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 jmurcia@mednet.ucla.edu for Dr. Hogan's availability. 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2539
Released: 13-Jul-2020 4:05 PM EDT
OADN & AACN Secure No-Cost Access to COVID-19 Screening Solution Until Vaccines Become Widely Available
Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN)

OADN & AACN Secure No-Cost Access to COVID-19 Screening Solution Until Vaccines Become Widely Available

Newswise: Study suggests lymphoma drug acalabrutinib might offer a potential therapeutic approach for severe COVID-19 infection
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:45 PM EDT
Study suggests lymphoma drug acalabrutinib might offer a potential therapeutic approach for severe COVID-19 infection
Hackensack Meridian Health

The mechanisms of action of acalabrutinib led to the hypothesis it might be effective in reducing the massive inflammatory response seen severe forms of COVID19. Indeed, it did provide clinical benefit in a small group of patients by reducing their inflammatory parameters and improving their oxygenation.

Newswise: National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Unites DOE Labs Against COVID-19
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:40 PM EDT
National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Unites DOE Labs Against COVID-19
Department of Energy, Office of Science

To focus its efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, DOE is bringing the national laboratories together into the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory.

Newswise: Key Insights from Swedish Casino that Remained Open During COVID-19
Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:40 PM EDT
Key Insights from Swedish Casino that Remained Open During COVID-19
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

As casinos in Las Vegas enter the second month of reopening since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, UNLV gaming researchers say they can draw upon insights from industry collaborators in Sweden, a country that took a more open approach to the crisis compared to other governments.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Asymptomatic Transmission and Reinfection of COVID: Live Event for July 16, 2PM EDT
Newswise

Emerging data shows more risk of asymptomatic transmission and reinfection with COVID than previously thought. Experts will discuss these findings and what are the implications for managing the pandemic. Media are invited to attend and ask questions.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 2:40 PM EDT
Engineered llama antibodies neutralize COVID-19 virus
Rosalind Franklin Institute

Antibodies derived from llamas have been shown to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus in lab tests, UK researchers announced today.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 1:25 PM EDT
1 in 3 young adults may face severe COVID-19
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

As the number of young adults infected with the coronavirus surges throughout the nation, a new study by researchers at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals indicates that youth may not shield people from serious disease.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 12:25 PM EDT
Scientists discover key element of strong antibody response to COVID-19
Scripps Research Institute

A team led by scientists at Scripps Research has discovered a common molecular feature found in many of the human antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Released: 13-Jul-2020 11:15 AM EDT
UTHealth joins study of blood pressure medication’s effect on improving COVID-19 outcomes
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

An interventional therapy aimed at improving survival chances and reducing the need for critical care treatment due to COVID-19 is being investigated by physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The clinical trial is underway at Memorial Hermann and Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.


Showing results

110 of 2539

close
2.2534