The signs of over-washing and sanitising are starting to show and our hands are not happy, so this is how you can protect your hands during this time!
South Africa (07 April 2020) – Never in the history of the world have people had to wash and sanitise their hands as they are having to do so now during the global COVID-19 Pandemic. Whilst keeping us safe and helping to stop the spread of this virus, what effects are harsh hand sanitisers and soaps having on the health of our skin on our hands? What can we do to help our hands at this time? We spoke with Diane Eales, Co-founder of Beaucience, a proudly South African, professional Skin Care Brand.
“We need to promote good skin health while maximising good hygiene practices, with the excessive washing of our hands and sanitising with hand sanitisers that contain high levels of alcohol we can be compromising our skin’s barrier. This barrier refers to the outermost layer of the epidermis, which helps protect the skin from harsh elements and holds moisture, preventing the skin from drying out.” – Diane Eales
Of all the skins protective functions the most important is this permeability barrier as it slows the transcutaneous evaporative water loss process down. This keeps the skin hydrated, soft supple and healthy. Once the skins barrier function has been compromised the skin could become dull and rough, inflamed, flaky, sensitive, and dry. It could show signs of irritation and in extreme cases, a rash or cracking of the skin can result. When the barrier is compromised the skin becomes vulnerable to infection and ageing.
During this time we are experiencing, we cannot afford to allow our skin barrier to be compromised as if it is, we will no longer want to wash our hands and place alcohol onto then as this will be uncomfortable and even painful.
This is how to maintain healthy skin when washing:
- Use warm water not hot
- Do not scrub your hands
- Pat them dry gently, do not rub dry
- Do not use exfoliants like sugar scrubs when you are washing your hand excessively.
- Use a gentle hand soap or face cleanser as these are gentler.
- Use a product that DOES NOT STRIP natural oils.
Then we need to hydrate and moisturise. Use products that are not just fillers, but that will work with our sophisticated natural skin system to ensure it functions correctly and stays healthy. Natural products work well with the skins natural metabolism.
Apply a good cream or lotion after each time you wash your hands. This lotion should contain natural oils like avocado, marula or wheat germ. Something with an antioxidant like green tea would also be beneficial. Highly fragranced products that contain allergens could also add to irritation so using products that are lightly fragranced or contain essential oils for fragrance are preferred.
The cream applied should be something that is easily absorbed and not too greasy or you will play with your hand or wipe them adding to the irritation. If the skin feels like the barrier has been compromised, keep moisturising as often as you can, and it would help to use a heavy nutritious body butter or even a face cream on the hands at night.
“So in closing, wash your hand with gentle products, be gentle when washing, use a hand sanitiser that contains something to help moisturise the skin and moisturise after hand washing with a product that contains effective ingredients.”