I work part-time at a health clinic. That means I wash my hands A LOT! Frequent hand washing and using antibacterial gel wreak havoc on my hands, sometimes even leading to cracked skin. This has led me on an eternal search for the perfect hand moisturizer!
You may wash your hands just as much as me if you also work in health care, like to cook, or have a baby at home. (All those diapers!)
I’m constantly on the lookout for a healthy hand lotion–one that doesn’t contain fragrance, parabens or phthalates. (More on that here.) Let me tell you, it’s almost impossible to find a lotion with all those things that actually works. I’ve also used some of my favorite food ingredients as a moisturizer. Stay with me…
Unless you’ve been living in the mountains of Tibet, you’ve probably heard the virtues of coconut oil.
To name a few, you can use it as a hair conditioner, moisturizer and in beard grooming. (Really? Yes!) I’ve experimented with it, mostly in the winter, and it works great on my face and the dry skin on my legs. But I have to say on my hands, it doesn’t seem to do the job. (Sometimes I also cook with coconut oil, and there is emerging research touting it’s health benefits, but I still use in moderation like any saturated fat.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is my go-to cooking oil and I keep a cute little bottle next to the stove that helps me pour just the right amount into the pan. It’s also super convenient to put a few drops on my hands to moisturize. The trick to using oil on your hands is you can only use a drop or two unless you’re not going to be doing much afterwards. So I like to use it after I clean up and before watching the latest episode of International House Hunters. The olive oil soaks right in to your dry skin.
Avocado is one of my favorite foods and I try to eat it at least a few times a week. In fact, I just whipped up some guacamole last night with some fresh cilantro from the garden. (Side note–some research has shown that compounds isolated from cilantro could be helpful to reduce photo-aging of the skin. Just one more reason to eat guacamole–but do go easy on the chips!)
Eating avocado is also great for your skin–it contains antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C and carotenoids, which protect your skin from environmental damage that leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Avocado is also full of monounsaturated fat–a skin-boosting fatty acid. So, last night, I probably got a my week’s worth of skin-nurturing nutrients in my guac!
If you’re like me, you might dribble a few bits of avocado on the counter. Or you might haphazardly leave some avocado stuck to the skin of the avocado. Hmmm, do you toss that bit of green goodness into the compost bin? Wait! There’s another option, which I do use on occasion. Rub that avocado into your hands. Yep, it does feel different and a bit weird– not like using oil because there is fiber in avocados. But do your best and rub it in good. Leave on a few minutes if you can and then just rinse with water. You can feel the moisture still on your skin. (Try my recipe for Quick Avocado Breakfast Tostadas!)
Last but certainly not least…
The next edible moisturizer I found (yesterday as a matter of fact!) appeared as I was draining off a bit of peanut oil from my favorite natural peanut butter, Laura Scudder’s. (It’s a hack I use to make natural peanut butter the perfect consistency. I then use the peanut oil for cooking–or now, moisturizing!) Well of course, you know what happens when you pour oil from a jar–it drips down the side and gets all over your hands. But wait–don’t rinse it off-rub it in!
That’s what I did and Eureka! I discovered that peanut oil makes your hands feel so smooth. It soaks right in, too.
So there you have it. Multi-purpose kitchen ingredients you can use to save cleanup and multi-task with your favorite kitchen ingredients.
For more great avocado info and recipes, check this out!
For nut recipes: 12 Healthy Nut Recipes You Can’t Resist!