Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and overwinter, the one piece of health advice that we keep hearing is that we need to be washing our hands regularly and thoroughly. According to health officials, it’s the most effective way to prevent the spread COVID-19, the flu and winter colds – you can read MiNDFOOD’s healthy handwashing guide right here.
But all the washing and scrubbing can leave hands dehydrated, sore and some dermatologists are even reporting an increase in patients presenting with eczema. The arrival of cooler weather and lower humidity can exacerbate the problem too.
Once hands become dry, cracked and sore it is often hard to find the right remedy – especially if you need to keep washing them thoroughly and regularly.
Because prevention is the best medicine when it comes to dry, unhappy hands we’ve rounded up our top tips for caring for hands over the coming weeks.
Take extra care of sensitive skin
Washing hands thoroughly is key to preventing the spread of germs, yet all that washing can quickly strip the skin of protective oils that usually keep hands well hydrated. Those who suffer from dry skin will want to take extra precautions to avoid exacerbating the problem.
Considering using gloves when doing anything that might further irritate skin – washing dishes, cleaning and gardening. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is a good alternative for those that suffer from dry skin. An alcohol-based formula will kill microbes while irritating skin less than soap and water.
Dab dry, don’t rub
While it can be tempting to grab the nearest hand towel and rub your hands until they’re completely dry, softly patting your hands dry is much gentler on skin in the long run.
Lock in the moisture
Using a moisturiser on your hands as soon as they are dry will help keep them hydrated right around the clock. If you suffer from sensitive or dry skin or your hands are starting to feel sore and irritated from washing them more than usual, it is best to opt for a pared-back moisturiser that has been formulated with skin sensitivites in mind. Look for fragrance-free formulations and avoid products that include ingredients such as retinol which could further irritate already unhappy skin.
Up your pampering game
Chances are your skin won’t be the only thing suffering from all that washing. All that soap, warm water and hand sanitiser can contribute to nail breakage too. Due to its high alcohol content, hand sanitiser can be particularly damaging for nails. If you’re noticing that your nails aren’t as strong as they once were, it’s probably time to up your game when it comes to pampering nail products. Using hand cream every time after you wash will help prevent nail splitting, breaking and cracking. Add a dab of vitamin-enriched cuticle oil to keep your cuticles cared for too.