Hands are so very important to our daily lives. Songs have been written about hands, one of the classic Beatle songs is 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' Energy healers believe that your hands can transfer their energy into the body of others to heal. Palm readers tell us that they can read your future from your hands and other people can tell the past by looking at your hands because of the scars, calluses, cracked knuckles, etc.
As we age, our skin tends to become dryer. Over 50 percent of older adults have dry skin. Given the importance of our hands, we need to make sure we are taking care of them, and one of the important ways to do that is to keep the skin hand on your hand healthy. Let’s first examine what causes dry hands.
There are many factors that can cause our hands to be dry. Most of them we can control or at least influence.
- Dry air-this can be inside or outside. We all know that cold and dry wind can cause our hands to dry out, especially if they aren’t covered, in the winter months. The other factor that can contribute is indoor heating. Indoor heat (central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces) can be very dry air and strip some of the moisture from our hands.
- Washing hands-for those people who are in industries like medical and hair care services, extra hand washing is part of the job. How often have we seen medical personnel wash their hands before they begin our exam or after they are done? Hairstylists hands are constantly exposed to water.
- Medical conditions-there are certain types of medical conditions that can cause dry hands. Some examples would include diabetes, psoriasis and an underactive thyroid gland. These medical conditions disrupt your skin’s normal protective mechanisms and can cause very dry hands.
- Cleaning ingredients and soap-over the last decade there is more and more focus on natural cleaning products, products that don’t affect the air quality of your home. However, some people still want the strongest ingredients possible to do the quickest, best cleaning possible and this will usually include harsh ingredients that are not good for your skin. Also, many shampoos and popular soaps we use on our bodies are formulated to remove oil to do the cleaning they do, but that strips the oil we need to keep our skin soft.
- Hot showers and baths-as we all learned in elementary school, oil and water don’t mix. However, if the water is hot enough, it can breakdown the oil, this is what happens when we take hot baths and shower. The hot water will strip away the natural oils on your hands that keep them soft.
- Medications-many medications have side effects and some popular acne medications, when using your hands to apply, can dry out your hands.
- Genes-some researchers claim that dry skin can be inherited. There is a protein that is used to form and hydrate your skin’s barrier, and sometimes there are gene mutations that affect the production of this protein.
So often skincare articles are about our faces, which is what other people see all day long, but our hands are what we see all day long. Keeping the skin on your hands healthy and beautiful is worth the effort.