Your hands and feet are the most overworked and overlooked parts of your body. Because you expose your hands to the elements and you constantly use them, they show wear and age sooner than other parts of your body. Your feet are your foundation, providing stability and balance. But, if you're like most people, you forget about caring for these extremities until they hurt.
There are more nerves per square inch in your hands and feet than in many other parts of your body. When your feet ache, your entire body feels fatigued. When your hands hurt, it inhibits your dexterity.
Scruffy-looking cuticles and peeling, splitting, cracking, and breaking nails may betray your dietary choices because these conditions can indicate certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
A balanced diet that is high in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables is recommended for healthy nails. Seeds, nuts, and grains rich in B vitamins, as well as calcium and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, are also exceptionally good for strong nails.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the human foot contains 26 bones (the two feet contain a quarter of all the bones in the body), 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and a network of more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments to allow for movement and agility. And since the average pair of feet take 10,000 steps a day, it's no wonder that they evidence the strain with calluses, swelling, dryness, and even infections, such as athlete's foot.
Hands and feet need special care. Look for care products that feature the same nurturing ingredients as your skin care to pamper those appendages.
Tips for Healthy Hands
- Wear rubber gloves whenever you come in contact with harsh detergents and cleaning chemicals or while gardening to prevent injury and moisture loss.
- Apply hand cream or sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher before leaving the house to prevent sun damage to your hands.
- Keep nails in shape by
maintaining an appropriate nail length and style based on the natural shape of your cuticle and the length of your fingers.
- File nails in one direction, not back-and-forth, which causes nails to break and split.
- Moisturize your hands before going to bed.
Tips for Healthy Feet
- Wash feet daily with warm water and mild soap. Dry feet well, especially between toes.
- Inspect your feet daily for blisters, scrapes, or cuts, any of which you can treat with tea tree oil to prevent infection.
- Moisturize feet after every shower or bath.
- Wear protective footwear indoors and outdoors.
- Improve flexibility and stimulate blood flow by walking; when seated, spell out the alphabet in the air with your foot.
Did You Know? On average, women have four times more foot problems than men do. High-heeled shoes are often the cause of calluses, corns, and other foot ailments.
Product Examples (clockwise from left):
Hydrate and heal dry skin with No Miss Whipped Cream for Cuticles, Hands & Feet, which blends jojoba, sunflower, and grape seed oils with aloe vera, chamomile, comfrey, fennel, and sage into a rich moisturizing cream ideal for all 20 digits.
Revive tired feet with Weleda Foot Balm with healing calendula, antibacterial myrrh, and essential oils that soothe and soften fatigued feet, while whisking away perspiration and bacteria. Use before and after hiking, sports, dancing, or standing on your feet all day.
Turn back the hands of time with Jurlique Purely Age-Defying Hand Treatment, a high-performance hand cream that does more than moisturize. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, evens skin tone, and fades discolorations, giving hands a more youthful appearance.
Treat your feet to Organique Intensive Moisturizing FootCare Cream from Himalaya Herbal Healthcare. It softens and hydrates rough, callused feet with organic honey, beeswax, and flaxseed oil. It's nongreasy, absorbs instantly, and is scented with uplifting geranium and patchouli oils.