Hand creams aren’t just for cosmetic reasons. You use your hands for, well, just about everything. So, it’s a good idea to take care of them. Dry, cracked skin can leave your body more vulnerable to infections and illness.
To protect your hands and have smooth, beautiful skin, this is your go-to guide for using hand creams.
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What you should look for in a hand cream
There are so many hand creams to choose from. And a lot of the time, we make our choices based on packaging, fragrance and how the cream feels. But it might be a good idea to change how you shop for hand creams.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. What’s more, it absorbs whatever you put on it. You can think of it as your body’s second stomach. Yes, your skin sort of eats the lotions and creams you put on it.
So, it’s a good idea to use hand creams that are full of good ingredients that protect the skin, and that don’t pose a threat to the other parts of your body.
The next time you shop for a hand cream, head straight to the ingredient list. This can help you find a hand cream that’s safe and worth buying.
Hand cream ingredients to avoid
The FDA doesn’t really regulate cosmetic products. That means manufacturers can use thousands of ingredients that are actually harmful. So, it’s up to you, as the consumer, to stay informed and avoid certain toxic ingredients.
Here are the top offenders:
Petroleum and chemicals derived from it are suspect ingredients. They pose a low to moderate risk to human health, so if possible, look for hand creams that use other oils. (We’ll get more into that below)
Parabens are used to discourage bacteria, yeast, and mold from growing. However, parabens have estrogen-mimicking properties – the same properties that have been associated with breast cancer.
The problem with “fragrance” is that it’s a broad term that can mean everything and anything. And according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), fragrances are a known immune system toxicant or allergen for humans.
Propylene glycol is a skin-conditioning chemical, but it can also irritate the skin and can lead to dermatitis.
These are only four nasty chemicals that many hand cream formulas contain. However, there are many others to look out for. And if you’re not sure if the ingredients in your hand cream are safe, you can visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
There, you can search up to 75,000 ingredients, and see their chemical structure, as well as the health benefits and/or risks associated with each one.
Ingredients to look for in your hand cream
So, now that we know that many hand creams contain toxic ingredients, it’s a good idea to talk about the ingredients you do want in your hand cream.
The following are top oils for hand creams:
- Sweet almond oil: rich in Vitamin A and suitable for sensitive skin types.
- Argan oil: loaded with Vitamin E, this is a natural moisturizer for the ultimate glow.
- Avocado oil: high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids to nourish skin and fight free radicals.
- Coconut oil: a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal oil.
- Flaxseed oil: helps to reduce inflammation and supports skin repair.
- Jojoba oil: rich in Vitamins A and E, this is a soothing oil for irritated skin.
- Olive oil: rich in anti-aging antioxidants.
- Shea butter: a natural moisturizer and anti-inflammatory. J.R. Watkins hand cream with shea and coconut butter is a great example of the capabilities of organic components like shea butter.
Along with these natural oils, look for these nourishing ingredients, too:
- Beeswax: a natural moisturizer that heals dry and cracked skin.
- Vitamin B: Helps skin stay hydrated, and creates soft, smooth skin.
- Vitamin C: Boosts collagen growth and is an anti-aging antioxidant.
- Vitamin E: Contains antioxidant properties to help fight aging.
- Honey: Rich in antioxidants for slower aging, and glowing skin.
- Essential oils: frankincense, lemon, and lavender help to reduce age spots and increase skin elasticity.
All of these ingredients are great additions to hand cream formulas, so try to find products that include these skin-friendly ingredients.
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How to use hand creams
This might seem like a silly thing to talk about. How to use your hand cream -you’ve got to be kidding, right? Not really. There’s one specific way to apply hand cream to get the most out of your product.
First, make sure your hands are washed and patted dry. Then, apply a small amount on the back of one hand. Then, press the back of your other hand on top. Rub the cream into the top of both hands before finishing off on the inside of your hands. Remember to moisturize the knuckle area, too.
Why is this the best way to apply the cream? Because if you start with your palms first, the product can easily absorb into only the palm area and leave less for the rest of your hand. Not only will your hands feel greasy, but you’ll end up using more cream than you actually need.
The best time to apply hand creams
If you suffer from dry hands, don’t be afraid to reapply as needed throughout the day. Otherwise, an optimal time to apply hand creams is after you shower. Your skin will absorb all the good oils best then.
Can you overdo it with hand creams?
Oily skin types may not require as much hand cream, so if that’s the case, you can either cut back on how frequently you use hand cream or switch to a water-based formula for something less oily.
Hand creams can also be a problem if they start to clog up your skin pores. This can lead to residue buildup and even breakouts. So, if you’re experiencing skin irritation, consider cutting back on your hand cream because it might be acerbating your skin, rather than helping it.
Hand creams are a must-have to keep your skin hydrated, smooth and protected all year long. Be sure to use safe and skin-friendly ingredients for optimal results!