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Don’t forget about your hands…


My poor old hands, and when I say old – they look old, much older than what they are. We use our hands for pretty much everything and they are exposed to so much. Cold weather, sun damage, constant washing, hands in dirty dishes, bath water and housework; all taking their toll on our hard working hands. Mine are certainly paying the price.

We can spend so much time and money ensuring our complexions look as youthful and fresh as they can, but what about our hands. They’ll give us away if we don’t look after them too.

I have nice creams which I use, but not enough it seems – mine have been so sore, they’re splitting and cracking. My partner’s have been sore too, but it was when I saw our one and half year old daughter’s hands with some little cracks on her knuckles, that I knew something wasn’t right. She certainly shouldn’t be having that – she doesn’t do that much washing up 😉 … It actually took someone else to ask what we were using to wash our hands – durrh – and I say I know about green beauty… turns out we were washing them in something that contained SLES. What can I say, obviously had a moment of madness when I bought it (a small child hinders my shopping these days). Anyway since disposing of said faux pas, all our hands seem to on the mend, funny that.

For those of you unfamiliar with SLES, it is a surfactant (basically helps with bubbles and cleaning) and detergent found in LOADS of beauty products. It is cheap and makes things foam, therefore makes people think it is working and cleaning things well. Here is a little quote from Dr Mercola about it and SLS –

“Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products, as well as in industrial cleaners. It is present in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, and bath oils/bath salts. Although SLS originates from coconuts, the chemical is anything but natural. The real problem with SLES/SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic by-product.

SLS is the sodium salt of lauryl sulfate, and is classified by the EWG Cosmetics Database as a “denaturant, surfactant cleansing agent, emulsifier and foamer,” rated as a “moderate hazard.” Similar to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is sodium laureth sulfate (short for sodium lauryl ether sulfate, or SLES), a yellow detergent with higher foaming ability. SLES is considered to be slightly less irritating than SLS.”

Read the full article here – it’s a good read. One problem is indeed the contaminants produced during the making of, but SLS and SLES are also well known skin irritants. We certainly reacted to it. Unfortunately so many hand soaps will contain it, and the fact we wash our hands quite a few times a day means the irritation can only get worse if we use those products.

So what are we using instead? We’ve gone back to basics with good old traditional soap. Dr Bronner’s soap bar is currently residing in our bathroom, I’d forgotten how nice it is and the fact that it lasts for ages. Yes, it is not as neat as a nice pump dispenser but it’s doing its job well and our hands are MUCH better. Dr Bronner’s do have a liquid hand soap that we will try at some point too.

I’m still slathering the creams on as well. Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Cream, Balance Me’s Super Moisturising Hand Cream are on rotation at the moment. My hands are starting to look like they belong to me again, I don’t get a fright when I see them or have to make excuses for them when doing someone’s make-up. Who knows I might even get round to painting my nails this summer!

How do you look after your hands? Is it a regular part of your beauty routine?

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