Washing your hands with soap and hot water is one of the best defenses against the spread of viruses, including the COVID-19 virus. But repeated hand washing can also lead to dry or irritated skin. Luckily, your hands don’t have to suffer just because you’re taking important safety precautions.
To prevent dry skin caused by frequent hand washing, follow these tips:
– Choose the right soap
Use hypoallergenic soap that is free of fragrances and other potential irritants.
– Check the water temperature.
Wash with comfortably warm water, not hot.
– Rinse well
After lathering the soap, rinse your hands. Don’t forget your wrists and between your fingers, as soap residue left on the skin can be irritating.
– Dry your hands by patting them gently
Use a hand towel or frequently washed paper towel. Do not let your hands air dry, as this increases the evaporation of moisture from your skin.
Apply and rub in a layer of hypoallergenic lotion or cream. For extra hydration, wait about a minute after the first application, then apply again.
– Remember to add an ointment
If you want to give your skincare a boost, apply a layer of ointment to moisturized hands. The ointment is not absorbed by the skin, but it slows down the natural evaporation of moisture from the skin.
Hand washing for eczema and dermatitis
If you have a skin condition, such as dermatitis or eczema, that manifests in more frequent hand washing, you may need a powerful moisturizer.
Add these measurements:
– Trap moisture
After washing and patting dry, apply lotion or moisturizer and ointment over it. Then wear a pair of gloves during periods of inactivity, such as when sleeping or watching TV, to help trap moisture in your skin.
– Apply a moist dressing
After washing and patting dry, apply two thick layers of lotion or moisturizer. The layers should be thick enough to leave visible residue on your hands. Do not apply ointment.
Tips for taking care of your hands
Mix a teaspoon of white vinegar in a cup of hot water and stir. Take 2 clean washcloths and soak them in water. Wring them out, then wrap your hands in the washcloths and put socks over them.
Wear this moist dressing overnight if you sleep, or for an hour during the day. You can do this 2-3 times a day until your skin condition is under control.