With COVID-19, hand-washing has become the new religion.
Frequent washing of hands reduces the spread of the novel coronavirus, but as Vancouver dermatologist Katie Beleznay notes, it can lead to skin irritation and dryness.
“I think lots of people are experiencing a bit of that dry hand phenomenon with the increased frequency of hand-washing,” Beleznay told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
Beleznay, who is also a clinical instructor at UBC’s dermatology department, stressed that hand-washing is “paramount and important” because of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Do your best to also hydrate your skin," Beleznay said.
Here are suggestions from the Vancouver dermatologist on how people can take care of their skin as they keep up on washing their hands:
Avoid using piping hot water
“When washing, you don't necessarily need hot water. Use warm or cooler water…Try not to use piping hot water, because that can irritate the hands.”
Be gentle when drying hands
“When drying your hands, you want to be gentle. Like pat your hands dry. Don't rub your hands dry aggressively, because that can irritate your hands more.”
Use a moisturizer after washing hands
“One really good practice is that after washing your hands, put on a moisturizer…That can help to hydrate the hands, and protect that skin barrier.
“We typically recommend something thicker, like an actual hand barrier cream or an ointment. Something that will hydrate the hands more as opposed to a lotion or something light, which might not do a lot of hydrating.”
Any brands that work well?
“Vaseline is a great option…We use it regularly in dermatology…It is sort of a tried and tested go-to when it comes to providing hydration for hands and for different areas," Beleznay said.
“And some people may use for example Vaseline at night and put a cotton glove on, or something over top if they're trying to protect their bedding or clothing,” the Vancouver dermatologist added.
According to Beleznay, there are other good brands like CeraVe, Cetaphil, and Aveeno.