“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist. A man today may use his hands for many different professions.”
— Louis Nizer
No matter what type of man you are, your hands have the power to mean something. They can earn a living for you, hold your firstborn child, or convey to others something about your quality of character through a firm handshake or a calloused hand.
So shouldn’t you take care of those hands so that they can continue to take care of you?
Oftentimes, men put off taking care of their hands because they believe that hands with a rough feel somehow equate to ruggedness and masculinity. Rough hands mean you use them and they carry credit with your fellow man. Men with soft hands may even get chastised for it as it is often seen as an indicator of weakness, which is not the case. Real professionals understand that you take care of the tools that serve you, and your hands are invaluable tools that cannot be replaced or replicated by any other technology. Regardless of your profession, a good hand care routine should be a part of your everyday life. Here are a few key areas to focus on.
If you work outdoors and are exposed to the elements, you more than likely have dry skin. Your skin is an organ and should be supplied with vital nutrients the same way you supply your heart or brain with the elements they need to work at an optimal level. The issue with your hands, even if you work inside, is that they have fewer glands to provide hydrating oils to the different layers of the dermis. So, supplementing with a lotion that contains healthy oils such as jojoba and avocado oils, helps your hands get the proper amount of moisture and keeps your skin from drying out and cracking.
In addition to using a good lotion, you should also review what kind of soap you use. Most soaps found in public restrooms are cheap and therefore loaded with questionable contents and high concentrations of alcohol, which can dry out your skin. In addition, the use of hot water affects the skin’s protective lipid layer and helps leach out the moisture held deep within. Quality soaps and cold water are key in aiding and maintaining the overall moisture levels of your skin.
The most noticeable parts of your hands to others are your fingernails. Taking care of them and keeping them healthy, clean, and neat sends the message that you are a man who believes in attention to detail as much as getting your hands dirty. Grungy and ragged nails are no longer seen as a badge of honor by someone who uses them for their vocation. Today, these types of signs indicate a lack of pride in your appearance.
Take the time to clean under the edges of your nails with a high-quality bar of soap and even a brush, if you need to. Keep your nails trimmed nice and uniformly without going too short, or leaving them too long. If your cuticles are left ragged or you constantly have hangnails, you’re at a higher risk of allowing water or other elements to seep in at the nail bed, leading to infection. These sorts of conditions, along with the act of biting your nails, keep your nails looking unhealthy and can potentially lead to nail fungus, which can cause discoloration. None of these types of scenarios are seen as attractive, so making sure you prevent them is a step in showing the one you love that you care.
Possibly the most overlooked aspect of protecting and caring for your hands is preventing their extended exposure to sunlight. Common skin discolorations like brown spots and freckles can cause you to hide your hands, and a man shouldn’t be ashamed of his hands. Plus, we all know that the sun’s rays can have damaging effects on the skin over long periods of exposure and can even lead to skin cancer. Taking the time to care for your hands and protect them from damaging rays is a vital part of keeping your hands and yourself, healthy.
Men use their hands in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Taking the time and effort to care for your own hands shows that you value them and know their importance to you in your life.
Remember, it is okay to get your hands dirty. It isn’t okay to leave them that way.
Photo by Markus Bohl.