We are all washing our hands a lot more frequently these days. Good hygiene cannot be underrated at the moment but it does have a downside for the condition of our skin. Alcohol in hand sanitisers and harsh chemical surfactants (or foaming agents) in most soaps and hand cleansers are very drying, stripping skin of much-needed moisture. This takes its toll, often leaving hands feeling rough, dry and even sore.
The skin on your hands is one of the thinnest and most fragile areas on your body - only about the thickness of your eyelids - and it’s also surprisingly sensitive. With less natural moisturisation (skin here has fewer sebaceous glands than your face), hands also suffer from being less well protected than other areas of your body; they are often exposed to the elements and are not shielded by makeup like your complexion. They are also regularly in water – for washing up and housework as well as for hygiene reasons – plus air conditioning and central heating are very dehydrating. Skin here works incredibly hard and is prone to ageing faster than other body parts too; as skin elasticity and collagen reduce, skin on your hands can begin to look and feel more fragile.
In these physically disconnected times, the power of touch – particularly if you live alone - is incredible powerful; even a self-massage will trigger the release of ‘feel good’ hormones and help unwind an anxious mind. Self-care is high on our list of priorities right now so it’s an absolutely perfect time to indulge neglected hands with a relaxing and skin-restoring home treatment – it’s a real boost for the senses too. Even better, giving your hands the TLC they deserve is so easy. Our step-by-step, Slow Ageing home hand treatment is pampering and renewing, incorporating nourishing product application and de-stressing self-massage. Here’s how:
You will need: a cotton cloth or flannel, small hand towel, bowl of warm water, an exfoliating scrub and a hydrating balm (our Essential Exfoliating Polish and Face Balm are ideal or you could use similar products from your bathroom cupboard).
Gentle exfoliation on the backs of your hands sloughs away dead skin cells allowing any moisturising products to be better absorbed. If using our Essential Polish, take a small scoop of product and mix with a little warm water before applying. If you don’t have an exfoliator, our Co-Founder, Margot, suggests making up a simple hand scrub yourself using store cupboard ingredients like granulated sugar or instant coffee mixed with olive oil; a teaspoon of each should be more than adequate. Begin by smoothing your exfoliator over the backs of your hands and wrists; use small movements to massage the product around your cuticles. Rinse off with warm water using a cloth or flannel and pat hands dry.
Formulated from a trio of natural butters loaded with essential fatty acids and lipids, our protein-packed Essential Balm helps maintain your skin’s hydrolipidic film to nourish and protect. The ideal intensive salve for the backs of your hands as well as your face, its deeply hydrating formula has been specially created for massage so has a blissful, ‘melt in’ texture. Fill a level spatula of balm and smooth into your palm; rub hands together, close your eyes and inhale deeply to stimulate your olfactory senses and begin relaxation. Smooth the Balm all over backs of hands then down over your wrists and around elbows. If you don’t have a balm, try substituting it for a body butter, rich night cream or essential oil blend.
Massaging your hands is incredibly relaxing. It also improves blood circulation, increases joint flexibility and encourages optimum absorption of the nutrients in the Balm. Try following these 7 slow steps to heavenly hands:
Step 1 – Palm facing upwards, release muscle tension by rubbing your thumb in circular motions all over your palm; start from the middle and work outwards. Then move up onto finger pads before turning hand over and rubbing across the back of your hand to the wrist. Use a firm enough pressure to feel it.
Step 2 – Palm uppermost, gently press and smooth down from the base of your fingers to your wrist.
Step 3 – Using your free hand, encircle your thumb and then each finger individually and rotate at the joint; gently pull each finger.
Step 4 – Pinch the end of each finger to ‘wake up’ the meridians in your hand. Each meridian corresponds to a different part of your body. If you’re interested to find out more, you could look up a hand reflexology zones map online.
Step 5 – Clasp the base of each finger then gently twist your free hand round in small anti-clockwise circles up to the tip
Step 6 – ‘Push’ your whole hand backwards smoothly so you feel a slight stretch on the underside of your wrist.
Step 7 - Finish by briskly stroking around the shoulder, down the arm, around the elbows, along the forearm, over your wrist, down the backs of your hands to your fingertips.
Top tip: If at any time you feel you need more ‘slip’, simply scoop another spatula of Balm into your palms and rub them together before continuing your massage.
Remember, there’s no need to get hung up on getting every movement exactly ‘right’ – just do what feels good and adapt it to suit your needs. The main aim is to relax you and give your hard-working skin some additional hydration to increase suppleness and resilience. You could do this treatment at any time of day (every day if you wish!), although we find it’s especially therapeutic just before sleep when balm has extra time to deeply nourish and rejuvenate the skin overnight. Enjoy…