When summer starts to draw to a close and your garden is overflowing, you probably need some advice for taking care of your hands. That’s because all that digging, weeding and harvesting can really do a number on your skin. You certainly don’t want to give up on having freshly grown produce, so it’s a good idea to gather some tips and tricks for making sure the skin on your hands stays supple and healthy no matter how much time you spend outside. So, here are my best tips for taking care of your hands after a day of gardening.
1. Wear Sunscreen
Many people don’t think about the skin on their hands when they put on sunscreen. One of my best tips for taking care of your hands is to slather on the SPF before you even head out to your garden. That way you can effectively block the UVA and UVB rays that can cause a sunburn as well as increase the signs of aging on your hands. I always wear the same sunscreen on my face that I do on my hands. It works really well!
2. Wash up
That wonderful dirt that results in a pile of peppers, tomatoes and squash at summer’s end isn’t really all that clean. Dirt is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that can actually make you pretty sick under the right conditions. That’s especially true if it has ever been used as a bathroom by your pets or wild animals in the neighborhood. Once you finish gardening for the day, make sure to suds up with warm, soapy water to get rid of all the yucky stuff on your hands. That way you can ward off all sorts of icky skin issues.
Of course, once you finish washing your hands, you should always moisturize them. Working outside in the hot sun can dry your skin out so you definitely want to rehydrate them when you’re done. It’s always best to put lotion on when your skin is slightly damp because then it absorbs much better. Any lotion will do, so just choose your favorite and go with it.
4. Wear Gloves
You should still wear sunscreen, but a good pair of gardening gloves offers additional protection for your hands. They help ward off bug bites that leave your skin itchy and inflamed and they also prevent pokes and pricks from plants and weeds as you work in your garden. Wear a breathable pair that doesn’t leave you super sweaty. That way you’ll be more comfortable and your skin will thank you for it. Don’t forget to wash when you take the gloves off.
5. Take Care of Calluses
Your calluses are prone to splitting, leaving your with painful cracks. The tips of your fingers are especially at risk. And I can tell you that it hurts a lot! Gardening experts recommend controlling the development of calluses because they can be less sensitive, which means you might be less careful about banging and hitting them while you work in your garden. You can gently file calluses or have them treated by a dermatologist.
6. Watch Your Cuticles
Cuticles are skin and they sometimes require special care. Gardening can sometimes cause them to tear or scrape. Gloves can help offer protection, but you should also keep your eyes on your cuticles. If you notice damage, be sure to treat and clean it regularly so that you don’t risk a bacterial infection. Hydration is also important.
7. Use an Ointment
If, even after taking all these steps, you end up with rough, cracked gardener’s hands, try a specialized ointment to relieve discomfort and speed healing. Martha Stewart, well known gardening guru, suggests Bag Balm, but you can talk to your dermatologist about the right product for you.
Do you suffer from gardener’s hands? I often have those dreaded cracks that get worse as summer ends and fall begins. My best tip for that is Neosporin and a Band-Aid while you sleep. What are your best hand care tips after a day in the garden?