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Is Extra Hand Washing Causing Dry Skin?

The Centers for Disease Control and other health professionals have emphasized that regular hand washing is key to helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While an increase in hand washing is certainly beneficial for curbing the spread of infections, it can often result in skin that is much drier. Over dryness can lead to skin that is itchy, red, flaked and painful. Dry skin can also develop cracks, giving bacteria a way to enter our bodies.

So, what to we do? Stop washing hands during a worldwide pandemic? Certainly not! Here are some great tips to help keep your hands healthy during this time of extra hand washing.

  1. Engage in Proper Hand Washing Technique: Start of with selecting a mild, fragrance-free soap. Apply enough to remove dirt, but avoid using excessive amounts of soap. Too much soap can wash away natural oils. Make sure to use cool or warm water, not hot, for at least 20 seconds. Pat hands dry with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing hands harshly with the towel.

  2. Apply Moisturizer! We often forget about this critical step after washing or using hand sanitizer. Keep travel sizes of creams in your bag, purse, car, or in your desk at work. Place a bottle of lotion by the sink in your kitchen and bathroom. Examples of good moisturizers are Cetaphil, Eucerin, SBR-Lipocream, CeraVe, and plain Vaseline petroleum jelly. Lubriderm is also a good lighter moisturizer.

  1. Avoid Certain Ingredients: Soaps and moisturizers that contain fragrance can be quite irritating to chapped, sensitive skin. Products classified as creams and ointments tend to be better than those labeled as lotions. One of the main ingredients in hand sanitizer is alcohol. Too much alcohol can definitely contribute to dryness and irritate already chapped skin. There are hand sanitizers with a moisturizing base, but keep in mind they won’t be as effective in killing viruses.

  2. Try These Nighttime Treatments: Before going to bed, apply a thick layer of moisturizer on your hands and then slip on some cotton gloves. The gloves will help to increase absorption. Consider using a humidifier during the night. Increasing the humidity in the air can also help to alleviate dry skin.

We at DermaBlue are here to address your skincare questions and concerns. Contact us today to discuss options to address your personal needs. Please note that we are also offering Telehealth visits, so you can get expert advice and care, from the comfort of your own home.

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