At this point in the summer, there are a lot of gardeners with dry, cracked fingers etched with the stains of plants and garden soil. It’s a seasonal ritual, but that literal "green thumb" doesn’t have to be the price we pay for loving our gardens! My hand skin is particularly fragile. It doesn’t hold up well to my chosen weekend obsession with gardening. It also doesn’t stand up well to the umpteen billion times a day that I wash my hands between patients, procedures, lunch, etc. For years my hands have been a "living laboratory" to test hand care products and now I’ve got hand care down to a science. I’ve created my Hand Repair Kit with my personal survival basics and we’ve just put it on the website where I hope it will help you too! Hard working hands need special care to hold up to the demands we place on them. Gardeners are particularly prone to dry and cracked hand skin because we are in and out of drying soil, subjecting our hands to stickers, plant allergens, and a lot of friction. In addition to wearing just the right garden gloves (which are based on personal preference and will vary for each of us gardeners), you need the right hand care – and it is with that the part that I, as a dermatologist, can help you. Key steps to maintaining healthy hand skin include:
- Using only non-drying soap to wash your hands.
- Using a protective, but non-greasy, hand cream throughout the day after hand washing.
- Using a healing therapeutic ointment at night to help heal cuts and other minor wounds and to soften dry, overworked skin.
- Controlling excess dead skin and calluses with a gentle file to prevent cracks.
Here's wishing you the garden bounty worthy of all those spring planting dreams!