Tips for Managing Dry Skin from Frequent Hand Washing and Sanitizing

Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it can take a toll on your hands because it strips away the protective oils. When you are only washing your hands a few times per day, your hands have time to regenerate these oils; but after washing your hands over and over, the oils in your skin can’t be replenished fast enough and your hands tend to dry out. Redness, irritation, itchiness, and dryness are common effects of frequent handwashing and signs your hands need some TLC.

Hand washing is a part of our new normal, but dry hands don’t have to be. We’re sharing some of our favorite tips for managing the dry skin that occurs from frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

Wash, Moisturize, Repeat

Don’t just wash and go. To keep your hands from drying out, you need to add another step to your handwashing routine. After each washing, take a few minutes to moisturize. A gentle hand cream applied immediately after drying your hands will lock in moisture and protect your skin.

Use a Moisturizing Soap

Soap isn’t one size fits all. Many of our patients tell us that they use dish soap for handwashing. If you’re experiencing dryness, it may be time to make a switch. Dish soap is designed to remove grease and oils. Removing grease and grime is important for those dirty pots and pans, but for hands, this same level of stripping power isn’t needed and will ultimately cause irritation when used frequently.

Choose a hand soap that is specially formulated to have moisturizing properties. These soaps help to lessen the effects of frequent handwashing by replenishing moisture as they cleanse.

Pat Dry Instead of Rubbing

When skin is tender and sensitive, rubbing briskly with a towel adds to the irritation. Instead of rubbing your hands dry, use an absorbent towel to gently pat moisture away. Don’t forget to lather on the hand cream after your hands are dry.

Avoid Irritants

When it comes to hand soaps and lotions, avoid the unnecessary. Many ingredients, like fragrances and colors, can irritate the skin. We recommend choosing an unscented, uncolored lotion, and hand soap when you can.

Skip the Lotion and Use Cream Instead

Lotions are largely water-based and may not restore moisture as deeply as a hydrating hand or body cream. When hands are dry, opt for creams as they are generally more moisturizing than a lotion and are typically oil-based. If you’re looking for a high-quality skin cream, we highly recommend the Elta MD Moisture-Rich Body Crème, available at our office location or through our online store.

Pop on a Glove

If lotion isn’t cutting it, give gloves a try. Wearing a glove while you sleep can give your moisturizer time to sink in, flooding your skin with the intense moisture it needs. Slather on the hand cream and pop on a glove before bed. In the morning, you’ll awake to softer, smoother skin.

As one of the top plastic surgery practices in Nashville, our surgeons, and medical staff are very familiar with hand washing and the toll it can take on your skin. As our patients join us in frequent hand washing, we encourage them to try these time-tested tips for keeping their hands at their best. Call our office at (615) 467-6777 to schedule any needed treatments. We’re here, open, and ready to serve you with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols.