Sure, we all have a bottle of hand lotion on our desk or beside the sink, and many of us get the occasional manicure (mine is usually a $6 cheapo job where my cuticles end up more ragged than when I came in ... ), but how much time and care do we really spend on our hands?
Our hands are two of our most expressive features and often reveal more about us (including our age) than what we say. Job interviewers rank making eye contact and having well-groomed hands as equally important in a prospective candidate.
Hands have few oil-secreting glands, which is why we really need those bottles of lotion. If you are gardening, washing dishes or using chemicals, always wear gloves. It's the second surest way to keep your hands soft and prevent premature aging. The first is wearing sunscreen. After the face, the hands are the most exposed parts of the body and should receive a daily slathering of at least SPF 15.
Even dedicated lotion and SPF wearers sometimes get scary reptilian scales because of exposure to harsh climates or air-conditioning. For this, the oldest treatment in the book remains the best. I don't know about your grandmother, but mine shared the secret of rubbing chapped hands with gobs of petroleum jelly, then sleeping with white cotton gloves on. I always awoke to satiny-smooth skin. If you don't have any white gloves handy, massage a vitamin E capsule into your hands and nails until it is absorbed.
Of course, what good is a petalsoft hand if there's a brittle, cracked nail at the end of it? Check out for nail tips.