If you’ve got red, rough, dry skin on your hands from washing over and over, you’re not alone. As someone whose background is in the clean manufacturing environment of biotechnology, I’ve gone full OCD with hand washing during this stay-at-home period!
While cleanliness is paramount right now, I’m not super pleased with how my hands are looking. These hands are definitely looking older and more wrinkly, and feeling dry!
As the founder of an indie skin care company, Organic Radiance Skincare, I set out to reverse and prevent this process ASAP! Read further for 8 tips to help save your hands from becoming dry and red while you’re washing them frequently.
8 Tips for Preventing Dry Skin from Washing Your Hands Over and Over!!
- Wash hands for 20 seconds. This is about how long it takes to sing happy birthday to yourself! Use warm water with plenty of soap. I don’t recommend using hot water because it dries skin out and does not make hand washing more effective. Dry hands with clean hand towel or paper towel. I recommend replacing hand towels in the kitchen and restroom once per day.
- Use a rich hand cream right after washing your hands. Apply your moisturizer while your skin is still damp to help increase absorption and retain moisture in your hands. Dermatologists recommend non-water based creams to restore skin hydration.
- Moisturize EVERY time you wash! Make it a habit! This will go a long way to retain your skin’s youthful appearance and keep your skin soft.
I’ve started using rich moisturizer EVERY time I wash my hands. This helps to nourish, hydrate, and protect my skin from the dryness caused by frequent washing. It also helps them look younger! I’ve got a very special hand cream in development right now! Stay tuned for more info!
I recommend keeping a travel sized moisturizer with you in your purse, briefcase, gym bag, or backpack so you can always moisturize after washing your hands. At home, keep your moisturizer next to the sink so you can moisturize right after drying your hands.
- Use a moisture balm for spot treatments. Try using a moisture balm on the driest areas of your hands to prevent rough patches. I like to use Herbe Sois Calming Moisturizer on red, rough-looking patches on my hands. This super rich moisturizer with shea butter and calming essential oils really helps when my skin is unhappy. Sometimes I’ll even layer a skin salve on top of it for an intensive moisture blast.
- Use rubber gloves for cleaning, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Soaking hands for an extended period of time in detergents and cleaning chemicals is an obvious way to dry out your hands. As a preventative measure, I recommend using reusable rubber gloves for cleaning. Your hands will thank you!
- Use hand sanitizer in between hand washings. Dr. Daniela Kroshinsky, director of pediatric dermatology and inpatient dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that if your hands are too dry, you can temporarily use hand sanitizer.
“Hand sanitizer is an option to limit handwashing until the skin recovers, but not before eating, after [going to the] bathroom, [or] when hands are visibly soiled — that should [involve] handwashing,” says Kroshinsky.
The CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with an alcohol concentration of at least 60% ethanol. The non-drying sanitizers I use make my skin feel smoother and contain a small amount of essential oils for a wonderful scent. Check here for availability: Citrus Hand Sanitizer Gel (64% Alcohol) and Citrus Sanitizing Spray (70% Alcohol).
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water. If your skin cells are not getting enough water, your skin will become dry and flaky. Dry skin has less elasticity and is more prone to looking wrinkly. The Mayo Clinic recommends 12 cups of liquids for women and 16 cups for men each day. If you need some taste in your water, try a sugar-free flavoring like Mio.
- Exfoliate your hands once a week! Exfoliating your skin removes dead skin cell buildup and promotes healthy cell turnover rate. This process brightens your skin and allow your moisturizer to penetrate better. My favorite product for exfoliation is Lavender Cream Exfoliator. This is one of my secrets to radiant skin!
- Use masks on your hands! I like to use Purifying Black Mask on my hands once a week. This moisturizing mask removes impurities with the well-known benefits of activated charcoal. I recommend applying it to your hands during a quiet period of the day and leaving it on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Don’t forget to use a moisturizer to finish your mini spa hand care routine.
Now you know 8 tips on how to prevent your hands from drying out when washing frequently. To prevent the skin on your hands from getting red and wrinkly, take some of the skin care concepts you use for your face and apply them to your hands. This includes using a rich moisturizer each time you wash, as well as using a weekly exfoliator and mask to remove dry skin from the surface of your skin so your moisturizer absorbs better.
Switching up your hand washing routine with hand sanitizer, when appropriate, is another way that dermatologists recommend keeping your hands smooth and soft. Remember to hydrate from both the inside and the outside.
Your hands do an extraordinary amount of work for you. Treat them well while you’re increasing the frequency of you hand washing! Start with one of these tips and make it a habit!
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Hand Hygeine. CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html
Water: How much should you drink every day? Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Washing Your Hands Often. Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-to-keep-your-skin-healthy-while-washing-your-hands-often#6.-Substitute-hand-sanitizer-for-soap