The coronavirus may not have a cure yet but the one precautionary measure to avoid contracting it is pretty basic – wash your hands like your life (literally) depends on it. But constantly washing our hands does come with a minor but chafing (pun intended) side effect. The more you wash your hands, the more you risk excess dryness, chafed skin or triggering eczema/contact dermatitis type reactive conditions. In the large scheme of things, this is a very very small cross to bear and one with a pretty straightforward solution – moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Taking care of our hands has never been more important. Not only are we aggressively washing our hands with harsh soaps these days, we are also exposed to high percentage alcohol in hand sanitisers that are extremely drying. The only way to keep our hands from feeling like sandpaper is to keep them moisturised at all times. And here’s how to do it right.
USE A CREAM IMMEDIATELY AFTER WASHING HANDS
Use a cream or lotion immediately after each time you wash your hands. Applying creams to damp skin will help prevent excessive water loss and lock in moisture.
LAYER & LOCK IN AT NIGHT
Treat the skin on your hands before going to bed as well. Skin naturally regenerates overnight, hence a generous layering of moisturiser or cream with nourishing ingredients can help to repair sooth the damage done by washing your hands every waking second of the day. If you have extremely dry, flaking skin then try wearing gloves to lock in the layers of moisturising product. Disposable rubber gloves are the best option.
READ THE LABEL – ALL CREAMS ARE NOT MADE THE SAME
Looking for emollients and humectants in your hand cream is the informed and effective thing to do. Humectant ingredients attract and retain moisture in skin and emollients smooth skin by settling in the cracks between cells. Emollients are ingredients such as lanolin, jojoba oil, isopropyl palmitate, propylene glycol linoleate, squalene, and glycerol stearate. Humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, propylene glycerol, urea, and lactic acid. Shea butter is a personal favourite of mine, it leaves the skin on your hands a satisfied kind of soft and soothed as it has both humectant and emollient properties.