A SKIN SPECIALIST’S TIPS FOR PROTECTING DRY, CRACKED HANDS
 

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A SKIN SPECIALIST’S TIPS FOR PROTECTING DRY, CRACKED HANDS

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A SKIN SPECIALIST’S TIPS FOR PROTECTING DRY, CRACKED HANDS

Over the last few months, NHS Consultant Physician and Medical Director of Adonia Medical Clinic, Dr Ejikeme has seen a high rise in dry hands and even eczema and contact dermatitis from excessive washing, the use of hand sanitizer and using strong cleaning products at home

While it is important to wash your hands thoroughly, it is equally important to avoid cuts or cracked hands that can lead to other infections. Contact dermatitis is a break down in the natural barrier function of the skin leading to what looks like eczema on the skin. This can be itching, flaking and even pain in the hands.

Here are her top tips on how to repair and care for your skin and avoid dermatitis:

1. Washing over sanitiser, and not both: washing with soap and water for 15-30 seconds is better than using hand sanitiser, if possible. Sanitiser is great on the go but there is no need to apply it after washing. Sanitisers usually have a high alcohol content so are very drying on the skin.

2. Use a hydrating cleanser: when washing, use a soap or cleanser that is kind to the skin - such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. This is a non-foaming lotion, with ceramides 1, ceramides 3 and ceramides 6-II. This formula enriched with ceramides help to improve the barrier function of the skin. Hydrating Cleanser also contains hyaluronic acid, which is a powerful active moisturiser, as it holds 1000 times its weight in water. Cleansers that are effective at removing dirt and oil, without harming the protective skin layer, are great when you are washing your hands countless times a day. This cleanser is also suitable for the face and body so is ideal for use in the shower and as a daily cleanser.

3. Do not over-wash: washing our hands after using the toilet or being in public spaces or taking out the bins, for example, yes - but there is no need to wash your hands every 10 minutes, which will severely dry the hands out. Do make sure to wash your hands before touching your face or caring for anyone else.

4. Water FIRST, then soap: place water on your hands before adding any soap to protect the skin and help reduce irritation.

5. Hand cream is King: after washing, apply hand cream to avoid the skin drying out and apply regularly throughout the day. Opt for a deeply moisturising cream, such as the CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream, which is enriched with 3 essential ceramides and helps protect skin’s natural barrier. Protecting and replenishing the skins natural protective barrier is particularly important at this time.

6. Cover all cracks: when applying hand cream, ensure you lather the front and back of the hands and pay particular attention to moisturising in between the fingers, as this is the area most likely to break down.

7. For super dry skin, try applying a thick layer of cream immediately after washing your hands, apply more than you need and leave it on the skin for 10 – 20 minutes or however long you have. Rub in the excess and finish with something like Petrolatum, or lanolin to seal it in.