Field Journal: Protecting Your Hands From Winter Woes

As seen in the Tried & True Winter 2024 issue

The toil of the trade in winter climates can often lead to one pesky issue: dry hands. Whether you’re handling drainage pipe or shaking hands with a customer, maintaining healthy hands is the best way to keep up with any job.

Causes of Dry Hands:

  • Frequent hand washing often results in the skin losing its natural oils due to consistent water exposure.
  • The use of various cleaning agents and solvents, along with the materials handled on the jobsite, can contain chemicals that are abrasive to the skin.
  • Outdoor tasks, particularly during colder months, expose our hands to harsh conditions like cold temperatures and wind.
  • To top it off, the regular use of tools or equipment can result in wear and tear, exacerbating skin dryness.

Risks of Not Treating Dry Hands:

  • Pain – Spare yourself unnecessary pain by treating your hands before they get to a point of no return in the winter.
  • Infection – Once dry skin splits open, it’s very difficult to keep it clean and free of bacteria.

Combating Dry Hands:

You might think the manliest option is to let your hands get rough and tough, but there’s a difference between tough and dry. It’s hard to work when your primary tools get too stiff to function. So just hear us out:

  • Start by choosing a heavy-duty moisturizer and make it a routine to apply after washing up and again before hitting the sack to lock in moisture.
  • When dealing with tough materials or braving the elements, always have a sturdy pair of gloves on hand to shield against rough surfaces and cold.
  • Ditch those harsh industrial soaps; instead, go for ones packed with natural ingredients that clean effectively without robbing your skin of its essential oils.
  • Hydration isn’t just about the exterior; drinking adequate water keeps your skin robust from the inside.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, coat your hands with a rich moisturizer or petroleum jelly, then wear gloves when you sleep. This overnight regimen ensures your hands are prepped and ready for whatever the next day throws at them, and you don’t even need to bother trying to work with a slimy moisturizer all over your hands.