7 Tips To Keep Your Skin Healthy While Washing Your Hands Often
The world got a lesson in cleanliness when COVID-19 started spreading. Suddenly, it was very important to keep your hands clean to avoid spreading the virus to others and to protect yourself from getting it.
Hand washing should be one of the easiest tasks there is, and yet there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Here are are seven important tips to keep your skin healthy while washing your hands often.
Use hand sanitizer sparingly
While hand sanitizer is objectively the best thing ever in a pandemic, you do not want to rely on it for cleanliness. Sanitizer is primarily made of alcohol, which will sap the moisture right out of your skin. You are much better off using sanitizer only when you don’t have access to old fashioned soap and water. And don’t use hand sanitizer to clean your hands before or after eating. That is not sufficient for safe food handling.
Wash your hands in warm water
First thing’s first, make the water warm and not hot. If the water’s too hot it will damage your skin by removing the essential oils your skin produces. Also, warm water is better than cold water because it will keep your pores open to breathe. Cold water contracts your skin.
You want to spend at least 20 seconds cleaning everything: between your fingers, nails, the back of your hands, etc. You can hum the chorus of your favorite song and that would be about the right amount of time to spend washing your hands to make sure your properly sanitizing.
Use a moisturizing soap
When choosing a soap, pick one with a moisturizer already built in. This means picking a cream soap as opposed to a glycerin soap. You’re better off with liquid soap in a pump than a bar of soap. The problem is that bar soap has additives to hold it together that can damage your skin over time.
And the most important thing is not to scrub too hard. You can damage your skin that way too. Rubbing the soap gently into your skin works just fine.
Also use moisturizer
If you’re already prone to dry, cracked skin, you’re probably already familiar with moisturizers. But they can have a preventative benefit, too. Daily moisturizing of skin keeps it hydrated and supple. It also helps seal up minute cracks in the skin and restores the protective barrier your skin naturally provides.
Try and use moisturizer after each time you wash, or at the very least, before bedtime each night. That way your hands will have a nice eight-hour spa treatment while you sleep. Your hands will thank you for it.
Put on some gloves
We’re not talking about those big rubber dishwashing gloves, although that is a good idea to use if you don’t have a dishwasher. You should put your hands in gloves at night after moisturizing them. This will seal in the protective layers and keep your hands smooth. White cotton gloves work best for this. Also, wear regular gloves if the day’s particularly windy, because the weather is a major contributor to dry skin.
Use a skin balm
The difference between a skin balm and a moisturizer is that moisturizers contain water. Balm is a solid oil that becomes liquid when rubbed into the skin. Moreover, you need very little to do the job; the size of a pea is more than adequate to treat both hands.
Because balm has no water in it, it’s best to apply while your hands are still damp. People who do a lot of work with their bare hands tend to have balm brands they swear by, but simple Vaseline will do the trick. This is also important if you have skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis, as frequent washing will aggravate those conditions. Balms can also heal up larger cracks in the skin much faster than just leaving it be.
Pat dry, don’t rub
Finally, when it comes to drying your hands, be gentle there, too. Don’t rub and scrub your hands with cloth or paper towels. Simply blot your hands dry and you will preserve more of your skin’s natural protective layers.
If you share your home with other people, it’s a good idea for each of you to have your own hand towel and to change them out at least twice a week. Keep in mind that germs more easily spread through wet hands than dry ones. That’s why drying is essential instead of just letting the air do the work.
This will keep cross contamination to a minimum as well. It’s not only a good idea for preventing the spread of COVID-19, but also for the upcoming cold and flu season.