1. Washing your hands with harsh soaps.
“You want a pH-neutral cleanser,” advises dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara. So instead of a bar soap, she suggests picking a gentle formula that doesn’t make your hands feel dry after use. This also applies to dishwasher liquid. While doing chores, always use rubber gloves — your hands will thank you later.
2. Constantly washing your hands.
Not only can soaps be harsh, but exposing your hands to water a lot can do some damage, too. So if you have to wash them often because you’re say, a nurse, make sure to always follow up with a moisturizer with emollient or humectant properties to keep them from drying out.
3. Skipping the sunscreen.
You know you should put it on your face each and every day. But did you know you should apply it to your hands, too? “Our face and hands get more sun than any other part of our bodies, which is why they show our age the most,” says Dr. Trevor Cates.
Sun protection is especially important if you drive on a daily basis because “sun spots come exclusively from sun exposure,” warns Gohara. “Your hands are hit with ultraviolet light through the car window, so you can easily develop brown, blotchy discoloration if you don’t wear sunscreen each day.”
4. Pouring on the hand sanitizer.
Heads up: This germ-fighting staple isn’t kind to your hands. “Hand sanitizers are primarily alcohol,” explains Gohara. “This strips the germs from your hands — but it also strips your skin of its natural barrier function,” making them appear dry and wrinkly. If you can’t stay away from your precious sanitizer, Gohara recommends using it exclusively on your palms so the backs of your hands are left alone.
5. Getting gel manicures a lot.
You know those glowing blue lights that your hands go under when you’re setting your polish? Those are UV lights — you know, the same type of dangerous rays that the sun emits. Just skip the gel and get a basic manicure, advises Cates. Bonus: You can try out even more nail art designs if you aren’t always waiting two weeks between swapping out your gel mani colors.