By now, you know the drill about the proper precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus. Wash your hands diligently and frequently for 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Keep a hand sanitizer with you wherever you go and use it after touching any public surfaces. Disinfect faucets, doorknobs, handles, and all other frequently-touched home surfaces daily. Sanitize the outside of your grocery items and wash all your fruits and vegetables well.
All this repetitive handwashing, use of alcohol, Clorox wipes, and any other sanitizers can really wreak havoc with your skin. And now that many of us have no domestic help available either, we are spending more time cleaning our homes, which includes exposure to numerous chemicals and irritants as well. All this results in stripping your hands of their natural protective coating, damaging the proteins in the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. When this happens, skin becomes red, rough, dry, and cracked. Apparently, some of us are more prone to dry hands than others. It seems a bit contradictory! You are diligently working to avoid the virus, yet stripping away the top layer of skin, creating fissures (cracks) and openings, which can actually allow the virus point of entry. Your hands may burn, itch, and sometimes even form crusts. So, what’s the solution?
The best defense is an offense. To combat the problem, make sure you have a rich, non-fragrant hand cream available for use immediately after handwashing. Hand creams are mainly oil based and differ from lotions, which are mainly water-based. Avoiding fragrance is also wise, because the scents can worsen the situation. So, if it smells great, do without. By getting in the habit of moisturizing your hands right after washing them, you will prevent dryness from occurring in the first place. Some wonderful hand creams include Mary Kay Nourishing Hands Shea Butter, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, and Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream. Also, to give your hands a royal treatment, buy a pair of cotton gloves. Before bedtime, apply a generous amount of hand cream and place your hands inside the gloves. As you sleep, this treatment will serve as an overnight hand mask to provide much relief for those chapped hands.
While cleaning your home or sanitizing surfaces with alcohol-based products and other irritants, always be sure to wear disposable gloves to protect your hands These are easily available on the market.
If your hands are severely cracked or bleeding, it’s time to contact your dermatologist, who may need to recommend a prescription for a short term burst of steroids, in order to reduce the inflammation and help the skin heal. This will also help you avoid becoming susceptible to infection. So, wash your hands well, frequently, and diligently. Then, seal in a rich hand moisturizer to help create a protective barrier to ward off any impending infections. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound in cure.
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Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.