Remember in the early days of the pandemic, when everyone was vigorously washing their hands? I was definitely one of them too. And unfortunately my hands got the dry end of the stick, so to speak. My google search history was filled with questions like: “dry hands”, “home remedies for dry hands” and “how to care for dry hands”. Here’s a complied list of things that I found that worked for me, and what didn’t. I hope you find this useful, and if you tried something else that worked for you, do let me know!
How To Care For Dry Hands During Coronavirus?
Read the ingredients, aside from the obvious: avoiding your allergens; go one step further and actually understand the components that go in your soap and hand lotions. I’ve done some posts covering this topic here. Also remember your hands are washing the rest of your body too. So every time you wash your face or your hair, you are inadvertently washing your hands with them. So keep a moisturizer handy (pun intended) and try to minimize direct contact with harsh chemicals even while cleaning your house.
Hand washing — Do’s and don’ts
Yes, frequent hand washing is substantially more effective than any other measure in protecting your health. But here’s what we recommend you do to care for your dry hands:
- Always use mild, fragrance-free soap as they are more gentle on your hands.
- Similarly, avoid using too much soap, or products that creates a thick lather.
- Better still, find soaps that are rich in moisturizing ingredients such as avocado oil, argan or coconut oil.
Avoid over sanitizing
Alcohol can really dry out your skin. We have spoken about this previously here. Unfortunately not sanitizing is not an option when on the move, but if possible see if you can wear a glove that you can disinfect instead. Obviously this is not an environmentally safe option, so I would recommend doing this only to places where wearing gloves is mandatory to enter (like some private businesses) or in case you have severe clinical dryness and have been medically recommended to do so.
Using a reusable gloves for this purpose is not recommended by experts as the removal and re-wearing process may do you more harm than good if not done correctly. If all else fails, try to make a conscious effort not to touch things unnecessarily when outside and minimize exposure in all other ways possible. Also when at home, try to use gentle soap based cleaners than sanitizers.
Did you know that dry skin increases your risk of picking up germs?
Moisturize after sanitizing
You’d probably know this by now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol in them to kill all the germs. However, this concentration of alcohol can be very drying for your hands. So each time you use the sanitizer, first let it air dry, and then immediately apply your moisturizer. Make this a ritual.
Moisturize when your hands are still damp
After you have washed your hands, dry them with a clean towel, but make sure you leave some water on them. Remember, the right way to apply your moisturizer is while your hands are still slightly damp.
Remember how we talked about layering your skincare products? That works on hands too – layer on a thick sealant over your hand cream. Sometimes I add reusable gloves on top and leave them on for 30-minutes, so it doesn’t rub off while I’m working on something else.
Reusable is the key word here, your gloves are for your own use at home only, so it’s okay to clean and use them again. Find out what works for you, personally I choose to cut the fingers off mine to make them more comfortable to wear.
It is advisable to use creams and ointments instead of lotions and other lightweight products. Even Vaseline does a great job as a sealant, or an occlusive layer.
Moisturize from inside out
This one seems obvious. But it’s the most important point to talk about. Are you using the right moisturizer? Drinking enough water (caffeinated and carbonated drinks don’t count)? Don’t forget to moisturize often, not just when your hands feel dry. Like the Maskne post from earlier – sometimes it’s just the simple things we may be forgetting to do.
Dry hands are irritating, I know. But for the most part, they are treatable.
Disclaimer: In case you suspect you may have an underlying skin condition or your dryness is getting worse instead of better, I recommend talking to a dermatologist.
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