Add Handcare Into Your Skincare
Hand washing and sanitising have become essential over the last few years. The Covid-19 pandemic had us all reaching for the antibacterial hand gel every time we went to the shops, saw a friend, or even worse, heard someone cough! Unfortunately, as great as these products are for protecting us against infection, they are wreaking havoc on our skin. We’ll provide you with the best tips to protect your hands while trying to keep yourself safe from germs.
Why Are Hand Sanitisers & Soaps So Drying?
The main ingredient in hand sanitiser is alcohol. This is an essential component of the antibacterial process. However, this is the culprit of those dry and sore extremities. Hand sanitiser is an alkaline-based substance with a high pH level. Hand sanitiser also doesn’t discriminate, so while it is getting to work killing the harmful bacteria, it is also attacking the good bacteria. Repeated use will inevitably result in dryness, dermatitis, or even allergic reactions.
Hand sanitiser isn’t the only one to blame, however. Almost all cleaning products and soaps have the same effect on our skin. Any household cleaning or washing the dishes without gloves can lead to dry, flaky, irritated skin.
Breaking the Moisture Barrier
Did you know that your skin has a moisture barrier? This is what helps it retain moisture and prevent cracking and infection. Otherwise referred to as the acid mantle, the skin barrier is the top layer of your skin called the epidermis. Its function is to keep in the good bacteria and keep out the bad bacteria. So, when using a product that kills 99.9% of germs, the good is being taken away with the bad!
As more and more moisture is being drawn out of the skin, it will become dry and flaky, which is never pleasant. When the epidermis is damaged, when you attempt to moisturise your hands, it will escape rapidly, causing them to dry out. Those who suffer from eczema will experience these symptoms more extremely and frequently, leading to flare ups.
How To Protect Your Hands
The essential way to recover your hands is to treat them with kindness and plenty of hand cream! Now we know that soaps and harsh chemicals are the cause, we can begin to resolve the issue. We’re not saying to stop washing your hands, but there are ways you can manage your handcare routine to minimise damage.
This is the key to avoiding those flaky palms, especially those with sensitive skin. Any soaps with strong fragrances or foaming properties are more likely to irritate. Aiming for hand soaps with moisturising properties like ceramides will avoid stripping your skin too much when you wash. Even gentle body washes can be a great alternative for extra dry skin.
Don’t Have the Water Too Hot
We have been led to understand that the hotter the water, the more effective hand washing will be. This isn’t entirely true. Soaps are so effective now that they don’t require hot water to work well. You can simply use lukewarm water and give your skin that much needed break. If you wash the dishes and like to use hotter water, we suggest wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from the soap and heat.
Choose An Alcohol-Free Sanitiser
Despite what you may think, alcohol-free hand sanitiser does exist. It isn’t as popular as other standard sanitisers, but is a much better option for those suffering from dry skin. Having a sanitiser that is kind to your skin but still attacks harmful bacteria is one of the most effective ways you can stay safe and save your skin.
Always Have Your Hand Cream To Hand
If you are serious about tackling your dry skin, you must invest in a good hand cream and apply it regularly. Whenever you sanitise or wash your hands, you should apply some cream to reinstate the moisture lost. Your hands handle every aspect of your life, so you must provide them with good protection. They give instant relief from symptoms, and consistent use will help to heal your skin for good.
Implementing Handcare In Your Washrooms
Tackling dry hands at the source is the key to preventing a broken skin barrier. If you want to provide people with good hand care in your washroom, then you should fill your soap dispensers with low pH and gentle hand soap. You can also prevent irritation by ensuring your taps aren’t running too hot. For added protection, you can provide a fragrance-free hand cream for customers to use if they want to. It is essential to have your soap and hand cream clearly labelled to avoid confusion.