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Amid the Covid-19 crisis, washing our hands is more important than ever to keep ourselves, and those around us healthy. But, intense washing and use of sanitiser can cause dryness and itching.
If these symptoms develop into cuts or cracking, they can unfortunately lead to other infections like dermatitis, so looking after your hands is essential.
NHS doctor, DR Ejikeme has shared her top tips on how to stay safe while avoiding dryness.
Top tips for soothing dry hands
1.Choose washing over sanitiser where possible
Washing with soap and water for 20-30 seconds is better than hand sanitiser. Sanitiser is great on the go but there is no need to apply it after washing. Sanitiser has a high alcohol content so is very drying on the skin.
2. Don’t over-wash
Washing your hands after using the toilet and being in public spaces is important, yes – but there is no need to wash your hands every 10 minutes, which will dry the hands out. Do make sure to wash your hands before touching your face or caring for anyone else.
3. Water FIRST, then soap
Place water on your hands before adding soap to help reduce irritation.
4. Apply hand cream
After washing, apply hand cream to avoid the skin drying out and apply regularly throughout the day.
5. Treat very dry hands differently
If you find your hands are already itchy, dry or peeling, use a barrier cream such as lanolin or Vaseline and cover any areas of cracked skin.
6. Dry your hands properly
Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of Green People and an expert in organic beauty says, ‘Drying your hands thoroughly is as important as washing them regularly. Not only will excess soap cling to the skin, putting it at risk of irritation and dryness, but damp, wet hands will attract more germs than dry, clean ones.’
7. Wear gloves when cleaning
‘Detergents and washing-up liquids can contain harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances and SLS,’ explains Charlotte. These ingredients can aggravate already sensitised skin and are best avoided when you are suffering with dry skin or eczema on your hands. If you’re doing the cleaning or washing up, always pop on a pair of protective, waterproof gloves to protect your hands.’
8. Rehydrate hands overnight
‘Very dry hands can benefit from an overnight hand mask. Apply a hand cream that’s rich in nourishing actives just before bed and, for extra intense hydration, wear cotton gloves whilst you sleep,’ advises Charlotte.
Hand creams to try
A really useful way to make a difference in the current pandemic, for every product bought, Nursem will donate a free month’s supply of handcream to a nurse or midwife. Non-greasy and fast-absorbing, a little goes a long way.
A heavy-duty hydrator, this cream is super thick and really rich. Drawing water from the air, it forms a protective barrier over skin to prevent against future moisture loss.
Relieves the symptoms of sore hands for up to eight hours. Vitamin E helps to protect against environmental factors which could exasperate the issue. It smells lovely too, the kind of treat we all need.
Organic relief for sore hands, this is formulated with squalene from olives. As a natural emollient, it increases moisture levels in the skin and locks in hydration. Redness is soothed and irritation calmed.