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How to avoid dry skin from washing your hands too often.

Handwashing. We can all agree that it has become the mantra repeated over and over again by doctors and health authorities, who enforce the importance of this simple measure to prevent spreading multiple illnesses. As they recommend, we must do it with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and, if there is no soap or water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as often as possible.

Here are a few examples of situations where they recommend to wash your hands:

  • Before touching your face.
  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Just before eating (think of your hands as just another kitchen utensil, like a spoon or fork).
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (germs can live in the air for hours and on surfaces for minutes to hours).
  • After touching an animal, food or animal treats.
  • After touching the trash.
  • After touching door handles and light switches.
  • Before and after exercising or using gym equipment.

 

That means at least 20 times a day right?

Our skin becomes vulnerable or damaged by the excess of hygiene. So how do we protect it?

It is time to give our hands extra care. What we recommend most is to apply moisturizer after each wash and use of hand sanitizer because it will not only counteract the harmful effect of water, excessive washing time or the material of the soap, but it will also provide defenses. Our skin has a natural fatty layer and as we wash our hands frequently, that lipid or fat layer goes away, so the skin is exposed to wounds, fissures, eczema, and even more skin conditions. That's why it's so necessary to apply a moisturizer as often as you wash your hands, to hydrate and also strengthen that barrier.

We recommend:

  • Use non-irritating soaps. Some soaps are highly scented and can cause irritation. One way to protect the skin is to opt for a natural, non-irritating soap, such as those made from aloe vera, olive oil, oatmeal, and if possible hypoallergenic and neutral soap.
  • Dry your hands well after each wash, better with a personal towel or disposable paper to avoid having to share a towel, which is not recommended during these days. It should also be noted that germs are more easily transferred with wet hands.
  • Wearing gloves when cleaning: Gloves limit exposure to aggressive products.
  • Keep your hands well hydrated, especially if you have dry, irritating skin. It is important to avoid leaving traces of moisture between the fingers. Moisturizers help repair damaged outer skin and block moisture inside. They can be applied repeatedly throughout the day.
  • A nighttime hydrating treatment can also be used if the skin is particularly dry, applying a generous layer of a thick moisturizer just before bedtime.

 

Photo: kieferpix / Getty Images

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