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Prevent chapped skin after frequent washing



Important to keep skin healthy to avoid cracks

chapping, skin, hands, washing

The message we are getting is that washing our hands more frequently will keep us healthy. There is a BUT to all this handwashing. Dry, chapped skin. Ironically, by over-washing our skin, we can develop dry cracks in the skin, giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies.

How should we wash our hands to avoid skin dryness?

According to UCLA Health, a healthcare system in California, We should apply enough mild, fragrance-free soap to remove dirt, but avoid using so much that it creates a thick lather, which 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 and used frequently.

What soap should I use?

According to an article in US News written by dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D., when you're looking at soap ingredients, know that a specific ingredient isn't needed to be effective. The Food and Drug Administration says there's no proof that consumer-labeled "anti-bacterial" soap is better at preventing illness or infection then ordinary soap and water. Viruses, in particular COVID-19, are coated with a lipid envelope, and soap dissolves this protective barrier. That makes the virus unstable and less likely to survive – regardless of whether the product is labeled anti-bacterial or not.

The physical act of lathering soap, washing and then rinsing reduces most of the viruses and bacteria on the hands. It doesn't make a difference if hot or cold running water are used to wash hands. Still, it's best to use lukewarm water, as water that's too hot will cause the skin to become drier.

What hand cream works the best?

Dr. Mary Stevenson, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, suggests that once you’ve washed your hands for at least 20 seconds, pat them dry rather than rubbing them, which can irritate the skin.

“You want to pat yourself dry and leave a small amount of dampness, and then moisturize to lock in the water,” she says.

Once your hands are dry, immediately use a hand cream to seal in the moisture. Ideal hand creams should not include irritants, such as retinol or other anti-aging serums, allergens or fragrances, Stevenson says.




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