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Beauty and the Bike: Looking after your Hands

Riding a bike can play havoc with the skin on your hands. Here’s how to look after them.

As cyclists, we often neglect our hands.We ride through cold, wet, blustery conditions in pursuit of miles and get stuck in when our chain falls off. But more often than not, taking care of our hands can be an afterthought, put to one side until we wind up with sore, cracked, calloused mitts.

Look after your hands. Image by kelsey_lovefusionphoto via Flickr

But it needn’t be that way; with our simple tips and just the tiniest bit of effort, you can keep your hands in tip top condition with our DIY cyclist’s handcare routine.

Protect your hands with a decent pair of cycling gloves. Image courtesy Bontrager

The first thing you need is a good pair of gloves. Subjecting the delicate skin of your hands to sub-zero temperatures and the howling winds of winter not only makes you uncomfortable on the bike, you also end up with the hands of a hardened navvy.

Pumice is great for removing callouses. Image by
by cynicalview via Flickr

Another useful piece of kit is protective gloves for when you need to work on your bike. Get some latex gloves from a pharmacy or nitrile gloves from a tool shop and keep them with your spare tubes and pump. Pop them on before you change your tube or fix your chain and you’ll avoid the need to scrub the skin from your hands and ruin your nails in an effort to remove grease and grime. You’ll also avoid the need for harsh petrochemicals to get clean.

Back in the comfort of your own home, it’s time to give those tender paws some attention:

Grab yourself a large bowl of warm water and add a few drops of sweet almond oil. Let your hands soften and soak for ten minutes whilst you put your feet up with a cuppa.

Once you’ve finished your tea, give your hands a good rub with a homemade scrub. I like to mix up 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2/3 of sugar, with the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of lemon zest. This scrub keeps for weeks in the fridge so bung any leftovers in a screw top jar.

A hand cream like Neutragena helps to protect and moisturise

If you’ve a build up of hard skin at the base of your fingers, gently rub this area with a pumice stone . This might seem a little weird at first, but it’s the best way of stopping huge callouses forming.

Gently pat dry your hands and rub a little almond oil into your cuticles. This will prevent sore, raggedy hang nails from driving you crazy every time you take your gloves on and off.

Finally, treat your thirsty skin with a liberal dose of your favourite hand cream. We love Kiehls’ Ultimate Strength Hand Salve or Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream.

Our final tip? Don’t close the door behind you before you grease up your hands – we’ve been stuck in the bathroom with slippery digits unable to turn the door knob before!

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