No matter what your daily responsibilities are, odds are that you use your hands a lot, and dry, chapped hands can make the whole day miserable. The dryness can be even worse in the winter when cold weather strikes. Even hand washing, which is important to keep germs at bay, can take its toll on your skin. Using a moisturizing soap will help, but contact with water still dries out skin by rinsing away its protective layer of moisture, so the more you wash, the more your hands are at risk of becoming chapped.
Hand creams and moisturizers are good to have around when your hands are dry, but sometimes these don't seem to work quickly enough. Moisturizing gloves can give your hands the extra boost they need to see it through the dry season. Various kinds of gloves are available -- some are designed to be used with lotions, and others will get the job done on their own.
Sometimes called "spa gloves," moisturizing gloves can cost anywhere from less than $10 to almost $50, and you can buy them at drugstores and specialty retailers. Moisturizing gloves contain a number of ingredients to help your skin, such as oils, vitamins and aloe. Often, these ingredients are part of a lining inside the gloves, although sometimes the fabrics themselves are infused with moisturizing agents. Some gloves are even scented, so if you have any fragrance allergies, be sure to check the label before you choose your gloves.
If you think you're thinking about giving moisturizing gloves a try, keep reading to find out which type could be the right fit for you.
Types of Moisturizing Gloves
Many moisturizing gloves work by including a gel lining that soothes your hands when you put them on. The gel lining is meant to speed up the moisturizing process and help your dry or chapped skin heal much more quickly than it might with lotion or hand cream alone. Conditioning ingredients such as aloe, green tea, vitamin E and vegetable oils can make up the gel. The specific oils will vary from brand to brand, but their purpose is the same. Gloves hold the moisturizers against your skin and allow them to penetrate more deeply. Think of moisturizing gloves with gel as a power dose of vitamins and moisturizing agents for your skin.
Other moisturizing gloves are woven from fabrics treated with moisturizing agents. In place of a lining inside the glove, this type is made from fabrics that have been pre-treated with moisturizing oils. The oils are massaged into your skin as you wear the gloves and go about your daily activities.
Depending on how you use them, some regular pairs of gloves without the gel lining or the infused moisturizers could still be beneficial. If you put regular cotton gloves on your hands after applying lotion, the gloves will help hold the moisture on your skin, allowing it to absorb better and keep your hands feeling soft and smooth.
Once you've picked the gloves that are right for you, using and cleaning moisturizing gloves is easy. Read on for the hands-on approach of how to use moisturizing gloves.
Using Moisturizing Gloves
Taking proper care of your skin should help prevent it from becoming drastically dry. Using a lotion or hand cream regularly and washing your hands with soap that contains moisturizing agents can help your skin retain that protective layer of moisture. Also, remember to exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells so that your skin can better absorb the cream or lotion, whether it's from a bottle or contained in your moisturizing gloves.
For the greatest effect, use moisturizing gloves at the end of your hand care routine, and slip them on after you apply your regular hand cream or lotion. The gloves should help to hold the moisturizing elements of the lotion against your skin and hydrate with their own moisturizing components. Moisturizing gloves may hydrate your nails, too, but if you plan to polish them, wait until after your moisturizing session [source: Monroe].
Moisturizing gloves are usually reusable -- even the kind with the gel lining. If you get a pair, they should come with information on how long they're expected to last. Some can last for up to several months, depending on how often you use them. Certain pairs are designed to be used several times a week for shorter periods of time, and you may use others only once in a while to treat extremely dry hands.
Moisturizing gloves are easy to clean, too. Some can go right into the washing machine along with your other delicates. Avoid the dryer, though, as this could dry out the gel lining in the gloves. You might need to wash other kinds by hand -- just follow what the instructions call for.
Learn how to get started using moisturizing gloves and where you can find them by exploring the links on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Davis, Deborah D. and Robert A. Harper. "Using Gloves Coated with a Dermal Therapy Formula to Improve Skin Condition." AORN Journal. Vol. 81, Issue 1, pages 157-166. January 2005. (Accessed Oct. 6, 2009)http://www.aornjournal.org/article/S0001-2092(06)60068-9/abstract
- Girdwain, Jessica. "Softer Mitts in 5 Minutes." Prevention Magazine. Dec. 15, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://www.prevention.com/cda/article/softer-mitts-in-5-minutes/7fd595360e4b5110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/lifelong.beauty/anti.aging.arsenal/skin.care/feet.hands
- Levy, Sandra. "These OTCs/HBCs are brimming with flavors." Drug Topics Magazine. Jan. 8, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drugtopics/Over+The+Counter/These-OTCsHBCs-are-brimming-with-flavors/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/394831
- Matlin, Jessica. "How to Heal Dry, Winter-Ravaged Hands." Allure Magazine. Jan. 16, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2009/01/how-to-heal-dry-winterravaged.html
- Monroe, Valerie. "A Solution to Dry, Splitting Nails." O Magazine. January 2006. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009))http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/omag_200601_val_cuticles
- Schaefer, Katie. "Fighting Cellulite with Cosmetotextiles." Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine. Aug. 28, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/research/techtransfer/55859212.html
- Shape Magazine. "Helping Hands." (Accessed Sept. 9, 2009)http://www.shape.com/beauty_and_style/spa/at_home_treatments/helping_hands