"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

All this hand washing has left my skin dry. What can I do?

Washing your hands is certainly one of them. Important Methods We can all help. Limit the spread of COVID-19.

Washing your hands usually and thoroughly with soap and water for at the least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, are necessary steps to cut back risk.

But with all that hand washing, it's easy to get dry skin or flare up existing skin conditions.

What is occurring to our skin?

The top layer of our skin (stratum corneum) is the primary protective layer of our skin. But frequent hand washing with frequent exposure to water, soap, and skin cleansers Will disturb This layer.

Over time, this results in dry skin, skin irritation and further inflammation.

This ends in inflammation of the skin of the hand, or more specifically, Irritant contact dermatitis.

Who is probably to have problems?

Irritant is contact dermatitis. more common In individuals who do “wet work” they wash and dry their hands several times a day.

These include healthcare staff (doctors, nurses, personal care assistants), hairdressers, food handlers, kitchen staff and cleaners. They may additionally encounter skin irritants and soaps.

But now that hand washing is becoming more frequent in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could also be more people affected outside of those occupations.

Health care staff, who wash their hands several times a day, are especially susceptible to hand dermatitis.

There are also individuals with eczema, asthma and hay fever. High risk Experiencing the event of irritating contact dermatitis or flare-ups of primary eczema.

How can I prevent hand dermatitis?

Soap, soap substitute or hand sanitizer?

People with eczema or those that have previously had contact dermatitis could have skin that irritates more easily. Although they will still use hand sanitizer, it is suggested that they wash with mild soap as an alternative of normal soap.

Soap-free washes contain non-soap-based synthetic detergents (sanitizers). Very bad The cleansing process is sort of an identical to soap, but with the good thing about keeping the skin's pH level. This means they're less more likely to pull oil from the outer layer of the skin and are less liable to irritation.

Soaps have a high pH and are Quite alkaline. This disrupts the outer layer of the skin, allowing the soap to penetrate deeper into the skin, thereby causing skin irritation and itching.

Other individuals who don't have eczema or a history of contact dermatitis should just use soap. Liquid soaps normally contain fragrances and preservatives, which might cause one other kind of skin inflammation (allergic contact dermatitis), so select plain, unscented bar soaps.

2. Dry your hands thoroughly.

Dry your hands thoroughly, including the webs of your fingers and under your ring fingers, to cut back inflammation of the skin attributable to trapped water. Skin irritation and breakdown can occur when there may be excess moisture, soap residue and water trapped between the skin and under the rings.

3. Use a fragrance-free moisturizer usually.

Moisturizers are available in different formulations. Although lotions are lighter in consistency and easier to make use of in the course of the day, they are going to should be used more often. Creams and ointments are thicker and oilier in texture, and are effective for dry hands. Best used overnight..

Fragrances may cause allergic contact dermatitis and are best avoided where possible.

4. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if you happen to can pay money for it).

An alcohol-based hand sanitizer will reduce your skin's contact with water, and thus reduce your risk of dermatitis.

Research in health care staff shows Hand sanitizers cause less contact dermatitis than washing with soap and water.

Sometimes people mistakenly imagine that when hand sanitizer stings on a paper cut, it means they've an allergy. But that is an irritant response and although uncomfortable, it's protected to proceed using it.

Which sanitizer? It normally comes all the way down to personal preference (and what you may hold).

5. Use gloves.

Use protective gloves when doing household chores, comparable to washing dishes or gardening.

Use cotton gloves to guard your hands when doing dry work, comparable to sweeping or dusting Reduce the need to wash them..

Use washing gloves each time possible.

At night, moisturize your hands as an alternative of wearing cotton gloves. It works like a deep hand mask and works wonders for very dry skin. This ensures that the moisturizer stays in your hands and increases its penetration into your skin.

What if my hands are already damaged, dry or cracked?

1. Act quickly.

Treat hand dermatitis as soon as possible, otherwise it's going to worsen.

2. Apply petroleum jelly.

If you think that you've lost your nail cuticle (the protective barrier between the nail and the nail bed), water will seep into the nail follicle, which might cause swelling and inflammation of the skin.

Use petroleum jelly, comparable to Vaseline, as a sealant to stop further water loss. For the identical reason, petroleum jelly will also be used on skin cracks.

3. Get medical help.

If there are red, dry and itchy areas that indicate lively dermatitis, seek help out of your GP or dermatologist.

They may start you off with a small dab of an ointment that incorporates corticosteroids until the rash subsides.

Prescription ointments are more practical than over-the-counter creams due to their higher strength.

But you may start by buying 1% hydrocortisone ointment from the chemist, not the cream.

Sometimes dermatitis may be attributable to skin bacteria eg. If you experience persistent pain or pain-like symptoms, seek medical advice.

If you have got severe hand dermatitis, you need to seek medical help if it shouldn't be responding to home treatments.

Most GPs and dermatologists are moving to or have began using telehealth so you may seek the advice of with them via video call, minimizing face-to-face appointments.