“Gardening gloves are for sissies. I always have dirt under my nails.”
-- Hilarie Burton
I almost always wear gloves when gardening, so I guess in Hilarie Burton’s eyes that makes me the proverbial gutless gardener. The reason I opt for these paw protectors is that dirt and my fingernails (as well as my skin) do not get along well… I would characterize the combination as akin to something like mixing oil and vinegar. There are additional reasons I take the precaution of donning this protective gear which you can read about in my article Two Thumbs Up For Gardening Gloves.
You may have heard it said that a person’s hands (and nails) say a lot about them. As you can see in the photo I have not been blessed with stunningly beautiful hands and/or nails, so I can only imagine what mine must be saying about me. I am sure this theory is applauded by the cosmetic industry considering the many products that they offer which are purported to provide you with lovely hands and nails.
Over the years I admit I have tried my share of over-the-counter remedies in my search to correct my splitting nails and garden-hardened hands. In this pursuit I drank gelatin mixtures, used countless creams, balms, ointments and I even used one expensive salve used for horses that was supposed to do the trick. None of them worked. I have asked several doctors over the years and they all told me the same thing: It is an occupational hazard, the “culprit” being constant exposure to soil and water.
I admit, even though I wear gloves, my hands and nails still sometimes get abused since dirt and other gardening woes continue to occur. If any of you are suffering the rigors of gardening as I am here are some sensible, hand- helping ideas that might aid you in maintaining softer hands:
1. Keep nails short so they are less likely to break.
2. Wear good quality gloves.
3. Have extra gloves ready for when the ones in use get dirty. This is probably the #1 reason for my ongoing nail and skin misfortunes as that I notoriously get too darn caught up in my gardening endeavors, which means I hate to (okay don’t) stop and take the time to put on a new pair of clean gloves.
4. Moisturize with a lotion that contain an exfoliant(s) such as alpha hydroxyl or oatmeal. My favorite is Eucerin PLUS Intensive Repair. I love that it is not greasy and is very effective.
One Final Thought
After reading the provocative quote (see above) by the very pretty actress, Hilarie Burton, I decided just for the fun of it to look at some pictures of her that included her hands. In my humble opinion, with her beautifully manicured nails, she surely does not appear to have hands that look like those of any gardeners I know. All I can figure is she must be heeding my advice and slathering on a lot of lotion(s) that contains exfoliants to keep them that nice-looking.