Frequent hand washing strains the skin – so you take countermeasures!
In order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, we should wash our hands more often and thoroughly. However, this can put a lot of strain on the skin: dry, rough and irritated skin is often the result. Dr. Dawn Davis, a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic, gives tips on how to properly wash, dry, and care for our hands.
1. Gentle washing
In order to clean the hands as gently as possible, Dr. recommends Davis in an interview with the Mayo Clinic, preferring to use solid soap rather than liquid soap. Solid soap usually contains fewer chemicals and removes less moisture from the skin. You should also make sure that the soap is hypoallergenic and free of irritants and perfume. If in doubt, get advice in business.
The water temperature during washing should be pleasantly warm, not hot, since hot water dries out the skin more. For germs to be killed, hands should be washed for at least twenty seconds.
Be sure to thoroughly soap the areas between your fingers, your thumbs, under rings, on the back of your hand, and around your wrists. You should also be careful when rinsing off, as soap residue on the skin can cause irritation.
2. Gentle drying
When you dry your hands, be careful with them. Dr. Dawn Davis advises drying the skin with dabbing movements rather than rubbing it dry. Although paper towels are certainly the most hygienic option, they are not good for the environment and according to Dr. Davis not for the skin either. Instead, the expert recommends the following:
“I would suggest that linen, for example a cotton towel, be preferred to a paper towel. But it is better to use either a paper or cotton towel than to let your hands air dry. Air drying only dries out more of the skin through diffusion and evaporation of moisture from the skin, and if you then shake hands dry you could contaminate the surfaces if there are any germs on the skin. ”
3. Proper care
Accompanying increased hand washing, care should also be taken to ensure proper care, the expert emphasizes.
Lotion, cream or ointment?
After washing and drying the hands, the task is to restore the lost moisture to the skin. According to the dermatologist, there are three options: lotions, creams or ointments.
Lotions have a higher water content and less fat, they absorb quickly, but also evaporate faster, so that the care does not last as long.
Creams already have a lower water content and more fat, they move in more slowly, but already care more.
Anoint draw according to Dr. Davis does not one, but form a protective layer over the skin. This is how they slow down the evaporation process, through which the skin normally loses moisture. The expert explains the effect of ointments: “You can think of them as a greenhouse roof or a lid. They essentially prevent or slow down the evaporation that occurs naturally through the skin. ”
With all three options, you should make sure that the products do not contain any allergy-causing substances.
After each wash, a lotion or cream should be applied to the hands and gently massaged in, also between the fingers and around the wrists. If you notice that the simple cream does not last long enough, Dr. recommends Davis, apply the care several times or in different layers:
“If you feel that your hands are not wet enough, just wait 30 seconds to a minute and then reapply them. You definitely benefit from a second application. If you think your skin needs more help, you could apply a cream or lotion first. Then in the second application, apply an ointment to seal it like a roof, which creates a kind of greenhouse effect. ”
If this additional care is also not sufficient, for example because you have very dry or very sensitive skin, you can intensify it further, according to the dermatologist, as follows: First, apply one or two layers of lotion or cream to your hands. Then cover them with a layer of ointment, such as petroleum jelly. You can pull cotton stockings over it and let the care take effect, preferably overnight.
Extra tip: Intensive care wrap with vinegar at night
A nightly wrap provides even more intensive care with the support of vinegar. Dr. Dawn Davis reveals how to do it:
“Wash your hands before bed and pat them dry. Apply two layers of your thickest, most effective hypoallergenic lotion or cream, no ointments. Ointments will not penetrate the skin. Put a teaspoon of white vinegar in a glass or small bowl of warm water and soak two clean washcloths. Wring them out and wrap them around your hands. Cover your hands with socks. “
What is the effect of the vinegar? According to the expert, vinegar helps the skin to establish a healthy pH. The heat helps open the skin pores. This way, the care substances can get into the skin better and deeper, explains Dr. Davis. (kh)
Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig
- Sparks, Dana: Taking care of your skin with increased hand-washing; (published 04/17/2020), Mayo Clinic
This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.