Due to the increased use of hand sanitisers and washing hands more regularly, many people are starting to notice some irritation on their hands, from some mild dryness to really sore, painful skin.
The main ingredient in the hand sanitisers is alcohol, although this can help kill bacteria when hand washing is not an option, it’s extremely drying on the skin and causes something called transepidermal water loss (this happens naturally but the alcohol will cause the skin to lose more mater), what this basically means is that the water in our skin is evaporating, causing dehydration, this in turn can cause atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Cracked, broken skin is prone to infection and so if you feel your skin may need medical attention, speak to your GP surgery or local pharmacist.
So how can we prevent and help reduce the dryness and irritation?
If you have some mild dryness, a normal hand cream should be fine, try to apply a few times a day, you want something water based (first ingredient being water) and ideally something that also has an oil, this means you’re replacing water and nourishing the skin. Avoid highly perfumed products.
If your skin is a sore, again you need something that’s going to add water but you also need a barrier, so a water based product to put water back in and something like an eczema cream which is designed to stop water leaving the skin. You do not want anything perfumed. If your skin is sore, applying these products may sting a little but if it feels like liquid fire, immediately rinse off and seek advice from a Dermatologist or GP, I always recommend asking if your surgery has someone that specialises or has an interest in dermatology. Apply a few times a day when needed.
The product I use on my children if they get an eczema flare up and have been using to combat dryness while they use hand sanitiser in school is *Eucerin Dry Intensive, it’s never caused a problem or burning (some mild stinging on a sore patch) but we haven’t used it on really cracked skin, only itchy, mildly scratched, flaky and red skin.
The reason I love this product is because it contains 10% urea, a great ingredient for dehydrated, irritated skin. The first ingredient is water, which is what our skin needs, and it contains shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter) which is a really nourishing ingredient and can work as a barrier to prevent more water loss. It also contains other great ingredients such as arginine, lysine and threonine, which are amino acids, amino acids and basically the building blocks of the skin so we definitely want these.
If you or your children have eczema and have a product that works for you/them, it should help now. If you haven’t noticed irritation yet, start using your cream to help protect from a flare up.
If you don't have any of the above or you find applying a cream uncomfortable, coconut oil or olive oil can help, massage a little in a few times a day.
From our range, if you have it, our Hyaluronic Acid Serum is water based and adds water back in to the skin and so you could use this under a moisturiser, because the ingredients are simple it shouldn’t burn on application (if it does, remove and refer to my advice above), but don't buy specifically for your irritated hands, only use it if you have it, if you want to buy something, I'd recommend the Eucerin.
Before using anything, always remember to check the ingredients list to make sure you don’t have a sensitivity or allergy to a product.
* On googling, I see they haven’t tested on children, therefor they can’t recommend it for use on children, but they have a childrens range, I haven’t tried any of these but I really like this brand and would trust their claims.