Here's what to do if you have dry skin or eczema from repeatedly washing your hands

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:07 pm

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, we are now all washing our hands more frequently and for longer, and for some this can mean dry skin, or even an inflammation of conditions such as eczema.

Here, some experts share their advice on how best to treat dry skin on your hands.

Use natural soap

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Becky Woodhouse, CEO of Pure Spa & Beauty UK says, "Choose a soap that is natural based - avoid perfumed soaps and I would avoid antibacterial liquid hand washes as they can be full of chemicals that exacerbate skin conditions.

"Wash your hands carefully using NHS guidance and to avoid hands getting too dry afterwards use a fragrance free hand cream or light oil, Aveeno is good as it has oat base to it which is especially good for dry skin and very gentle, so look for oat based products.

"This is a subject I know very well because I have suffered from eczema on my hands for years. I was really worried about the frequent hand washing because my hands do tend to flare up often, but I haven’t had any flare ups as long as I am careful about the products I use as I make sure to avoid anything perfumed, and go natural as much as possible to be kind to skin."

Watch out for cleaning products

During lockdown, keeping your household clean is recommended to reduce the chances of the virus lingering on surfaces and countertops. Harsh chemicals like bleach and disinfectant can also be damaging when they come into contact with skin, especially for people who suffer from dry skin or eczema anyway.

Alice Bamford from Sudocrem says, "Repeated and frequent use of hand sanitiser along with household cleaning products has the potential to cause irritation to hands and even minor damage through dryness. They’re not great for your skin but in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak they’re essential.

“We’ve noticed our customers are using My Little Sudocrem, which is suitable for all skin types, to help soothe dry hands and irritated patches of skin . It really works and, at £2.99 a pot, it costs a fraction of the price of most hand cream."

Nicole Bernard, managing director at The Wax Bar Group says, "Our team at The Wax Bar Group are constantly sanitising and washing our hands between clients so for us it is important that we moisturise regularly.

"A product that's popular among the team is LUSH Dream Cream - hand and body lotion. It's priced under £5 so a bargain for those suffering from eczema. It smells great, isn't sticky and is light enough to use straight onto dry skin. My top tip is to apply a healthy layer before bed and leave on overnight."

What some NHS staff are using

One NHS nurse recommends Dr.PAWPAW balms, which can be used as an intensive hand treatment to gently restore and replenish hands.

Gina Pieri comments, “Dr.PAWPAW has helped hydrate my dry skin without causing further irritation. A lot of other products I had used actually made the redness worse and stung after using, and I haven’t been able to use anything with a synthetic perfume but these balms are fragrance-free.

"My hands are currently very sore and dry as I am washing them more than ever at work andat home. I definitely would recommend Dr.PAWPAW to other people with similar issues and I haverecommended to other nurses who need the balm now more than ever.”

Top tips for hand washing

1. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you’ve been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water not readily available use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.

2. Dry hands properly, as wet hands transfer more germs than dry hands so ensure you dry hands properly preferably using a paper towel rather than a drier.

3. Apply a thin layer of hand cream whenever needed ,or just before bedtime, for maximum soothing effect. Cotton gloves worn at bedtime after an application of cream will help lock moisture in.

Other soothing treatments to try

Jo Malone Vitamin E cream

Rich and sumptuous to the touch, Vitamin E Hand Treatment conditions the skin while providing environmental protection. A hint of pomelo and cassis leave skin lightly scented. Buy online here.

L'occitane shea butter hand cream

This classic hand cream from French brand L'Occitane is a best seller and contained 20 per cent shea butter concentrated in a rich hand cream to nourish and soften dry skin.

Cosmydor soap

Enriched with coconut oil, this soap contains daisy flower and cardamom essential oil, which repairs and purifies skin. Available to buy here.