Washing your hands is one of the simplest and most effective ways of protecting yourself and others against coronavirus. But is all the hand washing and hand sanitising playing havoc with your skin?
The government recommend that we wash our hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds. This dissolves the fat membrane around the virus, making it fall apart and become inactive. But what if your hands are really dry and irritated? Maybe you are suffering with eczmea or dermatitis.
Not all soap is equal in terms of its kindness to your skin. If you switch your soap from the liquid kind to a bar, you’ll more than likely be using something that is kinder to your skin. Liquid soaps typically contain sulphates which make the product bubble, but is known to be a drying chemical ingredient. Switch to a natural bar of soap and you’ll find none of these irritating additives, just pure and natural skin loving oils and butters. You’ll also have the added bonus of cutting down on plastic in your home too.
Washing your hands with soap and water is great when you’re home, but what about when you are out of the house and need something for when you’re on the go. We’ve all been liberally spritzing and pouring hand sanitiser on our hands during the outbreak. The skin on our hands is thinner than on the rest of our body, so it needs an extra bit of TLC. If you can get your hands on a hand sanitiser with added moisturising ingredients like glycerin, it’ll mitigate the drying effects of the alcohol. We should all be looking for sanitisers with 70% alcohol to kill coronavirus.
Other tips include drying your hands really well after washing them. If you don’t, the water will evaporate from your skin and dry it out. If your hands are really sore, pat them dry instead of rubbing them. Moisture left between your fingers can cause soreness.
Wear gloves when your are doing house work, washing up or gardening. If your hands are particularly irritated, you may need to consider wearing gloves every time your hands come into contact with water and detergents, this includes when washing your own or your child’s hair with shampoo. Now might be the time to swop to a natural shampoo bar with no chemicals.
Apply a sunscreen to your hands when you’re going outside. Treat your hands as you would your face as they can quickly show signs of ageing if you neglect them.
This is a really obvious one, but use hand cream regularly. There are fewer oil glands in our hands, so you’ll really see the benefits of an oil based hand cream. Its easy to forget to reapply it during the day, so maybe leave a pot on your kitchen windowsill to remind yourself, and definitely leave one on your bedside table. Make it the last thing you do at night before you switch off your light. Supercharge the moisturising effect by wearing a pair of cotton gloves overnight.