5 Tips for Winter Hand and Foot Care

Tara O'Keeffe, pharmacist and founder of skincare manufacturer O'Keeffe's Company, says, "Each year, when the temperature and humidity drop, skin becomes easily susceptible to dryness and irritation. The hands and feet become particularly vulnerable, since they're often directly exposed to the elements."

Here are some tips from O'Keeffe's Company that you can impart to your clients to ensure their hands and feet stay moisturized, both in and out of the salon.

1. Hydrate to achieve relief. Use a moisturizer made with a water base instead of oil. Oil-based products form a barrier on the skin that makes it difficult for the skin to draw in moisture. They also leave skin feeling greasy, which can make it difficult for people to use their hands while performing daily activities. (O'Keeffe's offers two water-based products — O'Keeffe's Working Hands and O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet — that are specifically designed to protect skin from further water loss and hydrate skin cells. Water works in combination with glycerin to draw moisture into the skin, which speeds up the moisturizing process and allows the skin to heal itself.)

2. Humidify to replenish lost moisture. As the temperature decreases during the winter months, so does the humidity. This cold, dry air is a common cause of winter skin problems. Heating the house also removes moisture from the air causing the skin to dry out. To replenish the moisture, use a humidifier. The humidity will help soothe dry skin irritation and eliminate bacteria that thrive in dry air environments. Make sure to keep the doors closed in rooms where a humidifier is in use. 

3. Lower the thermostat.  When it's cold outside, our natural instinct is to turn up the heat, but central heat can make the house even drier. Set the thermostat to a cool, comfortable setting — 68° F to 72° F.

4. Regulate water temperature. Extremely hot water deprives the skin of its natural oils, leaving skin dry, chapped, and even withered. Take lukewarm showers or cut hot showers down to five minutes or less. Make sure to use a post-bath moisturizer as well. (O'Keeffe's Working Hands and O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet work best if used directly after a shower, as skin temperature rises, which optimizes absorption.)

5. Protect skin from the elements. Wind, freezing rain, and snow can have damaging effects on exposed skin. Make sure to wear waterproof gloves and boots to keep skin dry and healthy. Ensure that boots fit properly. It may seem like common sense, but wearing the wrong size or style boot can take a toll on your feet causing them to crack or blister. Always wear gloves or mittens when outside. The extra layer of protection will allow your skin to retain moisture, making it less likely to dry out and split.


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