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WebMD health-e head2toe: skin care today

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Men’s Quick and Easy Nail and Hand Care

You want your hands to look good in minutes. Add these grooming tricks to your daily routine.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Hands that look like they could rope a steer or lift a heavy bale of hay may be sexy, but dry and cracked skin or ragged fingernails definitely are not.

“Unfortunately, guys don’t spend a lot of time worrying about their hands,” dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD, director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, says. “Frankly, a lot of them would look better if they did.”

Luckily, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on hand care. A little bit can go a long way.

Hand Soap or Liquid Cleansers for Men

Soap is the best choice if your hands get very dirty. For really dirty or greasy hands, choose soap with pumice, which makes the bar more abrasive for deeper cleaning.

  • If you have a problem with dry skin, look for a liquid cleanser or moisturizing soap. Don’t waste your money on antibacterial formulas. Soap of any kind is effective at removing most bacteria and viruses.

Be sure to dry your hands thoroughly with a towel after washing. “Water, when it evaporates, removes moisture from the skin,” Jacob says.

Hand Cream or Lotions for Men

After drying your hands, apply a moisturizing cream, lotion, or gel. Creams, which are the thickest form of moisturizer, are best for very dry skin. Lotions are fine for normal skin. Skin toners or gels are best for oily skin. Jacobs says to massage a little moisturizer around the nails and into cuticles to keep them from drying out.

  • If your hands tend to get chapped and irritated, look for a moisturizer with aloe. Studies show that aloe can speed healing of cuts and even burns.
  • Look for a product that contains sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, or spread on a little sunscreen on the back of your hands after you use hand lotion.

The backs of your hands are one of the first places age spots appear. Using sunscreen every day can help prevent age spots.

Nail Brushes for Men

If you work at a job that leaves your hands dirty -- or even if you simply work in the garden on weekends -- you may have a tough time getting the dirt out from under your nails. A small soft-bristled nail brush, available in most drugstores, makes it easy to scrub out dirt and grease.

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