How To Take Care Of Your Hands During COVID
Last year, the world was taken aback by the pandemic whose effects were drastic and long lasting. One of the first and most efficient ways to battle it was found to be ‘frequent hand washing’ with soap and water. People all over the world are now getting used to the new normal of frequent hand washing, with some people using strong disinfectant soaps. This does help the situation but it has a major side effect, dry hands. This is especially bad for people who already suffer from dry hands due to skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc. If dry, flaky and irritated skin is bothering you, then it’s time to do something about it before it gets worse. Since limiting hand washing is not the solution in this scenario, let’s look into steps we can take to protect and heal our dry hands.
1. Switch To A Milder Soap
The way hand washing works to curb COVID-19, is that the soap disrupts the lipid barrier of the virus and causes them to be damaged and get washed away with water when rinsed. ANY SUDSY SOAP can do this because it’s the surfactant action of soaps which works against the virus. So you don’t need to always use heavy duty disinfectant laden soaps.
So use your regular #soap which suits your skin type and continue washing your hands at regular intervals as needed. Moisturizing soaps with glycerin are also fine as long as it still has a surfactant in it.
2. Limit Use Of Hand Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers are a great way to sanitize your hands on the go because they are quick and compact. The only downside is that the alcohol content which is effective at 60% and higher concentrations, is extremely drying and can be irritating to dry and #sensitive #skin. Hand washing with soap is just as effective, if not better at getting rid of the virus.
So choose hand washing over sanitizing as much as possible. For situations where you need to use hand sanitizers (when you’re on the go), use hand sanitizers which have the recommended alcohol levels, as well as moisturizing agents like glycerin, to counteract the dryness to some extent.
3. Use Products With Glycerin
As mentioned above, hand washing and sanitizing are absolutely essential in these trying times. So don’t stop or reduce the frequency, instead, stock up your house/ workplace and cars with soaps and sanitizers which have moisturizing agents like #glycerin.
Be sure to use formulations from well reputed brands to assure efficacy and do not DIY your own concoctions.
4. Use Hand Lotions
#Moisturizing your skin in general is a good practice, even more so now. If you haven’t been using one prior to the pandemic, start now. Depending on your skin type and level of dryness, pick a hand lotion that suits you and your budget. Apply a light non-greasy formula during the daytime and a heavy duty one at night.
Now you might ask, what's the point of applying any lotions and cream if you’re just gonna wash it away soon? Well that’s why I suggest a budget friendly cream/lotion so you can keep reapplying it throughout the day. If you suffer from eczema, keep applying your lotion of choice after each hand wash to negate the dryness as much as possible.
5. Use Gloves
If all the above steps are not enough for your extremely dry then you can try the #glove method or slugging. Apply a thick and rich moisturizer generously on your hands, and then out on cotton gloves on top of them. The gloves lock in the product, giving it more time to work its magic and giving your skin a better fighting chance.
Alternatively, you can apply a lotion of choice and then top it off with a layer of petroleum jelly to seal everything and then put on your gloves. This technique is known as slugging and has been recommended by dermatologists for treating eczema.
6. Start Using Cuticle Oils
Pretty nails might not be a priority for most people, but we all know how much those cracked cuticles and hangnails hurt when inflamed and the sanitizer hits those crevices. This situation can be aggravated with the constant washing/sanitizing. So in addition to the steps mentioned above, you can also add a #cuticle oil to your routine. Cuticles are more sensitive to dryness and oils are better able to replicate the skin's natural oils being washed away.
Apply a cuticle #oil every night diligently and you should be able to see the difference within a week.
7. Consult A Dermatologist
If all else fails and your concerns are getting worse or severe, the best course of action is to consult a #dermatologist. You needn’t meet them in person either as a lot of doctors are providing online consultations via video calls where you can show and tell them your concerns. In response the doctor will be able to better guide you and give you a tailor made routine specifically for you.