Taking care of your hands and feet isn’t a luxury—it benefits your overall health. Cleaning under your fingernails helps prevent the spread of germs and disease. Cutting and cleaning your toenails prevents them from growing inward and causing infection. And exfoliating your feet prevents dead skin cells from accumulating and causing bunions or corns, which can be painful. So do yourself a favor and give your hands and feet the attention they deserve.
For Your Hands
File your nails in one direction. Don’t go back-and-forth, which causes nails to break. Maintain an appropriate length and style according to the natural shape of your cuticle. If your cuticles are oval-shaped, for instance, file your nails with an oval shape.
Soak your hands. Try a mixture of warm water with apple cider vinegar. The acid in the vinegar will help slough off dead skin cells.
Rub olive oil into your cuticles. Use the blunt end of an orangewood stick to push the cuticles back from the nails. And massage your hands and nails with a moisturizing cream or lotion.
Buff and polish.Using a pumice stone, sand the tops of your nails to smooth ridges. Buff your nails with a buffing block. If your nails are weak—or you prefer colorful nails—use hardeners and polishes that are free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DHB), and formaldehyde.
For Your Feet
Soak your feet. Try 5–10 minutes in a footbath of warm water mixed with a half-cup of Epsom salts.
Exfoliate with a rejuvenating scrub. Rub gently in a circular motion, especially on your heels.
Take care of your toenails.Don’t cut or clip too short or you run the risk of ingrown toenails. File straight across with an emery board, gently rounding edges. Use the flattened end of an orange stick to push back cuticles. Rub tea tree oil into the cuticle to prevent drying.
Massage feet with a rich lotion. Concentrate on your heels and the balls of your feet, as they’re prone to calluses. If you polish your nails, choose toxic-free polishes. Then put your feet up, and relax!
Nourishing Nail Oil
Derma e is giving away 10 bottles of Skin, Hair and Nail Oil with Organic Argan and Jojoba Oils, plus Kukui Oil to the first 10 Better Nutrition readers to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name and address in the email. Please put “Better Nutrition try it” in the subject line.
|Restore moisture to your hands with MyChelle Dermaceuticals Hand Cream. Salicylic acid gently smoothes rough, dry patches, while olive and pumpkin seed oils replenish skin’s protective lipid barrier without feeling greasy. Tocomin, a vitamin E complex, works synergistically with astaxanthin to improve moisture retention.|
|Repair and rebuild brittle, broken, or weak nails with No-Miss New Nails Hardener. Contains dill seeds to strengthen; seaweed carrageenan to protect and moisturize; antioxidant coffee arabica seeds and ginseng root extract to stimulate growth; silica-rich horsetail extract to harden; and cucumber extract to prevent splitting. Use by itself or as a base and top coat with No-Miss polish.|
|Buff away dead skin with Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Cooling Foot Scrub. Pumice granules, jojoba, and apricot seeds gently exfoliate, leaving skin soft from ankle to toe. Certified organic Australian tea tree oil, wintergreen, and chamomile condition and revive tired feet.|
|Invigorate your feet with Kneipp Foot Repair. This rich moisturizing butter helps to heal and prevent dry, cracked, and rough feet with the hydrating benefits of calendula extract, shea butter, and 10 percent urea. Rosemary essential oil stimulates and refreshes your feet. Apply before bed, put on cotton socks, and wake up to softer, smoother feet.|
Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii’s Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands. Writing about beauty, spas, health, cuisine, and travel, Strausfogel’s work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites. She is based in Honolulu.