Hand salve is a very thick emollient that is used to soothe dry and cracked skin. The skin on the hands generally takes a much harsher beating than any other skin on the body. Furthermore, hands are very often exposed to harsh soaps and detergents that can draw a great deal of oil and moisture out of the skin. For people who work with their hands or spend a great deal of time in cold weather, which can leave the hands chapped, hand salve can offer a great deal of relief.
Most hand salves are made with natural oils such as olive oil or jojoba oil and beeswax. These are the key ingredients which replenish moisture in the skin. It is also common for hand salves to be made with essential oils. Hand salves made with tea tree oil are good for people who have small cuts or scrapes on their hands. This is because tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and can help to heal wounds while also warding off infection. It is also possible to purchase hand salve that is made with fragrant essential oils such as lavender and rosemary. Many companies that sell hand salves offer a few varieties, some of which are made with essential oils.
In order to treat very dry hands, first wash the hands in warm water to soften the skin. Be sure not to use a harsh soap as that will only worsen the problem. Once the hands are warm and the skin has softened, rub a generous amount of salve into the hands. Be sure to target the fingertips and knuckles, as these are the parts that chap most easily. For an extra treat, put on a pair of clean cotton or terry cloth gloves. This will help to keep the hands warm as the salve sinks in and does its work.
Because hand salves are so thick, they are generally not good for use on other parts of the body, especially the face. Using a hand salve on the face could lead to excessively oily skin and breakouts of blemishes. It can be very good for dry and chapped feet. Follow the same instructions for the feet as for the hands. After applying the slave to the feet, slip on a pair of clean cotton socks. Hand salve can also be used to treat dry or cracked elbows and knees which are also areas prone to dryness.