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2020 has brought us a heightened awareness of cleanliness. Increased cleaning combined with frequent hand washing and sanitizing are key components to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Such exposure to cleaning supplies and the constant washing can leave our hands dry and stripped of their natural oils. Creating a COVID-19 skincare routine can keep you healthy while still maintaining the health of your skin and hands.

Constant Sanitizing Effects

Are your hands:

  • Dry
  • Itchy
  • Cracked
  • Flaky
  • Or even bleeding

All of these issues can be the result of frequent hand washing and sanitizing. Open wounds, even small cracks in our hands can increase exposure to bacteria and germs and increase the risk of infection.

Hand Care Tips

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends frequent handwashing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. One trick to being sure you wash your hands for the appropriate amount is to count or sing a short song. Mentally singing the Happy Birthday song twice through is an easy way to be sure you have washed long enough.

The CDC also recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has a minimum of 60% alcohol.

To combat the effects of the CDC health tips, here are some hand care tips:

Be gentle

With warm water and gentle soap, wash your hands with love and care. Use a soap that packs a punch but doesn’t irritate your skin. Hot water is no more helpful than warm water for killing germs. However, the hot water will put more stress on your skin and possibly increase damage.

Additionally, do not use antibacterial cleansers. Unfortunately, these products are not powerful enough to prevent infectious disease yet they contain chemicals and often perfumes that can be irritating and damaging to the skin.

Wear gloves

When cleaning, especially when using chemicals, always wear gloves to protect your skin. You can also wear gloves when running errands. Wearing disposable gloves at places like gas stations and grocery stores will prevent your exposure to germs. And although gloves don’t replace washing, you may be able to save yourself extra hand sanitization use.

Moisturize and then moisturize again

Use generously and frequently a hand moisturizer.  Be sure to purchase a product that is hypoallergenic and free from dies, chemicals, or added fragrances that can irritate your skin.  Keep tubes of moisturizer near the sink in the kitchen and bathroom as well as in your car, by your bed, at your desk, and/or any other place you will see it and use often.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you are better protected from germs when your skin is moist.

Consider Sunscreen

Since most of us spent spring indoors, our skin has not had the chance to build a base of that summer color. This means your skin is more sensitive to the sun than usual during this time of year. Consider adding sunscreen to your regiment when heading outside.

Don’t wait for self-care

Even if your hands do not feel overwashed, dry, or cracked be sure to take extra care. Prevention is the best measure.  Be sure to be using quality soap and moisturizer frequently.

The New Routine

Whether we realize it or not, we all have developed a new COID-19 skincare routine. And that routine is the constant washing and sanitizing. In addition to the added sanitizing, consider these routine suggestions.

Morning

Add moisturizing your hands to your regular morning routine.  Luckily when we wake up in the morning our hands have had the whole night off from washing. This gives our body’s oils a chance to naturally enrich our skin. Lock in those natural oils and create a barrier between your skin and the upcoming day.

After Handwashing

Avoid rubbing your hands dry as this can be damaging to the skin. Gently pat your hands dry. Be sure to use a clean towel!

Immediately after washing, apply a moisturizer. After 30 to 60 seconds if your hands feel dry then your skin is still lacking the proper moisture and it is recommended to moisturize again.

After Hand sanitizing

Allow your hands to dry naturally from the sanitizer. Once your hands are dry, apply moisturizer.  Just as with washing your hands, wait 30 to 60 seconds and if hands still feel dry, moisturize again.

Using Gloves

By the end of the day, we have washed and sanitized our hands countless times. One way to really lock in moisture is to sleep with gloves on. No, not the same disposable gloves you wear for protection. Instead, find gloves that are cotton or a cotton blend. Many drug stores or self-care lines make hand gloves specific for sleeping.

Just before bed moisturize your hands. This is a great opportunity to use lotion or ointment that is made with shea butter or even mineral oil depending on your skin’s condition. Once you have applied a generous amount of moisturizer put on the night gloves.  Sleep with the gloves and awake in the morning with silky smooth hands no matter how many times you washed them the day before!

The “new normal” may be masks and hand sanitizer for some time, don’t let the health of your hands and skin suffer. Add moisturizer and extra self-care to your COVID-19 skincare routine.

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