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Hand Care for Gardeners

Follow these tips to protect your hands during and after a hard day's work in the garden.

Gardeners who want to avoid or alleviate problems with blistering, chapping, scarring and callusing on their hands have lots of options.

"Of course, there are those old timers who believe that blisters, calluses, cuts and such are the marks of a true gardener," says master gardener Paul James. "But I've got a feeling that most people, as well as their significant others, would prefer soft hands over rough ones."

Gloves are particularly useful in protecting hands from cuts and similar injuries. Gloves made of goatskin contain lanolin, an oily substance that helps to keep hands lubricated and soft. However, some gardeners think that gloves take away from the tactile experience of gardening and get in the way when pulling young weeds.

There are lotions and creams that help to keep hands moisturized and soft. Lotions containing exfoliants like pumice not only help to moisturize hands but remove dead skin from the skin surface. Still other products are medicated to help prevent infection from cuts and even help reduce scarring.

There are also a variety of soaps that contain moisturizers and exfoliants such as oatmeal. "So unless you happen to believe that roughness is a sign of toughness, take time to take care of your hands," says James.

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