Spring is just around the garden and with the days gradually getting longer it’s tempting to reach for the trowel, slip into some wellies, and get outside to plant seeds for the summer.
But hold on... before you leap outdoors just take a minute to think about the toll that gardening can take on your skin. There’s still a chill in the air, the spring sun is low and bright, and your hands, lips and face are still at the mercy of the weather, as well as the pathogens and allergens lurking in your back yard.
A recent survey by myhandeczema.com revealed that 69% of regular gardeners fail to protect their hands properly while gardening, while 67% of respondents admitted to having sought medical advice for gardening related skin problems.
So what can you do to look after your skin while you’re out in the garden? We thought we'd share some of our top tips:
Protect your hands
Part of the joy of gardening is being at one with the soil after months of being cooped up indoors. But when gardening, your hands are most likely to take the brunt of the wear and tear of the great outdoors!
We all know how irritating stinging nettles can be, but there are some other perpetrators out there too. Chrysanthemums, Leyland Cyprus and Peruvian Ivy are all plants that contain allergens which could potentially cause irritation, swelling and dermatitis. Saps contained in Cuckoo Pint and Euphorbia can also cause burning and blistering in certain skin types.
Gardening can also be hard work, and the pressure of regularly using garden equipment can toughen the skin causing cracks, roughness and even calluses.
Our top tip is to wear a good pair of gloves and long sleeves, not just to protect the skin on your hands from the elements, but from some of those garden allergens and irritants found in some well-known garden plants.
We find it’s best to own two pairs: a pair of thin gloves for light weeding and planting, and a thick pair for the heavy-duty cutting back.
Cleanse your pores
We all know that gardening is grubby work which is arguably part of its appeal! Who doesn't feel better after a day spent toiling in the garden? So we're all for getting down and dirty, but make sure you give your skin a deep clean afterwards. It’s important to eliminate garden grime and allergens and reduce their effects on the skin.
We recommend using our award-winning naturally-focused 2-in-1 Honey & Propolis Cream Cleanser, which will help to restore moisture as it cleans. Use with the muslin cloth to deep cleanse your pores before rinsing with warm water.
Watch those rays
Although it’s a far cry from a heat wave out there, the sun’s rays can still affect your skin, even on a cloudy day.
Ultraviolet rays in the sun can damage the cells in your body. The tan colour in your skin is the brown pigment, melanin, produced by your skin to protect itself from the sun. When your skin turns brown, it is already damaged. The drying effects of damaged skin contribute to fine lines and wrinkles.
Our advice: wear sunscreen to protect your skin, and if possible wear a sun hat. But if it’s too late, and your skin feels tight and burnt, products containing Borage and camelina oils are helpful in soothing the effects of too much sun.
It’s not just the sun that dries out the skin. Spring breezes can also help to rob your skin of its natural moisture.
We recommend using a naturally-based hand cream and facial moisturiser before and after gardening. Natural botanicals such as camelina oils and candedilla wax help to protect the skin, whereas ingredients such as crambe, borage oil and honey will help to replenish and soothe dry and damaged skin.
Don’t forget your lips
It’s still quite chilly out there and we all know the damage a cold wind can do to our lips. It’s also easy to neglect our lips in favour of our hands and face.
Our tip is to use a natural beeswax-based lip balm while you’re gardening to protect and moisturise your pout.