Professional Practice

7 Ways to Take Care of Your Most Valuable Tool, Your Hands

hand with smiley face


As art teachers, we abuse our hands.

We wash them until they bleed. We develop callouses from cutting. We experience excessive dryness from exposure to irritating materials. Our hands are our livelihood and we should show them some love.

Here are 7 ways to keep your hands in working order.

hand with smiley face

1. Anddas Rubber Finger Cots/Protectors

These little wonders have saved me. No more cracking and bleeding fingers in the winter! I simply slide them over whatever finger is suffering most and go about my day. You can reuse them so, a bag will last you forever.

2. Makhry Adjustable Gel Finger Caps

These are the perfect wound covering or callous protector. They are extra cushy and have a comforting gel inside. You can cut them to any size, and they withstand hand washing well.

3. Dishwashing/Rubber Gloves

Keep a pair on hand at your art room sink. You may not always remember to use them, but even if you do it half the time, it cuts down on excessive drying of the skin.

udderly smooth cream

4. Udderly Smooth Creme

Originally marketed for chapped teats on cattle, this stuff means business. I’ve tried tons of intensive creams at every price point and this is the best. Apply it whenever you can and leave it by your art room sink as a reminder to moisturize.

5. Bodipure Keratin Gloves

These are plastic, disposable gloves that come loaded with an intensive, fortifying emulsion to strengthen nails, moisturize hands, and soften cuticles. The plastic isn’t perfectly form fitting so they are not great if you have things to get done. They are best for when you have a moment to sit.

6. Gel Moisturizing Gloves

If you prefer something you can wear while you sleep, buy these. The have a cooling and soothing gel inside that feels delightful on overworked hands. I slather on some udder cream and then put these on before turning in for the night. Try it to wake up with hands that feel like a baby’s bottom and smell like lilacs.

7. Castile Soap

Avoid antibacterial gels and washes in favor of good old-fashioned soap and water. Antibacterial washes can dry skin out and sometimes do more harm than good.

While a certain amount of maltreatment to our hands comes with the territory, we should all take a little extra care of the talented digits that put food on our tables and simultaneously feed our souls.

This isn’t about a vanity mission or getting fancy manicures, this is about investing in our most valuable and overworked tool.

Happy hands accomplish beautiful things.

How do you take care of  your hands?

Do you have any special tips and tricks for keeping you hands in great shape? Please share!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Lee Ten Hoeve

Lee Ten Hoeve, an elementary and middle school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about making art a core subject and employing curiosity to engage learners.

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