Hand and Foot Care 101

Sometimes, we focus too much on our face and body that we forget that our hands and feet need some TLC too. You might remember to wash them thoroughly while in the shower, but that’s not nearly enough to keep them in tip-top shape. Indeed, properly caring for your hands and feet (and by extension, your nails) is important to your overall health.

Here are a few basic tips for hand and foot care to help you get started.

Taking Care of Your Hands
Your hands come into contact with all sorts of dirt and bacteria every single day, so it’s important to wash them properly, especially if you are before cooking and eating, after going to the bathroom, after sneezing or coughing, and after petting an animal. There’s no need to use antibacterial soap -- just normal hand soap is fine as long as you follow proper handwashing procedures. Here are other simple hand-care tips you should remember.

  • Don’t wash your hands using hot water because it will make your skin drier in the long run. And don’t forget to scrub between each finger and under your nails for a thorough clean.
  • Moisturize! Regular body lotion will do, but if you have particularly dry hands, there are some hand creams that pack extra moisture.
  • Wear gloves if the weather is cold. You should also use heavy-duty moisturizers during this season. Lanolin cream is a cheap but effective product to keep your hands soft and supple even during extremely cold weather.
  • Take care of your cuticles. Apply a few drops of cuticle oil or cream and massage them around your cuticles and up to your fingernails to promote strong and healthy nails.
  • Get a manicure every so often. This will help you get rid of dead skin cells that have accumulated on your hands and it gives your hands and nails a deeper clean. Plus, it’s also a simple way of treating yourself to a relaxing time.
  • Get a hand treatment and a hand massage regularly. Paraffin wax is one of the most popular treatments to get softer hands. You can buy a tub of paraffin wax to DIY this treatment or go to a salon and have it as part of your manicure. Hand massages, on the other hand enhances circulation and alleviates pain in the wrists and finger joints, among many other therapeutic benefits.

Taking Care of Your Feet
Just like your hands, one of the best ways to take care of your feet is to wash them properly, including your ankles and in between your toes. You should also moisturize your feet using regular lotions or special foot creams depending on how dry your skin is. Focus on the heels since these are the areas that are most prone to drying and cracking. Check out a list of other foot-care tips below.

  • Get a foot spa to soften calluses and scrub off the dead skin cells from your feet. You can definitely do this at home using products like Nature Republic’s aloe vera peeling foot mask, but from time to time, it’s also good to visit the nail salon for some extra pampering like massages and aromatherapy treatments.
  • Get a pedicure to prevent ingrown nails from getting worse. Like your fingernails, you should also apply and massage some cuticle oil or cream to your toes to help make your toenails stronger.
  • Dry your feet completely before wearing socks to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you have sweaty feet, use some foot powder to keep your feet dry inside your socks and shoes and to control foot odor.
  • Make sure your shoes are the right size. Shoes in the right size don’t only look better, they also promote better posture. Tight shoes strain your toes, heels, and ankles, and can actually result in ingrown toenails. Loose shoes, meanwhile, will result in your foot sliding around and rubbing on the edges which can cause corns and calluses to develop.
  • Give your feet a light massage before going to sleep to promote better circulation. Elevating your feet and legs will also help relieve swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. Some studies have also reported that people who elevate their feet and legs while sleeping actually sleep better.

Having a healthy body means taking care of each and every part. Start giving your hands and feet the care that they deserve and you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.

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