Coronavirus Awareness: Medical advisories by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) state regularly washing hands with alcohol-based cleaners or soap and water is the best way to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, constant use of soap can dry out the hands and can cause skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It is also detrimental to people with skin conditions.
It is important to follow the advisories laid down by the WHO, but you can always take a few steps to minimize the drying effect constant washing can have on your skin. Here are a few tips for people with underlying skin conditions on how they can take care of their skin even after washing them multiple times a day.
Moisturize after washing hands
The constant use of soap and alcohol-based cleaners cause the skin to be stripped of its oils and leads to dry and flaky skin. Soaps can make your skin flaky and red causing irritant hand dermatitis. This is true for people with healthy skin as well. It is advisable for everyone to use a moisturizer every time they wash their hands.
Emollient soap substitutes
Moisturizers that contain antibacterial ingredients can be used to disinfect your hands. Some also lather and can be used as a substitute to soaps. These will be gentler on the skin and will prevent them from drying or cracking. However, such creams are found to be less effective than alcohol-based gels. If you are compelled to use alcohol-based gels and soaps, it is important that you use emollients or moisturizers after washing your hands.
Dry your hands thoroughly
Water also has a drying effect on your hands. It reduces the amount of oil in your skin as it evaporates. Thus, it is also important to dry your hands thoroughly after washing them. Moreover, infections are more likely to fester and spread from wet hands.
Apply emollients through the day
As much as it is important to moisturize your hands immediately after you wash them, it is also important to keep them moisturized throughout the day. Use a moisturizer whenever your hands begin to feel dry and the skin begins to feel stretchy. These will renew the oils in the skin and keep them protected for longer.
Wear latex or runner gloves while doing chores
While it is inevitable to expose your hands to soap when you are washing them, you can reduce the contact with other such drying agents like the dish-wash or shampoo. It is advisable to wear gloves when performing daily chores that involve the use of water or soap. This reduces the number of times soaps have a drying effect on your hands and keeps them safer and softer for longer.
Abiding by the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease is important for everyone. Keeping your hands moisturized and keeping the tips given here in mind will surely save you from the pain of dry, irritated hands, especially if you already have an underlying skin condition.