How to pamper your heels and cuticles in the very dry winter

I remember that this summer I learned from innumerable teen magazines and books about caring for teenagers who were said to be your skin’s danger zone. All the sweating! All this sun! All the chlorine from pools! But since my youth I have always found the opposite. A little salt and pool water and all this moisture make me feel great. Winter is the time I really had to worry about, from head to toe. My constantly oily skin is getting greasier, but also always dry, and basically I’m always dry everywhere.

Winter skin is a monster of its own, worthy of its own routine, and the underlying skin conditions make us all experience it a little differently. I have found that my greatest winter enemies are my hands and feet. My cuticles are always dry even in the best of times, and the winter leaves hurt a lot when exposed to the dry, cold air. My feet seem to be underexposed. Forgotten in heavy winter boots, my healings become hard and cracked and also dry. The only real solution is really to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize (and sometimes exfoliate). Here are some solutions that help me a lot with dry hands and feet even in the deepest winter.

Thick body lotion

Hand and foot lotions are a bit fraudulent, so I choose a very rich lotion that goes from the tip to the tail. I also try to leave it on the bedside table. Lotion is one of those things that can be very personal, but I like something thick, not too sticky without a lot of smell, like Eucerin. If you want something fancier but still affordable, Bliss’ body butter is a classic.

If you really have broken hands and feet and want to have more momentum, O’Keefes Working Hands hand cream is a cult favorite and despite the name it’s also good to walk.

$ 9

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$ 10

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Hand lotion for on the go

Hand cream is usually just a more expensive, viscous body cream. However, I think buying the right hand cream has one big advantage: it is easy to carry. Applying a lotion just once a day won’t do much about chronic dryness, and you can’t really carry an Eucerin pump bottle around. The best option I’ve found is the L’Occitane hand cream. The rich shea butter makes it a great choice for dry hands, but the actual tube is why I like it so much on the go. The cap screws on the metal tube are less likely to come loose and leak or burst. The tube also becomes flatter when emptied and takes up less space the more you use it.

I also think Vaseline’s Lip Therapy is another good pocket tool for the hands. It’s literally just petroleum jelly in a tube, but the tube and screw cap are also great for taking away. Apply it to your lips and hands as needed.

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Cuticle Oil

Dry winter hands come in all shapes and forms: The biggest fight for me is the cuticle, which splits and peels off. When I’m vigilant, adding oil drops to my nail beds that help lock in moisture makes a big difference. Most oils come in a brush formula and are ideal for storage on your dresser or at your desk at work. But of course I also like an option for on the go. With cuticle sticks you can put small amounts of oil on your nail beds

$ 19

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And, Shhh, a pair of cuticle nippers

I’ve read a lot of things about not using skin pliers, but here’s the thing: they are very effective at getting painful, torn skin pliers off your hand. I’m really trying very hard to use them only on cuticles that have already peeled off, which keeps me from worrying and making it worse. This highly rated model also has a cuticle pusher that can be stored near the shower, so you can gently push the cuticle back while it’s still soft.

$ 10

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Let it work

My grandmother was a pediatrician and her solution for dry heels is one I still use: wear thick moisturizer on your feet and sleep with socks. Gel or super soft boots and socks enriched with aloe sound good, but I always lose them and they are difficult to clean. Over the years I have found that it is easier to just stick to your regular cotton socks. They can be thrown and cleaned as usual after sleeping in them (or hanging out with them for a few hours).

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Similarly, gel gloves are bulky and require you to quit all activities while wearing them. Thin cotton gloves are much easier: apply a thick layer of lotion and put it on. I can’t sleep with them, but I’ve found that putting laundry or doing other work is relatively easy. I also read a glamorous tip in a magazine years ago that I remember: a woman said that she treated her hands with lotion, put on cotton gloves, then put them over her normal winter gloves, and ran. I’m not a runner, so my version is to put them on and then put on dishwasher gloves and clean the kitchen. Something about the extra warmth, whether from running or running water, helps it absorb.

$ 20

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A callous tamer

I get callous healing in winter and summer, regardless of whether I am fiddling around in boots or sandals. I’m also predisposed to calluses that can crack painfully. The lotion helps, but sometimes you need to remove a few layers of dead skin for it to really work. I have found Pedegg to be the best when it comes to getting rid of the worst top layer of callouses without actually cutting living skin. I would only recommend using it sparingly and then moisturizing it.

$ 13

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The foot scrubs used by Baby Foot are also a good winter secret: you don’t want to do this in the middle of summer because your foot really peels during the treatment. There are many cheaper options on the market that work similarly to Baby Foot, which uses acids to slowly break down the dead skin layer over a few days. If you have sensitive skin, this is probably an omission attempt, but if you’re having trouble getting your winter feet ready for spring, like me, it’s a rough but entertaining ritual that you have to go through during the sock season.

$ 20

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A humidifier

If you are really desperate, try to see if you can control some of the dry air around you. Using a humidifier while you sleep can help dry skin, including your feet and hands. It can also help with other dry winter air conditions such as dry throats and noses.

$ 26

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