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Handle hands with care

By Al Varela

Dear Al: I have very dry cuticles and my hands always look shabby. What is the proper way to maintain them? Should I push the cuticles back daily and is there a product that you can recommend to help with it?

The hands are one of the most obvious giveaways to how well groomed someone appears. It is important to have well-manicured nails and to have a nice nail color.

Just imagine Michelangelo's painting of God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the impact the fingers have in that magnificent artwork. There is power to that image because of the clarity and magnificence of the hands.

They are, after all, the method with which we greet people. We use them to show compassion by touching someone's shoulder, or show our love by a stroke of a cheek.

So treat your hands with a little reverence. Keep them healthy. Pamper them. You should remember that the cuticle is a protection for the nail bed and that it can be a source of infection if its not kept up properly.

Most experts believe that you should not trim the cuticle, because that can be a source of bacteria and infection. But, if you have started cutting them, you need to be sure that you don't have unsightly snags of skin around the nail.

The best time to push the cuticles back is after a bath or shower. You should do it daily by using a soft bristle brush that can whisk away any dead cells. It will help with circulation and it will smooth the nail surface.

You must also keep the cuticles moist, and a nail cuticle serum containing liquid collagen by Linda Rose can help. It is made with natural oils, antioxidants, vitamins and natural proteins so that it absorbs into the nail bed. It also contains sweet almonds, sesame, sunflower, wheat germ and apricot oils that help to moisturize, soften and soothe the cuticles and the nails.

Nail polishes are also a very good way of protecting your nails. After you have your nail bed ready go ahead an apply nail polish. Most nail polishes have an SPF to help protect the nail. Proper preparation of the nail will make your polish last longer. You can also buff your nails to get a nice healthy shine to them.

If you treat your hands and cuticles with the respect they deserve there is no reason that they can't appear, well, just divine.

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