Tips for Managing Dry Skin from Frequent Hand Washing and Sanitizing

Handwashing and sanitizing are vital to stop the spread of COVID-19, but they can dry out your skin if you don’t take the proper steps.

Here are our tips for keeping your hands happy and healthy during these difficult times.

Are You Washing Your Hands Properly?

It sounds almost too simple to help, but handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from contaminants, including the novel coronavirus. The CDC recommends that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds anytime they are visibly soiled, before eating, and after using the restroom. We also recommend handwashing or using sanitizer frequently anytime you’re out of your home, especially before touching your face, mouth, or eyes.

Why Does Handwashing Dry Out My Hands?

Since we are all washing our hands more often, many people are noticing incredibly dry skin. Some are even getting rashes and skin irritation from so much scrubbing.

Why does this happen? While soap and water wash away germs, they also wash away the natural protective oils on your skin. Your skin can crack as it dries, leading to more irritation and even potential infections. If you have pre-existing skin conditions, these may also be exacerbated by the frequent washing.

4 Ways to Keep Your Hands Looking and Feeling Their Best

Handwashing is our new normal, but that doesn’t mean you’re resigned to a life of dry, cracked hands. These tips will help keep your skin looking and feeling its best, despite constant washing.

  • Hydrate at night. All day long, you’re washing your hands to keep germs at bay, making it hard to restore moisture to the skin. Nighttime is the perfect time to reverse this trend. Apply a thin layer of intensive moisturizer (Vaseline, for example) and top with cotton gloves. While you sleep, your hands can soak up this much-needed moisturizer.
  • Stop using dish soap. Not all soaps are hand-friendly. Dish soaps are specifically created to remove grease and oils. When used on the hands, this means stripping away the protective, moisturizing layers on top of the skin. Instead, choose a gentle hand soap with moisturizing properties. Leave the dish soap for the dishes.
  • Moisturize after every washing. Each time you wash your hands, follow up with a quick coat of hand cream to seal in moisture and keeps your hands from drying out.
  • Could your hands use a cosmetic treatment? Injectable dermal fillers aren’t just for the face. We can use them to restore volume to the hands, camouflaging prominent tendons and veins in aging hands.
  • Fragrance. If you have especially sensitive skin, you may want to use fragrance-free products as fragrance can irritate sensitive skin.

Keep your hands and body healthy with these tips from Dr. Michael Clinton, the board-certified plastic surgeon at Clinton Plastic Surgery. We’ve enhanced our safety and sanitation measures and are available for in-office appointments. We invite you to contact us to schedule your visit to our office!