Hand Care Tips to Protect Your Skin
From rough winter weather to drying hand sanitizers, life can be hard on your hands. With COVID-19 safety still our number one priority, it has never been more important to protect the delicate skin on your hands and ensure the necessary skin barrier remains intact.
How More Frequent Hand Washing Damages Your Skin
It may sound paradoxical, but the more you wash your hands to prevent infection, the more susceptible to pathogens you could become. Cleansing your skin of any bacteria or germs is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, the more you wash or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, the drier and more cracked the skin on your hands becomes.
Dry skin compromises your skin barrier, the outermost layer of your epidermis that acts as a watertight seal to keep moisture in and harmful environmental stressors out. When your skin barrier becomes dry, cracked, or fissured, it can provide the very bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites you’re trying to keep out of your body with a shortcut right into your skin.
Why It Is Essential to Restore Your Skin's Moisture
In a recent survey of skin damage among health care workers managing coronavirus, 74.5% reported damage to hand skin from enhanced infection prevention measures, like hand washing or sanitizing. When your skin barrier is compromised, you have a higher risk of developing various conditions such as irritant contact dermatitis and other inflammatory skin disorders, which are preventable. A lack of hand care can result in inflamed, dry skin or trigger a flare of eczema or atopic dermatitis. Therefore, it is paramount to repair the skin barrier with the right ingredients that your dry, overwashed skin needs.
What I Recommend for Hydrated, Healthy Hands
If you have a “normal” skin type that does not lean towards too oily or too dry, you can likely treat your hands as you would the rest of your body and use your body moisturizer as a hand cream. Of course, if you are experiencing severe eczema or atopic dermatitis, you will want to visit a dermatologist for custom-tailored and more powerful solutions to properly hydrate and repair your essential skin barrier.
My general recommendations for healthy hands include the iS Clinical Hand Sanitizer Spray for eliminating germs, the Bioderma Soothing Balm for adding moisture (remember that moisturizer must be reapplied after every hand wash!), and the Supergoop SPF to prevent sun damage.
For a more preventative, age-defying approach, I recommend microneedling the hands with Environ’s Body Roller at night before bed. Follow with Environ’s Derma-lac Lotion, and then apply a layer of Environ’s Vitamin A, C and E Body Oil Forte. Do this consistently every night for optimal results!