Thursday, December 13, 2012

6 Ways to Heal Winter Dishpan Hands

My hands hate winter. The cold temperatures, windy weather, and germ-busting extra hand washing usually mean my hands, which are often already in danger from lots of cleaning, are even more fragile and susceptible to dryness, cracking, and chapping.

I am determined for this winter to be different. I researched a few natural ways to prevent and heal dry winter skin naturally. Here's my action plan:

Drink water.

I  <3 Tap Water! (& stock photos, ha ha!)

When you're dehydrated your skin is the first place your body skimps of water, in an effort of keep what's needed for more important organs. I've increased my water intake to a solid five pints a day. I did this by replacing the jam jar I had been using as my water glass with a pint glass. I also started keeping a Klean Kanteen bottle at work that I use strictly for water.


Raspberries and 80% dark chocolate: both sources of Vitamin C. (Image via Got Chocolate)

Julie Gabriel, author of Green Beauty Recipes, says, “A diet rich in magnesium, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, and beta-carotene naturally feeds your skin from inside and makes it less prone to dryness.” She recommends feeding your skin with a meal plan that includes dark chocolate, salmon and other fatty fish, oranges, mango, and carrots. (via 6 Natural Cures for Dry Skin)

Since there's no way I'm eating fish (#teamveg), I've been enjoying flaxseed oil (also packed with essential fatty acids) in my bowl of hot cereal every morning. (Update, December 2014: My naturopathic doctor also just recommended I take these high quality vegan Omega 3 supplements.)

Use a gentle soap.

I love Biggs & Featherbelle! Good ingredients = healthy, happy me!

Avoid washing your hands with harsh soaps or dish detergents. Antibacterial soap is the worst, so look out for Triclosan in the ingredients. Easy Immune Health reports, "The FDA, CDC, AMA, Health Canada and other governmental organizations have consistently stated that there is no benefit to handwashing with antibacterial soap to reduce illness in healthy people. At least one study has even shown that because of the drying and irritating effects of antibacterial soaps on the skin, the levels of harmful bacteria was increased in health care workers after numerous handwashings!"

Wear gloves.

Crushing on these fancy rubber gloves. (Image via maker MoonberryRain on Etsy)

I wear mittens whenever it's even just a little cold or windy. I also know I should be consistently wearing gloves when I hand wash dishes and clean. (This might be the hardest habit to take on!)


Gorgeous brown sugar scrub image via Vegan Beauty Review

It's important to remove dead skin for smoother feeling skin. featured a list of 10 DIY Winter Skincare Recipes. They share a recipe for homemade sugar scrub: two parts sugar, one part olive oil or coconut oil, and your favorite essential oils. Yum! This DIY Clementine Hand Scrub looks good too!


I'm nuts about Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Scott and Kendra at A Sonoma Garden share How to Make an Easy Winter Hand Salve. It's completely vegan (no beeswax) and uses just three simple ingredients: avocado oil, shea butter, and Vitamin E.

I hope to make my own salve soon, but in the meanwhile pure coconut oil has been a pretty sweet skin soother. I use it throughout the day, especially after washing. Before bed, after exfoliating, I apply lots to my hands and sleep in a pair of cotton gloves. (Pssst... Speaking of coconut oil, did you enter my coconut oil giveaway yet? It's going on now through 12/17/2012.)

Let's not forget that honey is an excellent moisturizer too!

Well, that's all I've got. What are your tricks for keeping your hands soft, smooth, and healthy this winter?

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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