The last few weeks have seen us navigate some pretty stormy seas.
The Covid-19 emergency means that we all have to play our part in seeking to diminish its reach - and hand-washing is becoming a vital part of our daily routines.
As captain of my own family's ship, my goal is to keep a calm mind, a clear heart and clean hands. We may all be on separate ships, but we're all sailing on the same choppy ocean. We can extend a helping hand to other less experienced, vulnerable sailors by all of us maintaining impeccable hand hygiene.
With all the hand washing we've been doing over the last few weeks, the skin has likely become dried out - and in some cases even cracked and broken. The good news is that you can combat this by simply popping on a hand-hydrating cream after washing. Really massage it in well, and you can help soothe and repair our hard-working hands.
So, to help you wave goodbye to damaged skin on your hands, I've listed picked out some heroic hand-helpers - all of them widely available from pharmacies and grocery retail outlets - at budget prices, to help us keep our hands protected and in good shape for the coming weeks.
Keep it clean
The Handmade Soap Co has spent the last few weeks developing a natural hand sanitiser that kills 99.9pc of bacteria and has now launched it. Using 70pc isopropyl alcohol (WHO has advised a minimum of 60pc alcohol content to kill germs), this is now available for €6.95 from thehandmadesoapcompany.com
Whipped coconut oil hand butter
If you're house-bound and on the look-out for a handy helper using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard, this coconut oil hand butter is easy to make and an all-natural hand hydrator.
• 1 cup coconut oil
• 1 tsp vitamin E oil (just snip open a few capsules and pour them in)
• 5-10 drops tea tree oil, or any essential oil of your choice (optional)
Pop the coconut oil and vitamin E oil in a high-speed blender for a few minutes, until the coconut oil is smooth and fluffy-looking.
If using, mix in the essential oils now. Decant into sterilised glass containers.
Use a small amount on hands and massage in well after washing.
This all-natural option is The Body Shop's number-one bestselling hand cream. Wave goodbye to rough skin and help protect your hands from the constant washing with this soothing and nourishing hemp-infused hand cream. The Body Shop Hemp Hand Cream, €5.30, available from The Body Shop outlets
This ultra-hydrating cream is much loved by gardeners (whose hands are always working hard). It's deeply moisturising, with shea butter and vitamin E, while also adding a bit of luxury with its beautiful scents. Crabtree & Evelyn Pear & Pink Magnolia Hand Cream, €6.95, from pharmacies nationwide
A non-greasy hand cream using honey, oils and lashings of vitamin E, this nourishes and repairs dry and damaged hands, but also adds a bit of luxe with its divine signature scent. It also works to strengthen nails and soften cuticles dramatically. Nuxe Rêve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream (50ml), €9, from pharmacies nationwide
This cream was developed to provide a 'bandage effect' to very damaged areas of skin. It essentially acts as a protective dressing to the skin and is proven to help restore skin 2.5 times faster (versus no product), so is ideal for those of us with seriously damaged hands. This antibacterial cream is a good multi-tasker as it can actually be used on the whole family for a range of reasons (nappy rash, sunburn, insect bites). Avène Eau Thermale Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream, €13.90, from pharmacies nationwide
For a no-nonsense, hard-working hand salve that has been used by fishermen in the most extreme of elements for decades, check out this budget star. This is a non-scented, super-concentrated formula (it will last for up to 200 applications) that smooths and softens hands for instant, lasting relief from dry, chapped skin. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, €5.30, from pharmacies and grocery outlets nationwide
'Cica' originates from the term 'cicatrisation' (meaning 'the power to heal gently') and originated in French pharmacies. If you have actual broken skin and cracks in your hands, cica cream adds a layer of protection and targets zones that are particularly damaged, as well as helping those who suffer with overall dry, exposed, chapped skin. Aveeno Skin Relief Nourish & Repair Cica Balm, €7.80, from pharmacies nationwide
This non-sticky cream absorbs in a jiffy and in clinical studies reduced dryness by 48pc in 14 days and reduced pain by 44pc in a week. So it's a good option for those with chronic hand dermatitis, who are in serious discomfort and pain with their hands at the best of times, and are more than likely really feeling uncomfortable after the last few weeks from the extra hand-washing. Uriage Bariéderm Insulating Repairing Hand Cream, €10, from pharmacies and grocery outlets nationwide
Non-greasy and non-sticky, this brilliantly priced option is perfect for dry to extra-dry hands looking for an ultra-hydrating formula (it's enriched with shea butter and L. bifidus), without having to wait an age for it to sink in. Garnier 7 Days Intensive Hand Cream, €2.25, from pharmacies and grocery outlets nationwide
If your house has little ones, a hand lotion with a pump distribution is a good option (it's easier for little hands to use). This is an all-natural lemongrass lotion that smells divine, sinks in so quickly and will last an age. The Handmade Soap Co Lemongrass & Cedarwood Hand Lotion, €14.95, from pharmacies and thehandmade soapcompany.com