Is all of this extra hand washing leaving your skin dry and cracked? Yikes!
It’s true that thoroughly washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect you and your loved ones from getting sick. But, In times like these, the increased hand washing can really wreak havoc on your skin.
Soap and water can strip skin of natural oils and wax that act as a shield from outside elements and help maintain skin’s natural moisture. But don’t let that deter you from practicing good hygiene and avoiding hand-washing shortcuts.
The first step is to choose a gentle, fragrance-free soap, then wash your hands in warm (not hot!) water for 20 seconds or more. After washing, pat your hands dry—this helps reduce the spread of germs and is gentler on your hands. When using hand sanitizer, allow it time to absorb into your skin until your hands are completely dry.
Immediately afterwards, apply moisturizer. I suggest stocking each of your sinks, nightstands, purses, diaper bags, and cars with moisturizer. If you always have moisturizer nearby, it will become a seamless addition to your hand-washing routine.
Did you know that there are three different types of moisturizers?
• Lotions contain more water than oils. This makes them easier to spread on your skin, but also makes them the least moisturizing option.
• Creams are my preferred moisturizers except in extreme cases. They have equal amounts of oil and water which makes them spread easily on the skin, too. My favorites are Neutrogena® Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream and Aveeno® Skin Relief Hand Cream—both fragrance-free.
• Ointments are best for extremely dry or cracked skin because they are the strongest non-prescription moisturizers available. However, since ointments contain mostly oil, they can leave skin feeling greasy. Using ointments regularly isn’t ideal, but petroleum jelly or Aquaphor® Healing Ointment can be lifesavers for irritated skin.
Homemade Hand Mask
If your hands need some extra attention, I highly recommend applying a hand mask. Like a face mask, a hand mask is a luxurious way to pamper your skin. It can relieve and prevent dry skin while also incorporating practical self care into your nightly routine.
• Avocado - half of an overripe avocado is best
• Oats - 1 tablespoon
• Honey - 1 tablespoon
• Oil - 2 tablespoons; preferably olive oil, jojoba oil, or shea butter
1. Mash the avocado.
2. Add all other ingredients to the mashed avocado and mix together.
3. Spread the hand mask all over your hands, and keep it on for 10-15 minutes.
4. Rinse your hands in cool water.
5. Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Ideally, a moisturizing hand mask would be part of your weekly routine, but I know it’s often difficult to make time for self care. Don’t let this be another guilt-inducing item on your to-do list. Instead, turn it into a refreshing self care moment by listening to a 10-15 minute guided meditation (while waiting for your hand mask to set) and sinking deeper into relaxation.