Since the pandemic, the world has seen unprecedented changes in how we keep ourselves safe in our daily lives. Frequent hand washing has been a prominent feature of global health campaigns and is here to stay.
Hand washing is a vital element of preventing infections and the spread of viruses. However, one of the effects of washing hands too much is dry skin. This can be uncomfortable, and even result in breaks in the skin.
This article includes tips for keeping hands from drying out and products that can help keep your skin protected and hydrated after washing them so much.
Why Do Your Hands Get Dry After Washing Them?
The outermost layer of skin is made up of wax and oils which retain moisture within the skin and protect against the outside. This barrier breaks down during handwashing with soap. Unfortunately, soap is unable to discriminate between beneficial hand washing to prevent infection and harmful bacteria and germs on the hands. Once the outer layer is damaged it results in dryness of the hands.
Highly perfumed soaps can make the problem worse which is why it is better to use a fragrance-free or unscented brand. Hand sanitizers contain alcohol and also dry out the skin, making it susceptible to flaking and cracking.
Don’t Stop Washing Your Hands
Thorough hand washing is one of the most important defenses we have against germs, viruses, and other infections. Always wash your hands after shopping, when coming into the house, before preparing food, after going to the bathroom, and after contact with others. Do not skip this step just because your hands are getting dry and flaky.
Using soap when washing is important because this helps disperse grease and bacteria from your hands. If water is used alone, it is not as effective and germs can remain on your hands. Use a thorough technique when washing your hands with soap and water, getting in-between the fingers and along the wrists as well as the palms for at least 20 seconds.
You could sing a simple song in your head like the ABCs or Happy Birthday, to make sure you are washing for a full 20 seconds. Gently pat your hands dry (do not rub as that can irritate your skin even more). If your hands are still feeling dry and flaky, use a moisturizer after each washing. SumLabs has many great options for hand creams.
Healthy Hand Washing
While you’re washing away any possible viruses and/or bacteria on your skin, you’re also removing the natural oils and wax that make up the outermost layer of your skin. This barrier maintains your skin’s natural moisture. Without it, your hands can become dry, cracked—even painful. Frequent hand washing can also damage your cuticles, make your nails brittle, and even lead to eczema.
Try these tip tips to keep your hands healthy:
- Wash in warm water
- Wash hands thoroughly, including fingers, palms, and wrists – Do not scrub
- Gently pat your hands dry – Instead of rubbing
- Use a reliable moisturizer after each washing
Apply Hand Cream
After washing, apply a hand moisturizer, Cutemol Moisturizing lotion or emollient cream to hydrate your skin. This is important to keep hands moisturized, but it frequently gets overlooked.
Use a reliable product like Cutemol Emollient Dry Skin Cream, which locks in moisture and helps heal sore hands. It also helps heal cuticle damage, which often gets overlooked, but ends up being painful and irritating and can cause/spread disease. Make sure you apply some cream to your hands each time you wash them. You just need a small amount to rub into the skin each time.
Keep a tube of hand cream by the sink for your dry hands treatment so you remember to moisturize. If you are on the go or working, take a pocket-size tube with you, so you can treat your hands after washing them no matter where you are! These small tubes of cream are useful to keep in your purse or the car.
Hand creams that are heavily perfumed smell wonderful, but they can irritate sore hands. Some hand sanitizers include a moisturizer, however as they also contain alcohol they are less effective at moisturizing hands than a regular hand cream, as alcohol tends to dry out the skin. If you’d like to try a gentle, fragrance-free, lanolin-free, dye-free cream, check out Cutemol Sensitive.
Dehydration results from not drinking enough water, especially in hot weather or when wearing protective equipment. Not getting enough water can also dry out the skin on your hands and other parts of your body.
Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking fluids frequently. Water and herbal teas are ideal. Caffeine and alcohol are known to dehydrate the body, so drink less of those beverages or avoid them altogether if you have a problem with dry hands. By keeping your body hydrated, you will also keep your hands and skin in good condition. A humidifier in a room at night can help retain moisture in the skin.
In cold weather, wear gloves to avoid chapped hands from windy and freezing weather.
Use the Right Kind of Cream
When you are washing your hands all the time, they will get dry. It is very important to get an effective product that will help you care for your hands.
Use a fragrance-free or unscented product to avoid irritation when the cream is applied to sore or red hands. A cream or ointment is more effective than lotions. Creams are thicker in consistency than lotions and will help form a barrier that keeps the skin hydrated and protected. They also have a higher oil content than lotions, which helps retain moisture.
If your hands are very dry, wear a pair of cotton gloves to bed after applying hand cream. This helps retain the moisturizing effect of the cream overnight, and can help you have soft, supple hands by morning!
Maintaining Healthy Skin
Hand care is very important for maintaining good hygiene, keeping from spreading diseases, and preventing skin breaks, cracks, and sores.
Practicing a regular routine of applying an emollient cream after washing your hands, will keep your skin healthy and moisturized. This will help protect your skin from damage caused through continual hand washing.
Use a thick cream like Cutemol Emollient Dry Skin Cream and/or Cutemol Sensitive to care for your hands today!