It seems as though “wash your hands,” “stay at home,” and “keep your distance” are the only things being said nowadays. Diligent hand washing is one of the most effective ways to keep germs away, but all this hand washing can take a toll on your skin. As if the dropping stocks, Safer At Home laws, and crazed toilet paper hoarders weren’t enough, now you have to worry about really dry hands.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that people should scrub hands with antibacterial soap and water for 20 seconds per wash. When soap and water are not available, people are encouraged to use hand sanitizers, but these aren’t as effective at getting rid of germs. The frequent use of hand sanitizers and nonstop hand washing can lead to dry or cracked skin. While hand washing is paramount for keeping yourself germ-free, you need to take proper measures to care for your skin.
Wash With Warm Water:
According to many surgeons, who wash their hands upwards of 70 times a day, washing hands with lukewarm water is the best option. Dr. Daniela Kroshinsky, director of pediatric dermatology and inpatient dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that very hot water can dry things out, stripping your hands of natural oils. Keep your hands healthy by washing with lukewarm water and plenty of soap.
The way you dry your hands is equally as important as the way you wash them. The best way is to blot your hands dry, as opposed to wiping them because that can cause micro-abrasions on the skin. Paper towels are best because they are single use and disposable. If you use towels at home, everyone in the home should get his or her own towel and the towels should be replaced with clean ones every three days.
When you don’t seal water into the skin after washing, the skin can become very dry. Creams, ointments, or moisturizers are better than lotions because lotions have high water content, meaning they don’t block water from escaping the skin. You want to use a product that helps the skin retain moisture. Moisturizers work to restore the barrier function of the epidermis, providing a protective film on the skin. If you need a few DIY all natural moisturizers, click here.
Use A Cuticle Oil:
While you have to worry about moisturizing your hands, you need to pay equal attention to your cuticles. Cuticles can dry out easily with frequent hand washing, so you may want to keep cuticle oil on your desk, in your bag, in your car, or somewhere that is near your person so that you can apply it regularly. Click here to make an easy cuticle oil.
Moisturize Before Bed:
Apply your moisturizer or carrier oil to your hands before bed so that they can heal overnight. If you don’t want to use a moisturizer, you can use jojoba oil with a few drops of tea tree oil to encourage healthier skin. Before you climb into bed, let the moisturizer or oil soak into your skin, so you don’t immediately wipe it off onto your sheets.