We are all doing the best we can to protect ourselves from coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control suggests that people should scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds to stop the spread of germs effectively. Though frequent hand washing is a reliable way to ward off illness, it can lead to and exacerbate dry skin issues. As a result, our hands are taking a beating! Do your hands look like this? This 11-year-old boy is doing a great job of protecting himself from infection, but his hands are not happy. Lucky for him, his mother is a dermatologist and is helping him to cope.
How to treat dry hands?
It is best to protect the hands when washing them often by:
• Using hand soap that is gentle and fragrance-free
• Applying thick, occlusive moisturizers throughout the day
• Applying moisturizer to damp skin to lock in water
• Avoiding hand creams that contain irritants, such as retinol or other anti-aging serums, allergens or fragrances
Generally speaking, something that is squeezed out of a tube is a thicker, more long-lasting product. Some products that are designated as hand creams have specific technology that allows them to remain on the skin even after 1 or 2 sessions of hand washing. That being said, we advise applying quality hand cream after every hand washing session. At our practice, we recommend patients use EltaMD Moisture Rich Body Crème and EltaMD Body Lotion for dry, cracked skin.
Hand sanitizer can also irritate the skin and lead to skin changes. Please follow the same guidelines as above when using hand sanitizer.
What should I do if moisturizing doesn’t help?
If your hands are not responding to the use of thick creams or ointments throughout the day, or if you are developing deep cracks in the skin, which are painful, please call and set up a teledermatology visit. We can likely help you get your hands back in better shape quickly with a topical prescription medication.
We are here to help you with all your dermatology needs during this crisis and after. Please reach out to us by either calling (978) 707-6208 or by filling out the form below.