A few months ago, we took simple acts like washing our hands for granted. Maybe we washed after using the restroom or going out in public, maybe we didn't - it wasn't a big deal.
However, as the spread of COVID 19 has taken hold of the planet and led to the shutdown of most of the world's countries, including Canada's major cities, washing our hands has become a staple of our daily routines. For people at the forefront of the battle against this motile virus, unfortunately, handwashing has become both their savior and their adversary. Dry hands are just one negative side effect of repetitive handwashing.
Repetitive handwashing in doctors, nurses, and other health professionals has led to flaky, cracked, and painful dryness in their hands. It may not seem like an overwhelming issue, but the longer COVID 19 sticks around, the more people will be forced to continually abuse their hands with harsh sanitizers and excessive handwashing.
But what if there was a better option? What if practicing good hand hygiene amongst this deadly virus didn't' have to come with negative side effects, even for nurses and doctors?
Keep reading to learn how to maintain healthy, hydrated skin during one of the scariest viral outbreaks in modern history.
Why Washing and Sanitizing Leads to Dry Hands
In order to understand how to remediate a problem, you must first learn why the problem exists in the first place. If you're wondering "Why are my hands so dry?" the truth can be found in the ingredients list of the soaps and sanitizers you're using.
Alcohol-based sanitizers are the most effective for killing germs and bacteria, and therefore, the most commonly used in hospitals and other health facilities. Unfortunately, constantly exposing your hands to alcohol-based sanitizers will dry them out, especially during viral outbreaks where hand sanitizing and washing increases tenfold.
The cleaning agents in both soaps and sanitizers destroy germs and bacteria, yes. However, they also damage the skin's natural moisture barrier that defends against further water loss.
The Effects of Dry, Flaky, and Cracked Hands
If you haven't experienced it yet for yourself, you may be wondering "What's so bad about a little dry skin?" In truth, increasingly dry skin can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort, as your hands become flaky, chapped, or cracked.
These conditions in your hands can make things like washing and using hand sanitizer unbearable. Moreover, having openings in your skin can make you even more vulnerable to contracting viruses like COVID 19.
Use Hand Moisturizer
To deal with dry hands, using a moisturizer is a must. Even before the outbreak of COVID 19, doctors have recommended regularly moisturizing with creams or lotions. The question is, which is better - lotion or hand cream?
Hand Cream Vs Lotion
In most cases, when dealing with incredibly dry skin, hand cream is going to be a better product than hand lotion. This is because the best dry hand cream products are thicker and provide a more effective moisture barrier.
Hand creams are versatile and can come in a jar or bottle, being dispensed through a pump or by hand. However, while it may be slightly more convenient for application, thinner lotion solutions evaporate faster, providing inadequate protection for severely dry hands.
Additionally, there are several moisturizing creams that are safe to use on both your hands and face. This is a must for people who tend towards dry skin, blemishes, acne, and more. In our opinion, the best hand lotion for dry hands isn't a lotion at all, it's hand cream.
When to Moisturize
Now that you know what products to use, you're probably wondering when to use them. What is the best time to moisturize?
While it may seem tedious, experts recommend moisturizing after each handwashing or hand-sanitizing. This practice is especially important when you're forced by circumstances to engage in washing and sanitizing more frequently. Remember, you're washing away your skin's hydrating oils and waxes every time you wash.
Additionally, we recommend applying a heavy coat of thick hand cream at night, just before bed. This will help your hands heal throughout the night when you're not using and abusing them.
However, this tactic is even more effective if you wear cotton gloves over your hands for as much of the night as possible. The gloves will help keep the moisture trapped while you sleep, rather than getting smeared off on your blankets or pillows.
