How to Protect Your Hands from Frequent Washing
In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, everyone has been asked to do their part by washing their hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time. While this is an excellent recommendation both in light of recent events and a healthy hygiene practice all the time, frequently washing your hands can cause dryness, irritation, and chapping.
Follow these steps when washing and drying your hands to prevent and treat these common skin concerns without sacrificing your hygiene.
- Remove all rings before washing your hands. (You should wash your rings too, by the way, but not while washing your hands. And don’t forget to close the drain!)
- After washing your hands, rinse all the soap off entirely. Residual soap under your rings or elsewhere on your hands can be very irritating and weakens the skin’s protective barrier, making it more sensitive and dehydrated.
- Apply a moisturizer directly after washing.
Keep in mind that hand sanitizer can dry out your hands even more than soap and water, as these products contain alcohol. Whenever possible, wash your hands using soap and water instead of using hand sanitizers. However, if you are unable to wash your hands, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in a pinch.
I recommend (after washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap) applying this GCP Pre and Post Procedure Cleanser. This product is meant to be left on and not rinsed off. I use this to clean my patients’ skin prior to cosmetic procedures.
What Can You Do If Your Hands Are Red and Irritated from Hand-Washing?
You can use a barrier repair moisturizer as often as needed to help strengthen your skin’s barrier and relieve symptoms of dryness, redness, and irritation. When washing your hands, follow the steps above to avoid additional irritation in the future.
If your symptoms are severe, talk with your dermatologist about the most effective treatment approach.
What Hand Cream Is Best for Chapped Hands?
Use a barrier repair moisturizing cream such as Zerafite Ultra Rich Body Cream. Barrier repair moisturizers that use MLE technology have been shown to reduce inflammation and restore the proper function and protective qualities of your skin’s natural barrier by mimicking its lamellar structure. Read more about what MLE technology is and how it works in this blog.
To buy Zerafite Body Cream, go to www.skintypesolutions.com and use the physician code DRB, or find an STS-approved physician partner in your area.
What’s the Best Way to Treat and Prevent Hand Dermatitis?
When hand dermatitis is caused by exposure to an allergen or irritant, such as DIY slime that was causing contact dermatitis in children, the first step is to avoid contact with that irritant. However, if your hand dermatitis is caused by frequent hand washing – something that cannot be avoided – the best treatment is to moisturize your hands after every wash using the information above.
Other hand dermatitis treatment and prevention tips are:
- Do not scratch the affected area. Scratching will make dermatitis worse.
- Apply a barrier repair moisturizing cream frequently throughout the day. You can cover your hands with soft gloves at night to help increase hydration and keep the moisturizer from rubbing off onto your bedding.
- Do not vigorously rub your hands to dry them. Use a soft towel to pat them dry.
- Talk to your dermatologist if symptoms persist or worsen. Prescription medications or creams may be necessary.
Don’t let dry, chapped hands keep you from practicing good hygiene. Use the information outlined in this guide to help soothe dry, cracked hands.
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