It may be the end of the winter season, but we’re all coping with the consequence of coronavirus protection. We’re washing our hands and washing them more often. Here at Associates in Dermatology, we wash our hands, really wash them well, between every patient and then use hand sanitizer for good measure. Just like you, we struggle with keeping our hands free from drying and cracking.
In the winter, dry skin is typically more of a issue. Cold air means low humidity, when heaters are turned on the air gets even drier. Your skin dries out too. Now we’re compounding the skin’s exposure with constant washing and hand sanitizing to combat COVID-19.
The skin includes a natural barrier to cut back moisture loss. This barrier, or shield, is made up of a dead layer of skin cells mixed with lipids or fats. This barrier cannot withstand repeated soap and water exposure. Soaps strip away our skin’s natural oil. If you employ washcloths and other scrubbing pads you are compounding the matter.
While you're home together with your family, practicing social distancing and washing your hands far more than usual, here are some suggestions to protect those hands of yours.
1. Use gentle soaps and lukewarm water.
Soaps that are well-known for being gentle include Dove, Caress, Oil of Olay, Aveeno, and Cetaphil (not Ivory!!). Use caution as even “moisturizing” cleansers and body washes can dry your skin! Eucerin offers a calming skin wash. Luxurious bubbles = BAD!
2. After you wash your hands, take care to moisturize.
Use moisturizers with mineral oil or petrolatum. Some non-prescription products we recommend are Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion or Eucerin Calming cream. Avoid products containing perfumes or fragrances.
3. Moisturize overnight.
Try soaking your hands (or feet) to get them well hydrated (about a minute), then generously smother them with petroleum jelly and wear a pair of white cotton gloves or cotton socks to bed.
4. Protect your Hands.
When your hands are dry, it's important to protect them when doing everyday activities like cleaning. Some cleaning products and other household items can increase dryness or cause painful stinging. Be sure to protect your hands when cleaning by wearing rubber gloves. When you're finished, moisturize your hands again as even wearing the rubber gloves can leave your hands feeling dryer.
When should you visit your dermatologist?
Make an appointment to see your dermatologist if your hands
are causing you discomfort. Especially seek medical attention immediately if
your hands are swollen, bleeding, have a honey-colored crust on any cracks, or
if you see red streaks moving up your arm. These may be symptoms of a more
Now Accepting Same Day and Next Day Appointments for Dermatology Tele Health Appointments