In case you missed it, I recently wrote a post about the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And while keeping your hands clean remains as important as ever, many of us are now experiencing one of the unpleasant side effects of frequent hand washing: dry hands!
But in today’s post, I’m offering up some simple solutions to this uncomfortable problem! We’ll start by discussing why dry skin and dry hands are more problematic than you might think, and then I’ll share some recommendations of products that can heal your dry hands and help you keep them moisturized in the weeks to come. :-)
The Problem: Dry, Cracked Skin From Frequent Hand Washing
According to the CDC, frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. But frequent hand washing can rob your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin dry, itchy, or with painful cracks.
And the effects of dry hands can extend far beyond pain and discomfort. Broken skin is more susceptible to infection from bacteria and other germs. It also makes hand washing more painful, which makes it less likely that you’ll do it as often as you should.
But luckily for all of us, there’s a simple way to prevent frequent hand washing from drying out your skin!
The Solution: Don’t Forget To Moisturize!
The solution is actually quite simple: moisture your hands frequently! In fact, there’s no reason not to apply a moisturizer to your hands after every washing, especially if it helps prevent cracks that could get infected.
But what sort of moisturizer should you use? If the skin on your hands is already dry or irritated, an everyday body lotion may not be the best tool for the job.
The Best Moisturizers To Heal Dry Hands
Option #1: Ointments
One of the most effective options for healing very dry hands are emollient ointments like Aquaphor. A thick, oily ointment not only softens skin, it also forms a barrier that locks in moisture.
The main drawback of moisturizing ointments is that they can be quite greasy. To avoid covering your home in greasy fingerprints, apply a generous amount of ointment to your hands before getting into bed. The ointment will sink in overnight and you’ll wake up with softer, smoother hands!
Option #2: Creams
If you don’t want to use an ointment or don’t have one at home, moisturizing creams are a good option too. A moisturizing cream typically contains more water than an ointment, making them a little less inconvenient to apply during the day.
- Pull on a pair of simple cotton gloves after applying a greasy moisturizer. The gloves will help the moisturizer work its magic and prevent you from getting greasy smudges on everything you touch.
- Cotton gloves can also be useful to wear under cleaning gloves. They’ll absorb excess moisture and sweat, keeping your skin much happier over all.
- Part of what moisturizers do is lock in existing moisture. Maximize this effect by applying your moisturizer of choice right after you finish showering!
- To keep your hands clean without drying them out, use soaps and sanitizers that feature moisturizing ingredients like aloe, plant oils, butters, etc.
Do you have a moisturizer of choice for healing dry hands?