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by Julie Dees

Just because you work with your hands, it doesn’t mean that they have to show it. Your hands are one of the most noticed parts of your body – second only to your face. They are also prone to advertising your age or even making you look older when they’re not cared for.

Being a farmgirl involves a lot of wear and tear when it comes to your hands. Calluses and scratches from chores and gardening are common. When you combine this with the drying damage from the sun, wind, and water, it’s a constant battle to protect them.

All is not lost though. With our help, you can continue to be that outdoors dynamo AND still have lovely hands to show off and write home about.

Hand-Specific Care

There are several things you can do immediately to start protecting your hands. The sooner you begin following these tips, the better your hands will look and feel.

  • Gloves – Wearing gloves can provide you some of the best protection. Whether you are washing dishes, pulling weeds, or building fence – use the appropriate gloves for the job. When cleaning and using any type of chemicals, always be sure your hands and arms are protected.
  • Brushes – Nail brushes are a must for anyone who works with their hands. Even when you wear gloves, you will still manage to get debris in, around, and under your nails. The soft brushes are also a great tool to help exfoliate the skin of your hands.
  • Soaps – Avoid the use of harsh, drying soaps. There are plenty of choices for gentle, but effective soaps that will also help moisturize your hands while cleaning.
  • Drying – When toweling your hands off after washing, don’t rub the skin. Gently pat your hands dry so your skin won’t tear.
  • Moisturize – Invest in some good moisturizers designed just for your hands. The skin on the back of your hands is quite thin and needs the extra help. There are both day and night formulas available. The day formulas often have sunscreen added while the night versions are usually thicker and more emollient. Give your hands an overnight treat by slathering on the nighttime lotion and then pulling on a pair of soft cotton gloves. When you wake in the morning, your hands will be soft and pleasantly moisturized.
  • Nails – Whether you get regular manicures or keep your nails short and trimmed, you need to develop a care regimen. Keep nail files and trimmers handy for quick repairs. Using cuticle oil daily will help keep the skin healthy and strong around your nails.

Overall Skin Health Care

In the section above we discussed the things that directly affect your hands and what you can do about them. Now we’ll touch on more general things that can impact your overall health and indirectly help your hands.

  • Sunscreen – Sunscreen should become your best friend – because the sun is not. In fact, the damaging rays of the sun can become your skin’s worst enemy. Every part of your skin that may be exposed needs to be protected – including your hands, even in gloves. Excess sun damage to hands in the form of age spots and wrinkles are common.
  • Hydrate – Up your water intake. Your skin can be one of the first indicators of the onset of dehydration. When it is feeling dry and tight, you need to re-hydrate fast. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to reduce this risk. Staying hydrated will help keep your skin supple and strong.
  • Don’t Smoke, Limit Alcohol, and Avoid Stress – All three of these outside influences can have a negative impact on your overall health and that of your skin. Most people don’t realize that smoking dries the skin of your hands as well as that of your face.
  • Exercise and Eat Right – In direct contrast to the three directives above, exercising and eating right can positively impact your entire body and mind. Just as your skin gives you signals when all is not well, it will also glow and show its appreciation when you give it proper care.

Now that you have these useful tips to help keep your hands looking and feeling their best, go out and show them off. While you’re at it, let us know what you do to take care of your hands.

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3 Alternatives to Shampoo

Shampoo often contains harsh ingredients that can damage your hair and even lead to allergic reactions. Making your own hair cleanser at home can help to protect and nourish your hair and scalp, while also reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals found in commercial shampoos. Here are three natural alternatives to shampoo.

Egg

Egg is one of the best alternatives to shampoo, as eggs are natural cleansers that can help to repair and strengthen damaged hair. Eggs are packed with nourishing proteins that can even help to reduce hair loss and stimulate regrowth. Whisk one or two eggs in a bowl to create a smooth mixture, then apply the eggs to wet hair, massaging gently into the hair and scalp. Rinse thoroughly with tepid water to remove all traces of the egg. Never use hot water, as this will cause the egg to set.

Tea

Tea won’t create a lather, but it makes an excellent liquid cleanser that leaves your hair feeling soft, looking shiny and smelling great. Black tea, green tea, redbush tea and even herbal teas such as chamomile can all be used as a shampoo replacement. Add two or three tea bags to a pint of boiling water and allow to steep for ten minutes. Squeeze and remove the tea bags, then leave the liquid to cool. Pour the tea on wet hair and massage vigorously into the scalp. Rinse out with cold water for extra shine.

Soap Nuts

Soap nuts make an effective cleanser that can be used to remove build-up from hair products. Soap nuts need to be prepared in advance, so they’re not a quick fix, but they will leave your hair feeling soft, smooth and silky. Add seven or eight soap nuts to five cups of water, place in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Use a blender to liquidize the mixture until smooth, then allow to cool. The mixture can then be used in the same way as regular shampoo.

Shampoo contains ingredients that can damage hair and cause skin reactions, but there are natural alternatives for keeping your hair clean. Using natural products will also help to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Egg, tea and soap nuts are three of the best shampoo alternatives.


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