Happy hands make light work

Our hands are the hardest working limbs on our body, look after them and you will maintain a life of health and independence.

Our hands tell so much about us – they show our age, our attention to detail, our level of self-esteem. They play an essential role in communication, whether shaking a client’s hand, using sign language with the deaf, creating an everyday miracle of activity at our desks, or with a single stroke to express our love for another. 

Take good care of your hands as they tend to age faster than your face since there is very little fat, collagen and elastin fibers in the skin of your hand, producing wrinkles faster. With long-term exposure to the sun melanin production is triggered, causing liver spots. 

The most unique type of skin is found on the palm side of your hand and fingers, as it produces no hair, and has its own inimitable set of fingerprints. The skin is tough and durable, yet sensitive, and is anchored to the bones through an intermediate layer of fascia. This keeps the skin of the palm from sliding around like a rubber glove when we use our hands to grip and twist. In some people, this layer of fascia can shrink and thicken, leading to Dupuytren’s disease. 

Recent years has seen an increase in Tunnel Carpal Syndrome which has been linked, although not confirmed, to computer use, and almost 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men in the age group 75-79 years have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in their hands. Daily stretches and exercises will keep your hands supple.

Take care

Dry, cracked, flaky hands and Eczema can develop from contact with water, chemicals, detergents and cold weather, and it is best to apply hand lotion every time you wash them. Use mild pH soap (pH of 7) when washing your hands. 

Apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every morning. If you have eczema, wear cotton gloves underneath rubber gloves when doing heavy work. The cotton will soak up sweat from your hands. 

Take a minute each day to focus on your nails and cuticles and you will become less reliant on costly manicures. Apply a gentle nail-specific oil to condition dry, jagged cuticles and nourish and strengthen your nails. Gently push back cuticles with a washcloth while you are in the shower or after you have applied oil to avoid the need to trim the skin. 

Get into the habit of treating your hands like jewels NOT tools.  Letter openers, scissors, staple removers and bottle openers all help us avoid hand damage.

Urdu home remedy:

Soak your hands for five minutes in a bowl of either sunflower or olive oil to soften your hands. These oils contain vitamin E which promotes the elasticity and resilience of the skin. Olive oil is also a good source of valuable omega fatty acids. If your hands are very dry and rough, take a teaspoon full of sugar, wet the hands and rub the sugar in. You could also soak them in lemon juice, then rinse, dry and apply a good cream overnight. A rich cream such as marigold ointment or grape seed oil works well. 

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