How to avoid dry skin when washing your hands

Help prevent the spread of germs while keeping your skin looking and feeling its best with this valuable skincare advice

Hair & Beauty

With the message of health professionals being 'wash your hands' to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (or COVID-19 as it's officially called), many of us have adopted a more stringent hygeine routine.

However, some people have discovered that a quick rinse isn't enough. Despite the NHS having promoted washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds for years, it's only with the rapid spread of this new virus that we're all singing 'Happy Birthday' to our hands while we're washing them.

One good thing that's come out of all of this is, of course, the memes. If you're tired of singing Happy Birthday, there are plenty of other songs which fit that 20 second minimum. For example, the intro to Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, Toxic by Kehlani, or even the chorus of Sisqo's 90s banger, Thong Song:

#WashYourLyrics - Thong Song

However, while we're spending at least half of our day washing our hands and using sanitizer, many of us are finding that our new hygeine habits are leading to dry and cracked skin.

This skin condition is called 'dermatitis', and it's unlikely to cause you any immediate health problems - nor is it contagious - but it can be irritating. Especially when you've just had a new manicure and you want to show it off while you're still out of quarantine.

In light of the pandemic sweeping the world, NHS Medical Doctor Dr Ejikeme has provided her tips on staying safe while avoiding dermatitis:

  • Washing over sanitiser: washing with soap and water for 15-30 seconds is better than hand sanitiser. Sanitiser is great on the go but there is no need to apply it after washing. Sanitiser has a high alcohol content so is very drying on the skin.
  • Don't over-wash: washing after using the toilet and being in public spaces, yes - but there is no need to wash your hands every 10 minutes, which will dry the hands out. Do make sure to wash your hands before touching your face or caring for anyone else.
  • Water FIRST, then soap: place water on your hands before soap to help reduce irritation.
  • Hand cream is King: after washing, apply hand cream to avoid the skin drying out and apply regularly throughout the day.
  • For the super dry: if you find your hands are already itchy, dry or peeling, use a barrier cream such as lanolin or Vaseline and cover any areas of cracked skin.

Our top picks for happy hands

As Dr Ejikeme mentioned, you should apply hand cream after washing and throughout the day if you want to soothe your dry skin. Even if you don't already have dry skin, you can apply hand cream regularly as a precautionary measure.

Here are our favourite hand creams to keep your skin in tip-top shape:

Aesop Hand Cream
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, £21
Mario Badescu Hand Cream
Mario Badescu Rose Hand Cream with Vitamin E, £7.75
Grown Alchemist Hand Cream
Grown Alchemist Hand Cream: Vanilla & Orange Peel, £17

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