In these days of repeated handwashing and hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hand dermatitis has become much more common. Add this to home cooked meals, with lots of dishes to do, and hands can be left dry, cracked, chapped and burning. Breaks and cracks in the skin make infection MORE likely....exactly the opposite of what people want right now! So what can you do? The most important thing is to repair the skin's natural barrier. Using moisturizing lotions and cream can help. They need to be applied multiple times per day to be effective. Xerafite, Alastin, Eucerin, EltaMD, CereVe, Cetaphil, and Neutrogena all have excellent formulations to help. If the skin is inflamed, hydrocortisone 1% might help, but if really inflamed, you may need a prescription. Most dermatologists are doing telemedicine visits over video platforms,while their offices are closed due to the pandemic. Our patients can request a visit via email request to [email protected]. Remember that hand sanitizers can not only contain alcohol, but fragrance and glitter as well. The alcohol strips away moisture from the skin. Fragrance acts as an irritant and an allergen (allergy causing ingredient). Glittery particles can cause direct physical irritation.
When it comes to sanitizer, keep it basic. For those with allergies, using mild cleansers such as CLn Wash can help to decrease irritation, while killing germs. Preservatives contained in hand creams an lotions can also give some people trouble. Coconut oil, olive oil, vaseline or even Crisco (yup, shortening) can help to build the necessary fatty layer in the skin barrier for the very sensitive. Gloves are best used for doing the dishes and to prevent irritation from household cleaners, but don’t leave them on too long because they can keep hands excessively wet and can compound problems.These are definitely trying times as far as our hands go, but with some good care, you can keep your skin intact. Hope this helps. Be safe!