which help to relieve dry, itchy, or inflamed skin by forming a protective barrier that traps in moisture. It’s a gentle yet deeply absorbing moisturizer and softener, and is used to restore and retain hair and skin health and youthfulness. Blended together, sugar and olive oil make an easy yet effective moisturizing exfoliant. Combine 2 tablespoons of organic olive (or even coconut) oil with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and mix together to form a paste. Gently rub your hands together, focusing on the tops, then rinse with warm water and dab dry.

    3. Moisturize. Immediately after cleansing and exfoliating, apply a moisturizing balm made from nourishing waxes or butters to create a hydrating barrier on the skin and keep the moisture in. Apply while skin is damp for optimal hydration and penetration.

    4. Protect. The tops of our hands, where the skin is thin, can show signs of damage and aging first. To help reduce lines, sun/age spots, and skin cancer, protect your hands from daily exposure by applying a natural mineral type sunscreen that contains zinc oxide. Always wear appropriate gloves when gardening or washing dishes to eliminate roughness and dryness.

    You can also use a weekly treatment to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sun damage, and dry or cracked skin. Here’s another simple DIY recipe using natural ingredients from your kitchen. Use organic wherever possible: Combine 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice in a small mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of plain, whole yogurt and stir to combine into a thick creamy consistency. Gently massage the mixture into your age spots and allow it to remain for at least 10 to 15 minutes, or until dry. For best results, do not rinse. (Diane Irons recommends performing this treatment in her book, The World’s Best Kept Beauty Secrets.)

    And every so often, go treat yourself to a manicure! Your hands will thank you.