Hands Dry From Frequent Washing? Try Our 5 Tips
If you’re following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19, you are probably washing your hands and using hand sanitizer more than ever. Lots of handwashing and sanitizing can have an unpleasant side effect: dry, itchy or irritated hands.
Your skin has a naturally protective lipid barrier to keep it moisturized. But soaps, hot water and sanitizers break down this barrier, causing moisture to evaporate. As a result, the skin on your hands can become flaky, itchy, scaly or red. Your hands may also feel sensitive after washing.
This is no reason to stop handwashing or sanitizing. According to the skin care specialists at Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic, certain techniques and products can help keep dry hands at bay.
1. Use Lukewarm Water
Hot water “melts” away your skin’s protective lipid layer, but cold water does not. Whenever possible, avoid cleansing with hot water and use lukewarm or cool water instead. Be sure to follow the CDC’s recommendations of washing for at least 20 seconds with soap, and don’t forget to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and underneath your nails.
2. Pat to Dry
After you’ve finished washing, pat or blot your hands dry with a towel instead of rubbing them.
3. Apply Hand Cream After Every Wash
Immediately after drying your hands, slather them with a thick lotion or cream to restore moisture. If you have used hand sanitizer, wait until the sanitizer has completely dried before applying lotion or moisturizer.
Look for products with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, mineral oil or petrolatum. If your hands are extremely dry, stick to products packaged in a squeeze tube or jar, as they tend to have a thicker consistency than lotions in pump bottles.
4. Wear Gloves At Night
For extra lubrication, consider coating your hands with a heavy cream or ointment product and wearing cotton gloves to seal in the moisture. You can do this for an hour or so as you watch your favorite television show or read a book, or at night while you sleep.
5. Apply Cuticle Cream
Frequent handwashing can also dry out your nails and nail beds. Extremely dry nails may tear or split, and hang nails can get caught and bleed. Cuticle cream is designed to penetrate the slim space between your nails and skin. If you don’t have cuticle cream or can’t find it, massage hand cream into your cuticles and nails.
Contact Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic
For more information about treating dry, irritated, scaly skin, please contact our practice today.
Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic and Skin Cancer Treatment Center
Grossmont Dermatology is committed to providing patients with excellent quality skin treatments to help them preserve their youth. They use the latest technologies and treatment modalities to provide patients with the most effective services suiting their individual needs. The team of professionals at the practice comprise:
- Christopher Crosby, MD, PhD, FAAD - Specialist in Mohs surgery and reconstructive dermatologic surgery for skin cancers.
- Paul B. Dean, MD, MPH, FAAD – Specializes in general dermatology, mole and lesion removal, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and skin cancer treatments.
- Maki Christine Goskowicz, MD, FAAD – Expertise includes general and laser dermatology, and skin cancer and melanoma treatments.
- Shinko Lin, MD – Specializes in general, cosmetic and laser dermatology, skin cancer treatments, and PDT.
- Helene Jolly, PA-C, MPAP – Performs cosmetic dermatology, acne and skin rash treatments, and mole removal among other tasks.