Gardening is one of Britain's favourite pastimes. We spend endless days in our gardens, pruning and planting, to ensure they look as immaculate as can be.
But all that pruning wreaks havoc on our hands.
Calluses, cuts and dirt are just a few annoyances that gardeners are accustomed to on a daily basis, but your green thumb shouldn't mean you suffer with damaged hands.
Follow our top tips below and you'll be on your way to healthy, soft hands again! And the best thing? You don’t need to put down the gardening tools.
1. Always Wear Gloves
Source: Jill Jenkins
Surprisingly, many avid gardeners forgo the gloves when tending to their gardens, but gardening gloves are absolutely vital if you want to protect your hands and keep them healthy.
Wearing a pair of gardening gloves ensures your hands are shielded from dirt and unexpected sharp objects, thus preventing cuts and hard to shift mud from staining your hands.
Donning a pair of gloves also helps shield your hands from drying out and forming calluses, as they provide a protective barrier between your hands and the ground.
To really ensure that your hands are free from harm, smother them in a nourishing hand cream before putting your gloves on. This will provide some much-needed moisture whilst you’re gardening.
2. Look After Your Nails
Your nails show signs of gardening more than your hands do. When you’re digging around in dirty, damp conditions, the dirt sticks underneath and around your fingernails, and is much harder to shift than dirt on your hands.
Your nails can also become incredibly dry and brittle whilst gardening, as they are constantly in use and thus break very easily.
First, you should try and keep your nails short. If you have long nails, there is more room for dirt to collect under them, meaning you’re going to spend more time trying to keep them clean. Plus, it’s far easier to garden when your nails are short!
After gardening, you should always use a nail brush and some soapy water and scrub all over and underneath the nail. This will help to remove any stuck on dirt that has found itself on your nail.
When searching for a product, look for ones with humectants in them. This means they'll pull moisture into the nails and keep them strong.
3. Invest in a Moisturising Soap
Source: Theresa Harris
After a long day of attending to your garden, what your hands need most is a good clean - even if you’ve been wearing gloves.
A good soap will cut through the dirt, moisturise and exfoliate hands all at the same time, and make them finally feel clean again!
Because of all the hard work your hands have done, it’s incredibly important that you use a soap made with nourishing ingredients, and not a harsh one that will dry them out further. Soaps that are specifically targeted for gardener’s needs are the best choice.
These soaps include ingredients such as Vitamin E and almond oil to condition and nourish the hands, and sage, carrot and rosemary to refresh and purify them. Most soaps aimed at gardeners will include these ingredients, and they are the best option if you are looking for a soap that will not only thoroughly clean, but also moisturise the hands.
4. Use a Hand Scrub
Source: Kim Love
As well as a good soap, every gardener should invest in an effective hand scrub too.
You should use a hand scrub after gardening or whenever your hands need a deep clean. They work to lift out any excess dirt from your hands and fingernails.
The exfoliating properties in a hand scrub also work to remove dead skin cells, resulting in smooth and incredibly soft hands that are free from dryness.
Alternatively, use a pumice stone. Simply soak your hands in warm water, then scrub your dry patches with the wet pumice stone. It works the same way as a hand scrub and will leave your hands incredibly soft.
When searching for a hand scrub, look for ingredients with both exfoliating and nourishing properties, such as sugar and Vitamin E Oil.
5. Slather on the Hand Lotion
For a gardener, a good hand lotion will become your best friend. They work to intensively nourish the hands and lock in moisture, preventing them from drying out.
You should aim to use a hand lotion every time you wash your hands. After washing, your skin loses natural oils and a hand lotion works to regain them.
For extra hydration, slather hand lotion onto your hands before bed and sleep with cotton gloves on. This helps to lock in extra moisture whilst you sleep.
Whilst searching for a product, look for products with nourishing ingredients, such as shea butter, peppermint or Vitamin E. Also look for aloe or chamomile, which will soothe and calm hard working gardener's hands.
Gardeners endure much damage to their hands on a daily basis, but if you follow these tips then you can help eliminate some of the problems.
Remember, prevention is always better than the cure! Always use gloves, a moisturising soap, hand scrub and lotion and you will effectively protect your hands against dryness and damage.
You reap what you sow after all!