How to take care of your hands during covid-19
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Hand washing at this crucial time is imperative in keeping the Covid-19 virus under control and it is something we should not skimp on. But with constant exposure to water, soap, hand gels and harsh antiseptics, the risk of developing dry skin is unavoidable.
Now is the time to establish a daily committed hand care routine.
WHAT IS DRY SKIN?
Dry skin is characterised by the lack of moisture within the epidermis (top layer of the skin) when water levels are low, minute cracks and fissures start to appear causing loss of water into the atmosphere. This loss of water is called TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) lack of water within the skin causes defect in the skins natural barrier function, depleting the skin of it's natural oils and Ph balance which is essential for good skin health and therefore compromising the integrity of the skin.
Dry skin can vary from being mild to more severe. The latter causes deeper fissures that can become irritated and sore. If not managed properly this could lead to contact dermatitis or eczema.
So to help you manage and minimise the impact of frequent hand washing it is recommended to carry out the following routine.
WASH your hands for 20 seconds as advised by the department of health, using soap and water or a hand sanitiser when out and about. (don't forget the happy birthday song!)
DRY your hands thoroughly by patting preferably with a clean disposable towel. Avoid rubbing.
MOISTURISE after every wash using an emollient. An emollient softens the skin, locks in moisture and allows the skin to repair itself from the outside in.
EXTRA MOISTURE for those of you who are experiencing very dry hands, overnight moisturising can be beneficial. This can involve applying a thick layer of an emollient moisturiser on your hands followed by a clean pair of cotton gloves to be worn overnight.
An alternative is a lighter cream applied during the day and a thicker cream at night.
SEE YOUR GP OR PHARMACIST If you are experiencing consistent weeping and inflammation of the skin. A prescriptive intervention is required.
MORE TIPS TO HELP PROTECT YOUR HANDS AND MINIMISE THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS
Always wear gloves (nitril) when carrying out household duties such as washing up, cleaning, bathing children etc, this will help create a barrier for your skin
Try to resist picking or biting your nails, instead do other things with your hands such as moisturising them, squeezing a soft/stress ball or fiddle with a piece of jewellery hanging around your wrist.
Wear gloves when taking a trip to the shops or using public transport
And most important of all, refrain from touching your face as this will reduce the risk of spreading the virus
Struggling to find the right hand cream? You can start by using whatever cream you have available but for those of you who's hands are extremely dry and irritated then below are some examples of clinically proven products.
REMEMBER wash, pat dry and moisturise