How can you protect your hands when you’re constantly washing them or using sanitzer?
If you usually suffer from dry, cracked hands in the winter, this year you will need to take even more care. In order to protect you during this pandemic, your lovely hands are being washed and covered in sanitizer all the time and unfortunately that probably means that they are suffering more than usual now the colder weather has arrived.
What do you need to know?
Firstly, a little about your skin’s microbiome. You may have heard about the gut microbiome, but did you know that you also have skin flora? That’s the millions of microbes that live on your skin and which, amongst other things, protect you against pathogens. There are nearly 1,000 species of bacteria, fungi, yeast living on our skin! The natural environment of your skin is acidic, which the bad bacteria do not like, so we need to keep a proper balance of microbes to maintain a proper pH to protect our skin.
Research shows that constantly washing and using sanitizer could affect this. However, as we must continue to do that, let’s look at how we can help out the skin on our hands that could be left vulnerable if your skin’s microbiome has been damaged.
How to keep your hands protected, smooth and happy!
- Eat well and stay hydrated. Diet plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy (as with most aspects of your health). Make sure your diet is rich in healthy fats, vegetables, proteins and fibre. This helps your gut microbiome which in turn may help your skin microbiome.
- Opt for washing hands well, instead of using sanitzer, where possible
- Use sanitzers that also contain hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin
- Choose hand soaps that are blended with creamy and soothing ingredients like colloidal oats (which has a high antioxidant content) or butters (like shea or cocoa)
- Use hand cream immediately after washing or using sanitzer. Moisturising when your hands are still slightly damp will help lock moisture into your skin.
What to look for in your hand cream
If your skin becomes so dry that it cracks, it can end up leaving you more susceptible to germs and bacteria getting into your system, so it’s important to take some time to protect it.
When choosing your moisturiser (which should be fragrance and dye-free), look for one containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, fatty acids and ceramides as well as oils and waxes like beeswax and lanolin.
Finally, another trick if you can’t keep up with moisturising everytime you clean your hands: apply some thick moisturiser and then put on some white cotton gloves before you go to bed. The gloves will hold the moisture in all through the night.
Stay safe and stay moisturised!
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Thanks to Alina Smit for the photo!