Clean hands are important to prevent the spread of germs, both during our skincare routine and in our day-to-day life. But much to the dismay of our lipid barrier, it means we’re using hand sanitizers and soaps more than ever. Although the ingredients in hand sanitizers and soaps are harsh on viruses, they can also be harsh on our skin barrier.
Alcohol is essential for killing germs, but it can strip moisture from the skin barrier. Depending on the type and frequency of hand products used, cleaning may result in severe dryness and cracking.
Dry, cracked hands can actually make you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. A lack of adequate hydration can compromise the skin barrier of your hands. this leaves your skin less able to fend off germs.
Luckily, a hand mask just might be your saving grace. Similar to a regular face mask, a hand mask can restore moisture to uncomfortably dry skin. In many cases, you will find that a mask can reduce your discomfort at night. If your hands need some much-needed relief, read on to find your perfect hand mask!
Key Benefits of a Hand Mask
A hand mask works by restoring moisture and lipids to your skin barrier. When we cleanse our skin too often or use harsh surfactants, we end up stripping away the fats needed to hold moisture in our skin. When we lose these lipids, we end up exposing our skin to dry air and desiccant this.
That’s why your hand mask should include heavy-duty occlusives. While these heavier plosives may be too greasy or oily on your face, dry hands will absorb these ingredients! Occlusives trap moisture on your skin because their function is similar to that of your natural lipids.
Many occlusive ingredients also work as emollients. Emollients soften and soothe the skin by adding lipids to all the gaps in your skin. Some examples of occlusive and emollient multi-taskers are shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil and sunflower oil.
Ideally, a good hand mask should:
Hydrate your hands, to replenish lost moisture
Soften your skin and reduce that awkward, uncomfortable feeling of dryness
Lock in moisture to your skin, preventing dehydration
Helps repair the skin barrier, making it easier for the skin to defend itself against microbes
Hand Mask Recipe
You can buy a hand mask in stores or online, but a DIY recipe is often easier and more economical. The best part? You can control the exact ingredients that are on your skin. For this vegan hand mask you will need:
Add aloe vera and sunflower oil to a heatproof bowl; mix well
Add the shea butter, warmed or softened at room temperature; mix to obtain a slightly creamy consistency
In microwave or double boiler, melt mixture in 3-second increments; stir until smooth
Pour into an airtight container and let cool
Apply the hand mask generously to your hands
Slip a pair of cloth gloves over hands and let sit overnight or for 15-30 minutes
Remove gloves and massage remaining mixture into forearms, elbows and biceps. Enjoy your new super soft skin!
Tips for using a hand mask
By now you’re probably a pro at using hair and face masks, but a hand mask comes with a different set of best practices. Follow these guidelines to maximize the benefits of your hand mask!
Use your mask at night
While you sleep, your body works overtime to heal itself. This is why the best time to apply your mask is before bedtime. Plus, your 7-9 hours of sleep (for the lucky ones) will give your skin the time it needs to soften and rejuvenate.
Apply a quick hand mask during the day
Due to exhaustion and other unforeseen factors (late work, toddler teething, etc.), you may not have time to put on your hand mask before bed. Luckily, all hope is not lost: even if you can’t afford to spend a few hours wearing gloves, you can still benefit from them.
Apply a small amount of hand lotion in place of your hand mask and put on gloves for 15-30 minutes. At the very least, a quick infusion of moisture can alleviate some of your discomfort.
Finding Durable Cloth Gloves
We use gloves for sleep masks, so the product doesn’t get on our clothes, sheets, and face while we sleep. This keeps our relief where we need it: our hands!
The best gloves to use are made of durable, soft fabric. Think of recycled cotton, bamboo, eucalyptus and hemp fabrics. Not only are these fabrics better for the environment, they’re not as uncomfortable as rubber or latex gloves and can actually allow your skin to breathe. Rubber gloves, in particular, can pull and snag on your hair or sheets.
PRO TIP: Hemp fabric tends to softer the more you wash it.
For very dry hands that need more relief, layer moisturizing products. First, use a moisturizing lotion with humectants and soothing ingredients. Follow with your hand mask. If necessary, apply a layer of body butter, coconut oil or argan oil on top. Body butters contain heavier occlusives that work great for the drier parts of your body, like hands and feet.
To be coherent
If you wash and sanitize your hands regularly, you should moisturize and use your hand mask often. Between your skincare routine, regular hand washing, reapplying sunscreen, food preparation, and washing dishes, your hands go through at least 15-20 washes a day. For soft, hydrated hands every day, use your hand mask most nights or as needed.
Use a gentle physical scrub on your hands to remove dead cells from the top layer of your skin. Exfoliation allows moisturizing ingredients to better penetrate your skin and prevents the buildup of dead skin over time.
Prevent dry hands
The best practice is always prevention. Although dry hands can sometimes be unavoidable, especially if you work in the food or healthcare industry, there are steps you can take to reduce dryness and chapping.
wash your hands if necessary, but don’t overdo it. Excessive hand washing can deplete your skin’s natural lipids, leaving skin vulnerable to moisture loss.
Use a mild cleanser for your hands. Try to find cleansers infused with moisturizing ingredients, like aloe vera. Avoid harsh surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Don’t have your favorite hand soap anymore? Try a moisturizing shower gel instead!
Avoid using super hot water when washing your hands. The heat draws moisture away from your skin. This is often the reason why people with compromised skin barriers, such as people with eczema or psoriasis, regularly avoid extreme temperatures.
Get plenty of rest! Your skin heals and restores its humidity barrier when you sleep. Give your body plenty of time to heal itself, ideally while working with your hand mask ingredients.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – especially after washing your hands. Exceptions arise when you are preparing food or caring for a sick person. moisturizer can interfere with the effectiveness of soaps and disinfectants.
We definitely support hand washing to protect yourself and others, but don’t neglect your skin barrier. A compromised barrier can lead to a host of problems and discomfort. Instead, remedy your dry hands with a nourishing hand mask to leave your skin feeling stronger than ever!