The Coronavirus pandemic has changed how we interact with each other, but it’s also changed our hygiene habits. As we’re sure you’ve heard, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to wash or sanitize your hands regularly. Indeed, the CDC recommends scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap to stop the spread of both coronavirus germs and other infectious bacteria.
Hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick, however, they aren’t as effective as soap. Unfortunately, while soap gets rid of dirt and germs, it also peels the natural protective oils from your hands, leading to dry skin. That can make you more susceptible to coronavirus and other diseases, as germs can get into the cracks in your dry skin.
To help protect you and keep you healthy, here are some do’s and don’ts on how to have hands that are both clean and moisturized.
- After washing, pat your hands dry rubbing them can cause skin irritation.
- Moisturize with hand cream or petroleum jelly. This will seal in moisture and keep your skin nice and soft.
- Carry a tube of hand cream and avoid sharing it with others.
- Use moisturizer and soap that contain occlusives, humectants, and emollients, which keep your skin protected and hydrated.
- Moisturize before bed as well as after you’ve sanitized them.
- After moisturizing, wear cotton gloves for at least one hour to enforce rehydration.
- In cases of chronically dry skin (such as if you have eczema), wear liquid Band-Aids over particularly cracked skin.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and will help clear your skin and improve acne (bonus!).
- Use hand sanitizers with a higher alcohol percentage. Although hand sanitizer isn’t as effective as soap, it’s good for when you are on the go. If it’s more purely alcohol, there will be less unnecessary irritants.
- Wear gloves as much as possible when going out to protect yourself from germs and to reduce how much you wash your hands.
- As stated above, don’t rub your hands to dry them, blot them to avoid irritation.
- Avoid fragranced soaps.
- Use liquid soap instead of bar soap. The materials that help bar soap keep its shape can chap your skin
- Don’t rush hand washing. It’s best to scrub for 20 seconds for maximum hygiene, but be gentle. Washing them quickly and aggressively will aggravate your skin.
- Avoid creams with irritants like anti-aging serums (including retinol) or fragrances.
- Don’t moisturize your hands with body lotion; body lotion often has high water quantity, which evaporates quickly, leaving skin even drier. Hand cream is the most nourishing and typically contains oil instead of water.
- Try not to overwash. Of course, it is crucial to wash our hands often, but doing it too much will break away protective oils.