It’s no secret that cold weather and dry skin go hand-in-hand. Low temperatures, decreased humidity and harsh wind takes a toll on any body bits exposed to the elements, and even indoor heating does its share of damage. Dry air literally sucks the moisture right out the skin, depleting its natural lipid layer and leading to that parched, tight dullness you can see and feel.

While most of you know to give extra care to facial skin this time of year, hands are often neglected – and it shows. Frequent washing due to cold and flu season exacerbates the problem, and the resulting flaky skin, irritated patches, annoying itchiness, ragged cuticles and brittle nails make you want to keep them undercover. But sooner or later the gloves have to come off, so here are some suggestions and solutions to help you get the upper hand on your winter manicure.

Exfoliation is a key step to keeping hands soft and smooth during these colder months. Just like it works wonders on the face, a regular gentle scrub on the hands helps remove those dull, dry, dead skin cells so that fresh new ones can be revealed. It also helps increase circulation and prepares your skin so that moisturizing ingredients can penetrate deeper. It’s best to use something specially formulated for the body rather than cross-purposing your usual facial exfoliator. While body skin is tougher than facial skin, you still don’t want to use anything too abrasive or aggressive on your hands, especially if they are prone to redness or cracking this time of year. Don’t go overboard either; once or twice a week ought to do it. Try Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Body Cleanser, which combines a granular sugar polish along with natural alpha hydroxy and fruit acids to lightly buff, resurface and rejuvenate your skin. It has a lush lather, nourishing moisturizers and a sweet lemongrass scent you’ll love. The enriching natural formula is even suitable for those with eczema and dermatitis, so you know it’s gentle yet strong enough to combat winter alligator hands.

Perpetual hydration is what you need if you suffer from dry, chapped, weather-challenged hands. You’re not just trying to add moisture to the epidermal surface of your skin, you’re trying to saturate into the deeper layers and seal it in, preventing it from escaping in the first place. Winter weather calls for a powerful, protective solution and Primavera’s Energizing Ginger Lime Hand Cream is just what you need. It heals and hydrates with a base of organic jojoba, avocado, sweet almond and macadamia nut oils. It’s also infused with antioxidant-rich green tea helps to help fight free radical and environmental damage, plus a splash of lime as a skin-enhancing astringent. A hint of ginger provides a soothing, warming touch as this non-greasy cream absorbs readily into your hands. Make sure you rub this into your nails and cuticles, as it is beneficial for these areas too. Best of all, right now this rich, luxurious hand cream is part of a special gift with purchase promotion at Saffron Rouge, so grab a tube or two to keep you covered throughout the season.

If your nails are suffering along with the cold climate, here’s a tip for the tip of your fingers. Neem oil, extracted from the seed or leaf of a tropical evergreen tree native to India, is a concentrated source of enriching vitamin E. It has been used for thousands of years for skin care, hair care, pet care, even as a natural pesticide and insect repellent, but it is especially beneficial in nail care. This nourishing oil stops dry, damaged nails from splitting and peeling, and with its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, it can aid more serious nail ailments too. Dr.Hauschka’s Neem Nail Oil is specially formulated with neem leaf and anthyllis extracts plus chamomile and apricot kernel oil for the ultimate manicure booster. Massage it in to soften your cuticles and fortify your nails, helping them grow strong, shiny and healthy despite the chill in the air. For a more portable application, try Dr.Hauschka’s Neem Nail Stick where a press of a wand releases just the right amount of this precious oil right around the nail bed to shape the cuticle, encourage growth, bolster keratin and reduce breakage.

Once your nails are in good shape, don’t be afraid to dress them up - especially with all those holiday parties on the horizon. Normally we wouldn’t recommend layering on lacquer as it can be so drying and damaging, but we now carry Acquarella water-based nail polish. Unlike regular chemical-laden products, this brand actually helps improve your nails as it adorns them. Start with the detoxifying Conditioner to remove any residual oils and emollients from the surface, and then choose from 20 classic to contemporary shades to accessorize your finger tips. You get a beautiful manicure without the usual fumes and toxins that add further harm to your weather-beaten digits. When you’re ready to change your look, there’s a specially formulated Acquarella Remover that is safe, effective and biodegradable, unlike those irritating, harmful not to mention stinky petrochemical solvents.

Let Saffron Rouge help you take good care of the hands that feed you, even if the weather bites.