Wash your hands! However, there can be some issues for people as they correctly follow CDC guidelines.
COVID-19 has everyone washing and sanitizing their hands more frequently than usual. The CDC has recommended frequent hand washing and sanitizing to prevent the spread of this virus. The global pandemic has resulted in a shortage of hand soap and hand sanitizer. There are even YouTube and Facebook videos on how to make your own hand sanitizer from rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel.
Unfortunately, more frequent hand cleaning can lead to hand dermatitis (irritated skin on the hands). Some of the symptoms are red, scaly, flaky, and itchy skin on the hands. In severe cases, the skin on the hands might crack and bleed.
Keep washing and sanitizing your hands, but here are 7 suggestions to prevent and treat hand dermatitis:
- Use lukewarm (not hot) water and soap to wash your hands. Follow CDC guidelines and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid scented soaps if possible.
- Hand sanitizer is more damaging to your skin than soap/water cleansing. The homemade versions are likely to be the most damaging to the skin barrier.
- Use a bland lotion or moisturizer (Cetaphil, Cerave, Vanicream) to moisturize your hands after you wash.
- At bedtime, moisturize with an ointment moisturizer (Vaseline, Vaniply, Aquafor Healing ointment). Absorption will be maximized if you cover your hands with cotton gloves or clean white socks. This will increase the temperature of your hands slightly, and the pores will open to better absorb the moisture.
- If your hands continue to worsen, you can mix over-the-counter cortisone cream with ointment at night.
- If your hands crack or bleed, please call our office at 205.877.9773. We offer telemedicine, virtual visits. You may need an antibiotic or stronger cortisone cream.
We offer several topical products that we recommend for use during this time for those of you that are suffering from hand dermatitis at this time. Some of our favorite products include Alastin Balm, Epionce Medical Barrier Cream, Vanicream, and CeraVe.
If you need to purchase any of these products please call our office or visit our online store to purchase them directly from us.
As always, stay safe out there and wash your hands!
Wendy Cantrell, DNP, CRNP, and the Village Dermatology Team