Winter can be a magical time of year, with crisp, cold air and even the odd blanket of snow bringing feelings of nostalgia and romance in equal, enticing measure. Your skin, however, may not agree. 

The cold temperatures and lack of moisture in the air can cause dryness and irritation, particularly for areas prone to exposure such as your face and hands. Facial skincare is often a big focus of our daily pampering routines, but in focusing so firmly on your face, many tend to neglect their hands.

This, dear reader, is a rookie error in the world of beauty. It’s important to make sure you look after your hands, both for aesthetic and practical purposes. From using hand cream to taking care when you wash your hands, here are 4 IDEAL steps to an expert-approved Winter hand care routine.

STEP 1: PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU WASH YOUR HANDS

Washing your hands over Winter can become compulsive in an attempt to avoid any nasty coughs and colds (and the other C word we dare not mention) but this can cause dryness and irritation. 

To help avoid that dreaded dryness, use a gentle antibacterial soap. Additionally, when washing your hands, it’s important to use warm, not hot water. Hot water draws out the moisture from the skin, increasing dryness. 

The same goes for using sanitiser and anti-bacterial gels: if possible, find one with a moisturising agent to keep you healthy and your hands happy!

All of that said, do remember that right now it’s vital to wash your hands thoroughly and comprehensively, for at least 21 seconds. Check out the NHS guide for a useful breakdown of good hand washing technique for more.

STEP 2: WRAP UP 

Cold weather is particularly harsh on those exposed extremities, including your hands and fingers. Whether you’re just out for a walk or you’re exercising outdoors, it’s important to don those gloves to protect your hands from the elements. 

Lined gloves are normally best, as this will provide the most protection for your skin, plus, they’ll keep your hands nice and toasty in the process! Choose sweat-wicking gloves specifically designed for sport if you’re planning on exercising outdoors for an extended period of time, to help prevent a build-up of sweat.

STEP 3: USE HAND CREAM

Moisturising is likely already part of your skincare routine when it comes to your face and body, but it’s important to remember to moisturise your hands as well. No matter how much you look after your hands, it’s still vital to give them some extra attention during the colder months. Whether you suffer from intensely dry hands, or just need a gentle moisturiser to reduce dryness in Winter, using hand cream is an essential aspect of every Winter hand care routine.

For some extra TLC, use a thicker hand cream at night. Apply just before you go to bed and allow it to soak into your hands to provide overnight care and moisture. 

STEP 4: EXFOLIATE

Exfoliating your hands isn’t necessarily something you’d think to do as part of your general skincare routine, but it’s incredibly useful for keeping your skin fresh, soft and supple when it comes to looking after your skin in Winter. Exfoliating your hands helps remove dead skin, allowing for your hand cream to better penetrate the skin and provide intense moisture. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

For more skincare tips, check out this article on Winter Skin Care Mistakes You’re Making and how to avoid them.