For the guitar players out there who don’t play as often as they might like (or are just starting up), I thought this “how to” was rather good. Ease Finger Soreness when Learning to Play Guitar – wikiHow
My favourite ideas in this list:
“Practice with a capo on the 1st fret, that lowers the action and makes it easier on your fingers.” That said, playing with a capo anywhere on the guitar will lessen the load.
To ‘toughen up’ your finger tips: “Just soak your fingertips in the vinegar for about 30 seconds before and after playing…” The article also suggests lightly icing. And, don’t play right after washing your hands — even though having clean hands is a good thing, wash them well before starting to play. Same goes for playing after swimming!