Hands and feet, manicure pedicure

While we may spend a bomb on face creams and cosmetics, we often forget our hands and feet. Our hands are in constant use from morning to night and our feet bear the brunt of the body throughout the day. Here’s how we can repay them for their service:

Cleaning

Cleansing your hands and feet twice a day is more than sufficient unless they have gotten dirty. Avoid being obsessive about washing your hands and feet throughout the day. Wash them only when needed. Avoid using harsh soaps, which can alter the pH of the skin and dehydrate it further.

Moisturing

Make sure you moisturise your hands and feet twice a day. In the morning, use a lighter moisturiser which has lactic acid, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid or vitamin E. At night, use a thicker moisturiser to form a soft coat on your skin. Look for ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, olive oil, coconut oil , squalene, ceramides in your night moisturiser for hands and feet. Make sure you apply the moisturiser on a slightly damp skin.

Sun protection

You need to be particular about your use of sunscreen [a minimum of SPF 30] on your hands and feet, which usually face the brunt of unprotected sun exposure.

Care after cuts

If you have cuts in your palms or you find the skin peeling, avoid the use of soaps and detergents. Do not use hand sanitisers too often. Make sure you apply butter or cooking oil or even ghee on your hands before cutting sticky vegetables. Direct contact with flowers can also increase cuts and cracks. It is better to avoid handling flowers till your hands heal.

For cracked heels

To avoid cracks and rough soles, you can do an easy pedicure routine at home at least twice a week. Add a few drops of almond oil or coconut oil to warm water and soak your feet for about 10 minutes. Scrub the dead skin on the soles with a pumice stone or a mild loofah. You may also use crushed fruit pits or brown sugar to scrub. Apply a thick moisturising cream containing shea butter. If possible, wear cotton socks all the time. In case there are cuts, you may need to apply an antibacterial cream such as mupirocin along with the mosituriser. For deep cracks and cuts, it’s best to consult a dermatologist, who may prescribe a cortisone cream.

Corns and calluses

If you have hard calluses, use a cream with salicylic acid or urea to soften the skin and exfoliate. If you have corns, it is best to get them removed surgically. Use corn caps only if the corns have just appeared. Make sure you wear soft cushioned shoes in order to prevent recurrence.

Fungal infections of the feet

Also known as athlete’s foot, this condition is common in people who wear closed shoes throughout the day. Dark and damp conditions promote funguses that cause athlete’s foot. Keeping your feet clean and hygienic can help prevent fungal infections. Wash your feet frequently and dry them properly, especially between your toes. Always wear fresh socks or other hosiery. After a shower in the morning, dust a good amount of antifungal powder. Use an antifungal cream at bedtime. In severe cases of athlete’s foot, consult a dermatologist.

Nail care

Nail care is important to prevent brittle nails, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. Keep your nails clean and well trimmed. Moisturise your toenails with a cuticle cream, coconut oil or vitamin E oil. Gently rub it over the entire nail, including the cuticle. Make sure the cuticle is not touched during manicures and pedicures.

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This article first appeared in the March 2016 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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