Good hygiene is essential if you want to keep yourself, your family, and vulnerable members of your community safe and healthy. If you’re like most people, you’ve been washing your hands and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in your home more often than usual during the past several months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As crucial as these measures are for public health, they have likely left you with dry and irritated skin. What can you do to manage this condition and leave your hands feeling soft and supple again?
Keep Your Hands Clean for the Greater Good
We know that consistent and thorough handwashing is the most straightforward, effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the seasonal flu, and other infectious diseases. You should wash your hands before preparing or eating food, after returning from a necessary errand, after handling your pet’s food or treats, and after interacting with any high-touch surfaces such as your phone or TV remote. Good, old-fashioned soap and water are the best way to clean your hands. But if those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60%.
Both hand sanitizer and soap break down the outer envelope of viruses. So, washing and sanitizing your hands will loosen the grip between your skin and any viruses you might encounter. They will also help dissolve the bonds that hold the virus together.
As beneficial as soap and hand sanitizers are for public health, they strip away the healthy fatty compounds in the top layer of the skin, resulting in a compromised skin barrier. Along with the irritation and discomfort associated with dry hands, overly dry skin can crack, leading to an increased risk of small skin infections.
How to Prevent Dry Skin on Your Hands
Itchy, red, and dry hands may seem like a minor trade-off to stay safe and healthy. However, you should still work to combat dry skin with these preventive measures.
- Wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cleaning thoroughly in the spaces between your fingers, under rings, and around your nails. Because hot water can be more damaging and drying to the skin, use cool or lukewarm water instead. Keep your fingernails cut or filed short to avoid trapping dirt and germs.
- Lightly dry your hands with a soft, clean towel. Gently pat them dry instead of rubbing.
- Leave your skin slightly damp. Then, immediately apply a thick, rich moisturizer to lock in the moisture and boost your skin’s natural protective barrier. Beneficial ingredients to look for on lotion labels are petrolatum, plant oils, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin. Usually, products that come in a jar or squeeze tube are thicker in consistency, and therefore more enriching. If your skin is especially dry, Dr. Schmidt suggests avoiding lotions in a pump bottle because these are typically thinner and not as nourishing.
Trust Your Skin to an Expert
Dr. Schmidt appreciates all you do to keep yourself and those around you healthy. During these uncertain times, Schmidt Facial Plastic Surgery remains committed to helping you with your cosmetic, reconstructive, and non-surgical needs. Call us at 720-443-2235 to learn about our concierge-level service and schedule your consultation.