Washing hands for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer is a healthy hygiene practice that everyone should be partaking in, especially right now during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Unfortunately, due to the increase in handwashing and hand sanitizing, you might experience a condition called irritant dermatitis, which includes the following symptoms: 

Maintaining the skin barrier and microflora (healthy skin bacteria) is also an important component of skin health for preventing both dermatitis and infection.

HOW DOES SOAP WORK AGAINST GERMS? 

Unfortunately, the process of washing the hands with an alkaline (low acidity) solution affects the skin barrier as well as healthy bacteria of the skin that fends off the harmful bacteria. 

HOW DOES HAND SANITIZER WORK AGAINST GERMS? 

Although some hand sanitizers contain aloe or glycerin to prevent skin dryness, their alcohol content can cause the burning of the skin, especially when it is compromised.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS OF HANDWASHING TO AVOID IRRITATION?

The following steps should be taken while washing your hands to prevent irritation:

  1. Remove all jewelry before washing your hands. This will limit the soap build-up under your jewelry. 
  2. When washing your hands, use cold or lukewarm water. Hot water disrupts the skin barrier as well as increases inflammation in the skin.
  3. Rinse all the soap off entirely after you’re done. 
  4. Apply a moisturizer directly after washing your hands. This helps protect your skin and replenish the skin barrier.

WHAT IF MY HANDS ARE ALREADY RED AND IRRITATED FROM HANDWASHING/SANITIZING?

Hand washing/sanitizingTo strengthen your skin’s barrier and relieve symptoms of dryness, redness and irritation, as well as prevent other infections from over washing and sanitizing, you should use a barrier repair moisturizer. Other hand dermatitis treatment and prevention tips are:

WHAT HAND CREAM IS GOOD FOR CHAPPED HANDS?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), you should seek out products that contain ingredients known to soothe dry skin. Many moisturizers combine emollients, occlusives and humectants. The following is a list of examples of each:

Occlusives:

Humectants:

*These ingredients are also considered emollients

You can also try our new hand cream, Rejuvenating Hand Cream. Soothe your chapped or cracked hands with the information outlined above. If your symptoms are severe, talk with your dermatologist about the most effective treatment approach.

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