If you have been washing your hands too much these days, you’re certainly not alone. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve been advised to clean our hands more frequently. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of infections. By cleaning your hands with lukewarm water and soap, you can alleviate your exposure to COVID-19.
Every time you wash your hands, you draw moisture out of your skin and strips off its natural oils. This situation is made worse when you add in hot water and harsh soaps. Washing your hands too much may result in dry, red, and chapped skin. In more severe cases, you may experience itchiness, irritation, and cracks in the skin. Cracked skin is a particularly serious concern, since these cracks may increase your risk of infection.
While washing your hands is absolutely essential for your personal hygiene, it’s important to clean them the right way to keep your skin healthy. If you are washing your hands too much, follow these seven skin care remedies to make sure you’re protecting the skin on your hands:
1. Wash your hands with the right soap
The soap that you use plays a big part in how your skin will react. Many soaps have the tendency to strip moisture from the skin and cause dryness. You may think using an antibacterial soap will give you extra protection from COVID-19, but it’s actually not necessary. In fact, these types of soaps can cause dryness in your skin.
For the best skin care remedy, choose a soap that is moisturizing, with a creamy consistency. It’s a good idea to pick a liquid soap over a soap bar, because bars have ingredients that tend to be more drying. When you’re scrubbing your hands with soap, try to not be too vigorous, since this may irritate your skin.
2. Soak your hands with lukewarm water
You may think that using blisteringly hot water will be more effective in killing germs. However, increasing the water temperature doesn’t have a direct correlation in its effectiveness. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils. When you are washing your hands too much in hot water, this will dry out your skin more easily.
Your best bet is to use lukewarm water to wash your hands. This is still a comfortable temperature that will keep your hands free of bacteria. Remember, it is recommended to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Make sure to wash your palms, the backs of hands, in between fingers, wrists, and fingernails.
3. Dry your hands carefully
Pay attention to how you dry your hands after washing them. For the most sanitary method, paper towels should be used. If you’re using a cloth towel, make sure everyone in your household has their own separate towel. These towels should also be replaced every three days.
When you’re drying your hands, act gently to avoid skin irritation. The key is to be careful and thorough with your hand drying, instead of being forceful with your movements. Make sure your hands are completely dry, as germs can transfer more easily on wet hands.
4. Moisturize your hands after washing
Moisturizing is essential when you have been washing your hands too much. A good moisturizing hand cream will keep your skin smooth and healthy. If possible, use a hand cream rather than a hand lotion. Lotions tend to contain more water components, so they may not be as effective for moisturizing your skin.
The best time to apply moisturizer is while you’re drying your hands. Wait until your hands are almost completely dry, but still a little damp, and then apply the hand cream. This moisturizing hand cream will help to seal the water into the skin.
5. Wear gloves while washing dishes
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, your hands may come into contact with water every time you wash the dishes. As a result, you may end up washing your hands too much, even if this wasn’t your original intention! While you’re washing the dishes, don’t forget to wear gloves. Most dish soaps are not skin friendly, and if you use hot water as well, this can lead to significant damage on your skin.
You should also wear gloves when doing any form of cleaning. With the COVID-19 pandemic looming upon us, you are more likely to do more cleaning around the house. As you clean, be careful since household cleaning products may have harsher ingredients that contribute to irritable skin. Protect the skin on your hands with a pair of strong, sturdy gloves.
6. Give your hands extra remedy at night
During daytime, you probably don’t want to apply a thick and greasy cream on your hands. At night, however, this is the perfect stretch of time to give your hands some extra TLC while you sleep. You can apply this skin care remedy at bedtime, right before you go to bed and catch some beauty sleep.
To wake up with baby smooth skin, apply a thick cream on your hands. Follow up by wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed. The gloves will keep your hands moisturized all night, so you’ll have super soft hands in the morning.
7. Check the humidity levels in your home
Your hands could be affected by low humidity levels in your home. Dry skin is common during colder months when there’s less humidity in the air, especially when combined with the central heating systems in our homes. Regardless of the temperature, you should monitor the humidity levels in your home.
You can check the humidity level in your home by using a hygrometer device. The ideal humidity level in your home is between 40%-50%. Using a humidifier is a great way to increase the home’s humidity and will help to alleviate your dry skin problems.