Your hands are one of the most valuable tools you will ever own. Just as with your knife, you should take good care of them to keep them in tip-top condition. In this article we share our tested and approved tips on taking care of your hands.
Everyone who ever spend a couple of days outside, chopping wood, setting up camp and all that jazz, knows how easily the condition of your hands gets wretched. Cuts, burns, scrapes, fissures, dry and flaked skin.. With poor hygiene this all can lead to much larger problems in the blink of an eye. The skin forms a protective barrier between the outside world and your insides. When that barrier cracks, the chances of inflammation rise.
Luckily, hands heal fairly quick – that is if you take good care of them!
The best way to stay clean is to wash your hands. Not only is this good for the condition of your hands, as well as the rest of your body. Our hands are the main transmitters of bacteria, viruses, and since we use them for all kinds of things, it is best to keep them as clean as possible.
When it comes to washing your hands there are a lot of options. Running water or warm water are ideal. If you can combine water with biodegradable and PH neutral soap, do so. This won’t harm your environment, won’t dry your skin, and yet gets rid of dirt and grime. If you are an extreme lightweight camper (or like versatile things), soap nuts are a convenient option. Not only can you wash your clothes (and dog) with these nuts, you can make body wash and shampoo out of them too.
Make sure to keep cuts and wound clean. If they fester, use a proper disinfectant (this should be part of your first aid kit). Remove splinters as soon as possible, using a clean pair of tweezers. And keep your nails short.
Slather some vaseline, purol or other mineral oil based jelly liberally on your hands. The mineral oil forms a protective layer and nurtures your skin back to health. If you want an even better cream for your hands, look out for ingredients such as lanolin (restorative) and salicylic acid (anti-inflammatory). I know it is kind of high end, but Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream contains both – if you have got a troublesome or a very sensitive skin, it is worth a try!
Tea tree oil is a perfect allrounder for your hands as well. Mix it in with some cream to benefit from the antiseptic properties, or apply it directly to affected skin. Tea tree is powerful, please do a patch test before use and never use it on large open wounds. And never use it on small animals, it can kill them.
A good pair of (leather or workman’s) gloves with a firm grip can protect your hands from the flames, when you build your fire, and can prevents cuts when carving, or splinters and wounds when chopping wood. We know it can be a pain in the ass to wear them, but we promise you, your hands will be grateful!
Share with us how to take care of your hands! Comments, questions and your thoughts on our blog are much appreciated.