You probably go to great lengths to take care of your body – you eat right, exercise regularly, and invest in products that keep you healthy. If you are like many people, though, you may not be giving your hands and feet the care they need.
Your hands and feet endure quite a bit of abuse throughout a busy day. The average American takes 3,000 to 4,000 steps each day, for example, and you use your hands for countless different activities throughout the day. Hard work, exposure to the elements, and neglect can leave your hands and feet looking terrible and feeling even worse.
4. SOAK YOUR FEET
Soaking your feet in lukewarm water can work wonders for your feet and the rest of your body. A good soak can soothe sore feet, hydrate your skin, promote blood circulation, reduce swelling, and rinse away bacteria before they can settle into minute sores or cracks in your skin. Pouring some Epsom salts into your footbath exfoliates skin, alleviates pain, removes splinters, can treat fungal infections, and relaxes your entire body.
5. TRIM YOUR NAILS
Trimming and filing keeps your nails in good condition, which makes your hands and feet look and feel their best. Use nail clippers to trim your nails to the desired length then file them with an emery board or crystal nail file. Use a cuticle remover and pusher tool to maintain healthy cuticles, which are the skin tissues around your nails. Never cut your cuticles, as it could lead to skin infections.
5. INSPECT YOUR NAILS REGULARLY
Small white spots, known as leukonychia, are usually harmless and develop as the result of minor injuries, such as from nail biting or picking at nails. Black, brown, or purple spots may be cause for concern – these spots may be bruising as the result of a more severe injury or a sign of melanoma, which is the most serious form of skin cancer. If you wear nail polish on your fingernails or toenails, inspect your nails in between manicures and pedicures.
6. TREAT HANGNAILS
A hangnail is different from an ingrown or infected nail – a hangnail is a jagged or torn piece of skin near the root of the nail. Hangnails are common and often develop as the result of dry skin. Left untreated, hangnails can lead to skin infections, which cause redness, swelling, tenderness or soreness, warmth, or even a pus-filled blister in the affected area.
Treat hangnails by soaking the hand or foot in warm water for 15 minutes up to four times a day. When the hangnail is soft from soaking, trim its edges so that it does not catch on anything. Apply moisturizer immediately after soaking. Dab a little antibiotic or anti-fungal cream on the hangnail to speed healing. A doctor can recommend topical steroids.