When it comes to skincare our hard-working hands often miss out. Here’s how to keep your paws perfect, soft and supple.

By Carly Hobbs

Once upon a time we were told that ‘hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face’ (thanks to a certain washing-up liquid brand), however, we’ve long since learned that nothing could be further from the truth because regular washing strips skin of its essential oils. And, it’s your hands that can show tell-tale signs of wear and tear, including fine lines, roughness and pigmentation, long before your complexion.

‘Hands are regularly exposed to harsh external aggressors such as UV rays and a variety of potential skin irritants including washing products,’ explains Rebecca Hopkins, skincare expert and co-founder of Balance Me (balanceme.co.uk). ‘Plus they are in constant use and rarely get a break during waking hours.’

The skin on the backs of your hands is thin and more prone to sensitivity, so is more likely to show up signs of ageing than your palms, where the skin is thicker and more robust. ‘Yet, due to constant use, even palms can present symptoms such as dry patches and cracks. Both areas require adequate moisture and protection to ensure they are kept in optimum condition,’ says Rebecca. But there are many ways you can give yourself a helping hand, so to speak. ‘Applying hand cream at regular intervals throughout the day works well. Look out for formulas containing nut oils and shea butter, both of which are rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins to deeply hydrate and heal,’ says Rebecca.

It’s also worth keeping an eye out for hand products that pack a vitamin C punch, as this vitamin helps lessen pigmentation by reducing the production of melanin, which is what causes darker areas. One of the main reasons for this discolouration is because hands often get forgotten when it comes to applying sunscreen. And even when you do apply it, it’s not long before it gets washed off again.

And while your hands need protection during the day, it’s the nighttime when they can benefit most from those super-moisturising and plumping ingredients as
your skin cell turnover is faster, plus you’re not washing your hands during that time so the creams have a better chance to do their job. Hands up, who’s ready for the pick of the best rejuvenating formulas?

skin689 Hands & Finger Rejuvenation Crème (£36, skin689.com) might be on the pricey side but this brand new product is well worth the investment. Enriched with ornithine, a skin-enhancing amino acid that helps to plump up fatty tissue and stimulate collagen production, this wonder cream can restore tone and elasticity while reducing wrinkles. It also packs a powerful vitamin C boost to tackle pigmentation.

Starskin Hollywood Hands (£8.50, selfridges.com) is a hand mask in gloves form! Slip them on and relax for at least 15 minutes to allow the contents to heat up on contact with your skin. The serum inside, which contains licorice root and ginseng to name a few of the 16 botanical extracts, works fast thanks to the thermal effect, so even really rough patches will be softer after you’ve used it.

Protecting your hands from UV rays of the A and B variety is vital to keep them looking their best, so try L’Occitane Almond Velvet Hands SPF15 (£19.50, uk.loccitane.com). As the name would suggest, it’s infused with sweet almond oil as well as UV filters, working together to give your hands their best chance against the elements.

Sol de Janerio Brazilian Touch Hand Cream (£15, cultbeauty.co.uk) is all about multi-tasking and moisturising ingredients including coconut oil, cupuaÇu butter and aÇai, plus selenium-rich Brazil nut extract, which on top of smoothing your hands also helps keep nails long and strong.

Ameliorate Intensive Hand Treatment (£15, ameliorate.com) is the sleeping beauty of the hand care world. Work it on before you go to bed and as you snooze it will magically exfoliate, soften, hydrate and layer up protection ready for the next day. This is all thanks to its blend of oat oil and alpha hydroxyl acid, which naturally and gently buffs away any dead skin. Sweet dreams are made of this.

Affordable yet effective Soap & Glory Hand Food (£5.50, soapandglory.com) boasts top quality texture and ingredients. Whipped up with hand heroes marshmallow, macadamia oil and shea butter, it also smells amazing. It’s one to keep in your handbag for regular daytime top-ups after washing your hands, and it’s non greasy too so they won’t feel slippery.

Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (£14.50, balanceme.co.uk) contains nut oils and shea butter, both rich in fatty acids, to plump up thin skin, while benzoin and yarrow soften, and kukui seed oil gives a silky smooth feel and protects against signs of ageing.