As the numbers of infected patients are increasing during COVID-19 epidemic, the most effective way to protect you is to do the hand washing. However, over-washing our skin, it may lead to skin issues, with dry and cracked skin. Here is how to take care for your skin after washing hands.
How should we wash our hands to against disease?
- Frequently wash hands with soap and running water, remember to scrub all of surface at least 20 seconds, especially when you are in the public places or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, including direct contact with secretion such as saliva, nasal discharge
- In case you are not able to wash your hand, you can use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol
- Avoid to touch your eyes, nose, mouth or facial area before hand-washing
Clean hands according to WHO instruction
- Rub your hands palm-to-palm in circle motions
- Put your palm over back of the other hand with interlaced finger
- Rub your hands palm-to-palm with finger interacted
- Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
- Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
- Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
- Rub both wrists in a rotating manner
- Dry your hand with a single-use-towel
- Use towel to turn off faucet
pic by WHO; Hand Hygiene: Why How and When?2
Ironically, frequent washing hand or using hand sanitizer can cause dryness or flaking, in some severe cases also lead to have a rash, blister or psoriasis.
Why frequent washing hand can cause dry skin?
Though frequent washing hand or using alcohol-bases hand sanitizer can get rid of germ and decrease the risk of infection, you may lead to skin irritation. Because stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis which acts as a skin barrier, will be striped the natural oil and cause the skin moisture loss. You may experience dermatitis, dryness, redness flaking or cracked skin. In some severe case, it also causes dyshidrosis, as well as skin infection.
Tips for keeping your hand moisturized
- Immediately dry your hands after washing
- After using hand sanitizer and drying hands, just apply moisturizer
- Choose a suitable skincare, use hand ointment or cream instead of lotion as these are more effective. Lotion, which is primary water-based, can dry out the skin since water evaporates
- In case of dry or cracked skin, should apply ointment or plain petrolatum at dry area
- Lotion and cream containing fragrances, preservatives or some solvents, may cause irritation or allergy, in these cases, hypo-allergenic is recommended. Also, symptom observing is needed for 1 week after starts using
- If you have skin problems, you can choose antibiotics containing moisturizer
- Soft-soap is better than bar soap, because the pH of most bar soaps is not suitable for dry skin
- Warm water can cause your hand drier, so avoid washing hand with warm water
- In some patients who use medication containing corticosteroid, frequently apply skincare can decrease side effect of medication. In case of bacterial skin infection, can be treated with antibiotics
Apart from fighting against COVID-19, everyone should not forget to take care of your skin, in order to have the better and healthier skin.