September is officially the start of autumn for our meteorological organisations and although we might not be feeling its effects weather-wise just yet, it won't be too long before the mercury begins to drop again.
We all know that cold and damp conditions in the latter part of the year - on top of the drying effects of central heating - can take their toll on our skin, but many of us tend to focus on our bodies and faces when it comes to countering these consequences.
This is good in a way - but what about our hands? Lots of people neglect their hands when implementing a beauty regime, yet they're arguably the most in need of TLC as they come under assault from regular dips in cold water, chapping from things like the ice on our windshields and irritation from cleaning chemicals.
Dry, cracking skin will be very sore and is certainly something to be avoided. Our hands are on show almost all the time too, so it's going to be painfully obvious when they're not looking their best from an aesthetic point of view.
With this in mind, it's a good idea to take action now in order to prevent dryness and protect your digits against whatever's thrown at them this autumn. Here are a few tips on how you can do so.
1. Protect against the sun
This might seem odd given that we've just started talking about cold weather, but the sun's harmful UV rays can still penetrate down to the ground even during cloudy autumn and winter days. If you usually apply a sunscreen to your face, extend it down to your hands to prevent signs of ageing appearing and any damage to the skin.
2. Don't have your water too hot
It's tempting when you're feeling chilly to have your bath or shower piping hot and to wash your hands in water that's practically scalding. While it might feel good for a little while though, excessively hot water can strip your skin of essential oils and cause irritation. Instead, keep it tepid or just warm if you can.
3. Use a moisture-rich soap
You need to add moisture to your hands whenever you can, so use a soap that will nourish at the same time as it cleanses. Heyland & Whittle's hemp and walnut or oatmeal and spice varieties are great for this, plus they also have small particles that will slough away any dead cells at the same time. Keep a bar on a soap saver by the sink to remind you to use them.
4. Apply plenty of lotion
Hand cream is essential at this time of year, as it will add a protective layer at the same time as moisturising. Our olive and fig fragrance is the ideal restorative product, so place a dispenser by the sink to slather on each time you've washed your hands. It's also a good idea to intensively moisturise at night, which you can do by putting another dispenser on your bedside table. Get hold of some inexpensive cotton gloves and apply a thick layer of cream, then pop the gloves on and keep them on during the night. When you wake up, it will have soaked in to leave your hands really soft and smooth.
5. Moisturise from the inside
It's tempting to resort to comfort foods in the autumn and lapse on the fruit and vegetable-eating that felt so easy in the summer, but try to keep getting your five-a-day as this will nourish your skin from within. Pack in lots of Omega-3 fatty acids from things like olive oil and mackerel too, as they're famed for their positive effects on the complexion.
Start following these tips now and you should keep your hands looking great, no matter what the weather brings.