10 Hand care tips

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Many of us talk with our hands, and your hands have a lot to say about the state of your health. Your hands do so much that they really need some TLC, and it makes sense to take good care of them. Here are some tips to keep your hands looking young and beautiful.

1. Use sunscreen

You probably know that dermatologists and other experts recommend wearing sunscreen on your face every day. But you may not have thought about sunscreen on your hands. Hands can develop "liver spots" or age spots, brownish areas that are actually sun damage. Apply sunscreen to your hands as you would moisturizing lotion, and it will become second nature to keep your hands protected from the sun.

2. Moisturize

At least three times a day, moisturize your hands. Because of all the things your hands get into especially soap and water they tend to dry out quickly, particularly in winter.

3. Take care of your nails

Rather than putting acrylic nails over unhealthy natural ones, take a look at some of the simple things you can do to improve the health and look of your fingernails. First, file them into a neat oval after trimming. Second, when you moisturize your hands be sure to work some in around each nail.

4. Wear gloves when gardening and washing dishes

Soap and water can strip your hands of healthful natural oils. Wearing gloves keeps hands out of cleaning chemicals and soap. When gardening, gloves protect your hands from the sun and from injuries such as briar scratches and contact dermatitis from handling weeds.

5. Palm massage

Simply rub one palm over the back of the opposite hand in a circular motion. The massage motion increases circulation, which helps warm up your hands.

6. Finger massage

Soothing for arthritis, a finger massage with a little warm coconut oil is very healthful. Gently pull each finger in a "milking" motion and finish by moving each finger joint gently to the side. This relaxes and loosens the joints and gives your hands better flexibility and circulation.

7. Exfoliate

Did you ever think to exfoliate your hands? Gently rub damp hands with salt or sugar, then rinse. The grainy texture of the salt helps scrape away old skin cells, and, once again, it improves circulation.

8. Manicure

A professional manicure is a real treat, but be sure that the emphasis is on nail health and not covering up weak nails with acrylic ones. Go for a manicure that nourishes your existing nails and pampers your hands.

9. Feed your nails with good nutrition

Deficiencies in the B-complex vitamins can cause ridged nail beds, and a lack of calcium can result in brittle, dry nails that chip and flake easily. Be sure to eat foods high in these vitamins or take supplements to improve the look of your nails.

10. Adjust your computer

The position of your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse can have a profound effect on your hands. Repetitive motions such as typing and mouse-clicking can result in tired, sore hands or even inflammation such as carpal-tunnel syndrome. Be sure your mouse is comfortable and easily reached, and that your keyboard is positioned at a comfortable level.

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