Hand Care for Dry Hands
December 1, 2020
December 1-7 is National Handwashing Awareness Week and it’s no secret that handwashing is more important than ever. So have you found yourself washing more lately than ever in your life? This consistency can be good for killing germs but bad for the health of our hands if they become dry, cracked or sore. So how do we balance the good with the bad? Here are some tips for how to wash properly and how to care for your hands in order to prevent extreme dryness.
How to Wash:
- Use tepid or warm water instead of hot water. Hot water strips the natural oils from your skin leaving you more prone to dry out. Just be sure to rub with plenty of soap and to create good friction for sloughing off the germs. Don’t forget to rub hands together for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t rub hands with a paper towel when you dry them. The surface of the paper towel can be abrasive on your skin. Instead, try blotting them. Take more time to blot your hands completely dry.
- If possible, avoid hand dryers. Hand dryers are abrasive for the skin due to the hot temperature of the air. It also takes 30-45 seconds to dry hands sufficiently which does some damage to the skin. If you have the choice, go for paper towels or a cloth towel and blot your hands dry over the use of a dryer.
After washing thoroughly, make sure to moisturize. Choose a lotion that is thick and has healing properties. Some brands to look for are Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream, Aquaphor or Bag Balm. It’s not a bad idea to purchase a travel size bottle that you can carry with you throughout the day to moisturize when needed.
Create a Routine for Hand Health
Hands don’t stop working when we get home for the day so it is important to take care of your hands throughout the day and night. Here are some ideas to give those hands some extra love at home.
Before hitting the sack, consider taking a few minutes to lather your hands in a thick healing moisturizer or petroleum based lotion like Vaseline. Next put on some light, cotton gloves and wear those as you sleep. The gloves will be sure to lock in the moisture making your hands feel silky smooth when you wake up.
Sometimes our hands just can’t take the constant washing and drying and they start to show signs such as cracks or sores. Be sure to treat these cracks or sores with a healing ointment and Band-Aid. Liquid Band-Aids are the best as they will be less likely to wash off. If you do not have liquid bandages then opt for waterproof Band-Aids. Regular Band-Aids will fall off after washing quickly resulting in no protection.
Also, consider not washing your hands quite as often when you are in the home. Of course maintain washing after toileting or before eating, but limit your washes if you can when you aren’t out in the world exploring and just home relaxing in your own space.
When you take time to take care of yourself you feel better all around. We use our hands every day, so be sure to treat those hands well just as you would any other part of the body. Keep them clean, moisturized and keep the skin on them in tact!