We're surrounded by the pinks, yellows, and fragrant purples of summertime - and much of this comes courtesy of a green thumb. Unfortunately, that thumb might eventually sport a painful and unsightly callus or two.
We’re surrounded by the pinks, yellows, and fragrant purples of summertime–and much of this comes courtesy of a green thumb. Unfortunately, that thumb might eventually sport a painful and unsightly callus or two. But gardeners needn’t sacrifice personal health and beauty while creating summertime splendour!
While most gardeners love the feel of earth between their fingers, such intimate contact with soil and stem can wreak havoc with our skin. Microbes in the soil can make a home under fingernails, or find a way into the body through a puncture from a thorn or slice from a sharp leaf.
Constant exposure to wet soil is extremely dehydrating to skin and fingernails and could trigger a bout of eczema. Of course, the relentless task of weed removal can lead to blisters and calluses that could be as difficult to get rid of as those weeds.
To protect your hands, use a cotton-lined gardening glove that is reinforced with latex at the palm and fingertips to protect against both moisture and punctures. Keep nails short to limit soil accumulation there, and take daily supplemental probiotics including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium to provide internal protection from uninvited bacteria and fungi.
While a cool breeze can take the sting out of a hot afternoon in the garden, it also whisks away precious moisture from our skin. And we can’t forget the double-edged sword of the sun: our gardens and our skin need it, but too much sun will cause both to shrivel and possibly suffer more serious harm.
Be sure to protect your skin from sun and wind with proper clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants of light-coloured and lightweight cotton will keep you covered without causing you to overheat.
Your gardening hat should have a brim that is large enough to protect the back of your neck and the tips of your ears. Although your head may be down as you work, remember that sunrays bounce, so use a sun protection cream on your face; visit your health store for one that contains skin-saving coconut oil.
Include antioxidants such as beta carotene, selenium, essential fatty acids, and vitamin A in your diet for internal sun protection. Also, to continually hydrate your skin cells, drink plenty of pure, filtered water.
At the end of the day, thoroughly cleanse your hands, feet, and nails to remove soil and microbes. Replenish lost moisture with a quality cream from the natural health store. Experiment with essential oils like nourishing jojoba, or try rich shea butter on your garden-weary feet. Massage oil into cuticles and nails as well.
Both you and your garden can be beautiful this summer!