Many of the tips medical professionals offer for skin care amount to tips for general good health. That makes sense. The body is a unit made of many separate, but intertwined parts. The skin and nails on your hands will benefit from a basic, everyday healthful routine.
If you want to keep your hands and fingernails healthy, smooth and young-looking, think about what you eat. Research has found that a diet that has plenty of vitamin C but goes easy on the fats and carbohydrates may help skin look younger [source: Mayo Clinic]. Make sure that you stay well hydrated as well. External conditions -- dry air, harsh soaps and the like -- can cause dry skin. Drinking plenty of water helps your skin retain moisture.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Use a moisturizer with sunblock or a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more on the backs of your hands every day. Avoiding cigarettes also helps: Smoking makes your skin -- including that on your hands -- look older and more wrinkled. It also stains the fingernails.
Stress that isn't managed well can damage skin and nails. If you have problems with rashes or eczema on your hands, stress is likely to cause a flare-up. Stress also can make the nails more brittle. And if you're prone to nail-biting, stress can send you back to your old, bad habit.
Read on for more useful information on skin care.
- "American Academy of Dermatology. "Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis." (June 2, 2010)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_eczema.html
- Margolis, Simeon and Hamilton Moses, eds. The Johns Hopkins Medical Handbook. Rebus, Inc. New York. 1992.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin." (June 2, 2010)http/www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Hand Washing: Do's and Don'ts." (June 2, 2010) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Moisturizers: Options for Softer Skin." (June 2, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/moisturizers/SN00042
- Melone, Linda. "Does Antibacterial Soap Work Better Than Regular Soap?"http://www.everydayhealth.com/Reader's Digest. Household Hints & Handy Tips.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Information Clearinghouse, National Institutes of Health. "Atopic Dermatitis." (June 8, 2010)http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Atopic_Dermatitis/default.asp
- The Reader's Digest Association. Pleasantville, N.Y. 1988. (June 8, 2010)http://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/antibacterial-soap.aspx
- The Skin Site. "Daily Skin Care." (June 8, 2010)http://www.skinsite.com/info_daily_skin_care.htm
- University of Iowa Department of Dermatology. "Winter Dry Skin." (June 8, 2010)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/skinhealth/winterskin.html
- University of Iowa Health Science Relations and Marta VanBeek. "Fingernails: And Rhinoceros' Horns?" (June 8, 2010)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/dermatology/fingernails/indes.html
- University of Iowa Health Science Relations and Mary Stone. "Dry Skin: Moisturize Your Life." (June 8, 2010)http://uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/dermatology/dryskin/indes.html
- Vickery, Donald M. and James F. Fries. "Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Guide to Medical Self-Care." Addison Wesley Publishing Company. Reading, Mass. 1994.
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