Prevent nails from winter weather damage

Avery Chang
Spa treatments can be costly, but cuticle creams can produce the same nourishing effects at a cheaper cost.

When the temperature begins to drop, we typically focus most on intensive facial care. But what we always seem to forget is that our hands and nails also need intensive therapy. The cold weather paired with harsh indoor heating often results in dried, cracked fingers and nails — an experience that we should all aim to avoid this season. Equip yourself with these helpful tips to protect your precious hands.

Be sure to invest in a good pair of gloves for the harsh winter months. The city wind will never be forgiving on vulnerable hands, so this accessory is a must. Aside from keeping your hands toasty, gloves can act as a protective barrier to keep harmful germs away from nails. And if gloves are not your style, you can always go for mittens — or even a faux fur muff if you feel particularly adventurous.

Exfoliating is not just for the face. Dry skin will eventually peel and cause extreme discomfort. There is no need to run out to the store to buy a special hand exfoliant when you probably have all the necessary ingredients already on hand. Mix equal parts brown sugar and olive oil — maybe even some mashed strawberries for its scent and acidity — and apply onto your hands.

Wash the mix off with warm water and your hands will be left feeling more supple and soft to the touch.

Make sure to pack some lotion in your backpack or parka pocket before you leave home. Forego the heavy scented creams as they can dry out skin. Pick up a travel-sized moisturizer with a subtle scent — or no scent at all — to tote around with you. No matter how trendy that new pair of gloves may be, you do not want to keep them on at all times just to hide your dried out hands.

Using only lotion will not be enough, however. Dry skin will cause the nail bed to peel and split. Tend to brittle nails with a rich cuticle cream. Cuticle cream moisturizes your nails, as well as softens and nourishes them. After treating yourself with a good cream, your nails will feel completely pampered and polished — a feeling that usually only comes after a full spa treatment.

Be sure to keep your nails trimmed, as long nails will not only snag and break after becoming brittle this season, but also harbor germs that will multiply in your warm gloves. From time to time, apply a layer of protective gel polish infused with vitamins to promote nail strength and resilience.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 19 print edition. Email Avery Chang at [email protected]

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