The Benefits of Using Moisturizer
Moisturizers have a myriad of benefits. The most important one, of course, is rehydrating your hands. However, there are several other noteworthy perks of using a moisturizer:
- Moisturizer provides soft, healthy skin
- Moisturizer helps heal rough, cracked, and flaky skin
- Moisturizer feels and smells good
- Moisturizer can help conceal blemishes on the face and hands
- Moisturizer can help regenerate skin cells by increased blood flow while massaging the cream or lotion in
Ingredients to Avoid
When it comes to preventing dry hands, knowing what ingredients to avoid is key in understanding how to keep your skin healthy. You may not be able to avoid alcohol in sanitizers, but you can avoid other harmful ingredients in your skincare products. If a product lists Fragrance or Parfume under its ingredients list, for example, it means the smell comes from a mixture of chemicals.
Instead, look for fragrances that come from essential oils and other natural sources. Refer to the link above for more ingredients to steer clear from.
Try a Better Kind of Hand Sanitizer
What if you must continue using hand sanitizer but consistent moisturizing isn't an option? For the doctors, nurses, CNAs, and other health professionals reading this, you may be doubting your ability to moisturize after each handwashing or sanitizing. And you're probably right.
Fortunately, we've come up with the perfect solution.
The NENA Natural Hydrating Hand Sanitizer
Until COVID 19 has run its course, we know that people in all industries can't afford to stop washing or sanitizing their hands. To do so would be devastating. However, we also know that continuing to use sanitizer will only make your dry hands worse.
That's why we've engineered a hand sanitizer that kills harmful bacteria and germs while simultaneously working to rehydrate your skin. Our sanitizer contains 72 percent v/v ethyl alcohol (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol to be effective against COVID-19) to maintain efficacy but also contains glycerin, calendula, aloe vera, and glacial mineral water to help fight against the alcohol's drying effect. To help create a sense of freshness, our sanitizer also contains aromatic natural oils from lavender and litsea cubeba fruit.
Extra Tips to Prevent Skin Dryness
Before we wrap up, we think it's important you learn everything you can about preventing dry, chapped, flaky, and cracked skin. While moisturizers and our new hand sanitizer are absolutely vital to healing and preventing dry hands, there are other steps you should be taking as well.
Learn How to Wash Hands Appropriately
When washing your hands, it's important not to get too aggressive. Use the necessary amount of soap but not a thick lather, which can wash away even more of your natural skin oils. You should also avoid harsh soaps and detergents.
Additionally, use warm or cold water, not hot water. Hot water can damage your keratin cells that reside on the outer layer of your skin. This makes it easier for your skin to dry out and become irritated.
When drying your hands, take your time to dab or pat your skin dry, rather than rubbing it. Rubbing your skin dry can pull off the remaining oils on your skin and will also cause irritation and dryness.
Finally, remember to apply hand cream or another moisturizer once you've finished.
To some level, you're only as healthy on the outside as you are on the inside. One of the best ways to avoid dry hands is by staying hydrated throughout the day. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water.
As a healthcare professional, we know how busy your day can be, running around from one patient's room to the next. However, you should try to bring a water bottle to work with you and commit to drinking several bottles a day.
Use an Air Humidifier
Finally, consider using an air humidifier in your home. You probably can't control the humidity at your place of work, but you can keep the air more humid in your bedroom. The added moisture in the air will help hydrate your skin while you sleep.
Looking for More Help Keeping Your Skin Happy and Healthy?
We're living in scary and somewhat unprecedented times. While the world has seen several viral outbreaks in the past, COVID 19 is by far the most significant in our modern world. Stay consistent while practicing good hygiene habits, such as social distancing and handwashing.
But remember, you're not alone. As a country, as a planet, we are all experiencing the same fears. While we're not completely out of the woods yet, this event will soon pass and become a part of history.
Until then, stay safe and do what you can to maintain the best quality of life possible. Stay social with technology and social media, spend intimate time with the people in your household, and take some time to explore new and old hobbies alike.
And if you need any help with skincare or excessive dry hands from overwashing, you know where to find us. Check out some of our other articles, shop our online store, or contact us today with any questions or concerns.