Updated: May 11, 2020
If frequent handwashing is leaving your hands chapped and dry, try these tips from the Best Choice Cleaning Company team.
If your hands have been drier than usual, cracked, itchy or sore, you’re not alone. Since the advent of Coronavirus, most of us have been following the recommended advice of washing our hands often for twenty seconds or more. This is a big leap from the previous figure of just 5% of the nation washing their hands. Whilst this is great news for helping us reduce our exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses, it's also somewhat challenging for those of us whose hands are particularly dry, sore or sensitive to soap and water.
Here at Best Choice Cleaning Company, we specialise in office cleaning, repair jobs and disposing of commercial waste, so we’re no strangers to non-stop hand washing. With this in mind we’d like to share some tips with you, on how you can transform your dry, cracked hands into soft, supple ones.
1. Choose A Moisturising Soap
Overexposure to water and harsh soaps can strip our skin of its healthy oils and fats. This can leave us with dry, chapped hands, especially in hard water areas like London and Kent. However, a gentle moisturising soap can help to alleviate this skin tightness. Check packaging for the following moisturising ingredients: glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. In natural soaps these ingredients may include shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil. Whichever soap you use, make sure that you rinse all of the suds away. Remove rings if you can too, as soap can often get trapped underneath them.
For people with sensitive or allergic skin conditions, try to avoid ingredients such as fragrance, methylisothiazolinone and Balsam of Peru or try an emollient cleanser. These cleansers (typically used by people with eczema) soften the skin and reduce itching. They're also multi-purpose and can be used as soaps and creams.
2. Say No To Piping Hot Water
Be mindful of the temperature of the water that you use. Hot water can dry the skin by preventing moisture from locking in. Furthermore, it can exacerbate itchy skin conditions. Warm or tepid water is all that you need.
3. Dry Your Hands
When you’ve washed your hands, dry them thoroughly. Don’t be tempted to wipe them on your clothes (which can carry infections) or drip dry them.
Although many people think that drip drying is more hygienic than communal hand dryers, wet hands can pick up germs from door handles or surfaces more easily than dry hands. This is bad news for those with cracked skin as bacteria can easily slip into broken skin layers causing infections.
If you’re at home using a towel, there’s no need to rub vigorously, just gently pat your hands dry. Public communal towels are best avoided.
4. Choose The Right Moisturiser
Once you’ve dried your hands, apply a hand cream immediately so that you can seal the moisture into your skin. Don’t skip this step as this will help you to keep your hands soft and smooth. If your hands are feeling particularly dry, avoid water based lotions and instead opt for thicker moisturisers that take more effort to spread like creams, balms or ointments.
The following ingredients will help with deep moisturising: hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, mineral oil, lanolin, lactic acid, petrolatum, dimethicone. In natural products again look for olive oil, jojoba oil and shea butter.
As before if you have sensitive skin avoid fragrant moisturisers, as these can cause irritation, and bypass retinols and other anti-aging products. If you’re in doubt use vaseline. It's a good standard choice.
5. Keep Moisturisers Close At Hand
To help you get used to moisturising your hands every time you wash them, keep creams in your handbag or close to taps at home.
6. Wear Gloves To Bed
Household gloves are recommended if you spend a lot of time with your hands in water. We swear by them for office cleaning. They’re also a must if you have cracked or sore hands. Use these gloves for cleaning tasks and washing dishes but only for short periods to avoid a build up of sweat. If you have a latex allergy try one of the many latex free options on the market.
For an intensive moisturising treatment, generously moisturise your hands with cream, balm, ointment or vaseline just before bedtime then slip them into a pair of soft cotton gloves. Doing this helps the moisturiser to fully absorb into your skin leaving you with beautifully soft, velvety hands.
Good luck and let us know how these tips work out for you. Keep washing those hands!
Words: Susie Vandi
Photo: Martin Slavoljubovski (Pixabay) and Jasmin Sessler (Pixabay).