Expert Pitch
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

COVID-19: How to care for dry hands after washing them so much

More people are upping up their hand washing game now that the CDC and health officials have emphasized that regular hand washing is imperative to helping curb the spread of COVID-19. 

But there’s one step we all tend to forget after washing our hands or applying hand sanitizer – that critical layer of hand cream. Ironically, by over-washing our skin, we can develop dry cracks in the skin, giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies. 

Sara Hogan, MD, a dermatologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, shares some best practices on how to treat signs of over-washing like pain, redness, flaking and itching. 

Why is handwashing so harsh on our skin?

The outermost layer of our skin is composed of oils and wax, and it acts as both a shield from the outside and a guard that maintains natural moisture in the skin. This natural barrier is broken down by the suds created by soap while washing hands, which does not discriminate between unwanted oil, germs, debris and natural oils in the skin. Not applying hand cream can lead to dryness, redness, itching, flaking, discomfort and in severe cases, cracks in the skin. Those with preexisting dermatologic conditions like eczema can experience worsening symptoms. 

How should we wash our hands to avoid skin dryness?

Apply enough mild, fragrance-free soap to remove dirt, but avoid using so much that it creates a thick lather—this washes away natural oils. Wash with warm, not hot water, for at least 20 seconds, patting your hands dry with a towel. Once your hands are dry, apply a moisturizer immediately. Keep small travel sizes of creams in purse, gym bag, and at your work desk to make sure it is within reach. 

Are there any ingredients people should avoid when their skin is chapped?

Products that contain fragrance can be irritating to chapped, sensitive skin. Creams and ointments are better than lotions. Hand sanitizers with too much alcohol can be drying to chapped skin. You can try a hand sanitizer with a moisturizing base, just know that it will not be as effective in killing viruses. 

Are there common misconceptions about what to look for in hand creams?

Use hand ointment or cream instead of a lotion as these are more effective. Petrolatum (Vaseline) is still the most effective moisturizer out there. 

Are there other treatments besides hands creams that people should consider?

At nighttime before going to bed, apply thick moisturizer and then cover with cotton gloves to increase absorption. Beauty product junkies can consider a moisturizing mask for hands. These glove-like masks are applied for 20 minutes, then washed off. Consider a humidifier at night—raising the humidity level in a room can help dry skin.

 

Sara Hogan is a health sciences clinical instructor at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a dermatologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica

 

Please contact Jane Murcia at 310-871-7525 or [email protected] for Dr. Hogan's availability. 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5639
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-May-2021 2:40 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Access to overdose-reversing drugs declined during pandemic, researchers find
Beth Israel Lahey Health

In a new study, clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) analyzed naloxone prescription trends during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and compared them to trends in opioid prescriptions and to overall prescriptions.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT
No Excuses: Stop Procrastinating on These Key Health Checks
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

A quick guide to the most-valuable preventive care that adults need to get scheduled, to catch up on what they may have missed during the height of the pandemic, and to address issues that the pandemic might have worsened.

Released: 13-May-2021 7:05 PM EDT
FLCCC Statement on the Irregular Actions of Public Health Agencies & the Disinformation Campaign Against Ivermectin
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

FLCCC Alliance calls for whistleblower to step forward from within WHO, the FDA, the NIH, Merck, or Unitaid to counter this misrepresentation

Newswise: shutterstock_1724336896.jpg
Released: 13-May-2021 12:55 PM EDT
Kreuter receives $1.9 million in grants to increase vaccinations in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Matthew Kreuter, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health at the Brown School, has received $1.9 million in grants to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among Blacks in St. Louis City and County.

Released: 13-May-2021 11:35 AM EDT
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines are Immunogenic in Pregnant and Lactating Women, Including Against Viral Variants
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

In a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers evaluated the immunogenicity of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnant and lactating women who received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. They found that both vaccines triggered immune responses in pregnant and lactating women.

Released: 13-May-2021 10:30 AM EDT
Pandemic stigma: Foreigners, doctors wrongly targeted for COVID-19 spread in India
Monash University

The Indian public blamed foreigners, minority groups and doctors for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country during the first wave, due to misinformation, rumour and long-held discriminatory beliefs, according to an international study led by Monash University.

Released: 13-May-2021 9:15 AM EDT
28 Community Programs Receive Grants Through Penn Medicine CAREs Program
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine CAREs awarded grants to 28 projects, many of which aim to fill vast needs in the community created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others seek to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Showing results

110 of 5639

close
1.49873