It seems like buying hand wash soap and hand sanitiser has become our monthly “must” after a pandemic year. We are trying our best to put a mask on, wash our hands, SANITISE, SANITISE, AND SANITISE! But, just that one time without handwashing or sanitising, it feels like the end of the world. However, frequent handwashing and overused sanitiser are not as healthy and clean as we think; it can even cause hand eczema.
Risk of Getting Dry Skin and Eczema
The alcohol in the sanitiser can dry out your hand quickly, and almost every hand sanitisers that you see contain alcohol. Dr Nazirin from Nazirin Skin Clinic states that using alcohol-based hand sanitisers will kill the microbes on the skin. It is advised to use it only when it is necessary.
Image from Healthline
According to JAAD’s 2020 study, overusing hand sanitiser and frequent handwash can cause hand eczema. A burning sensation, dryness, and itching can be found in the survey as the most common symptoms. On top of that, you may need to check on your children, as the number of hand eczema in young children has rapidly increased. A study done in Denmark shows that the number of hand eczema in young children has increased by 12.1% during the lockdown. In addition, once young children returned to the daycare, it went up to more than 35% as the frequency of handwashing has increased.
What should you do if you have Eczema?
It is advised to choose the hand sanitiser with moisturising ingredients, which should contain glycerin. AAFP recommends the patients with eczema use a good amount of emollients after the handwashing process. Then, before heading to bed, you use a thick coat of lipid-rich ointment and wear cotton gloves overnight to protect your hands.
You should contact a dermatologist for more advice to prevent skin dryness and eczema.
Tips On Handwashing
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- After washing your hands, rinse your hands gently.
- Dry your hands with a paper towel instead of an air dryer.
- Apply moisturiser when your hands are damp.
- Only sanitise your hands when you have to: after touching a door handle or any surface that might contain germs.
- Check the ingredients of the cleaning products.
- Use a non-alcohol-based hand sanitiser instead!
- Avoid washing your hands before or after sanitiser application.
- Don’t forget to apply the moisturiser once the sanitiser on your skin is dry.
- Don’t wear gloves on wet hands.
Alcohol-free Hand sanitiser
A research study that Brigham Young University does shows that alcohol-free hand sanitisers are just as effective as alcohol-based ones. They can protect against common cold and flu viruses. They have also found out that at least 99.9% of the virus was wiped out within 15 seconds in most of the test cases. Before Covid started, people have begun using alcohol-free hand sanitiser as well. Therefore, to decrease the chance of having dry skin and hand eczema, you may begin using an alcohol-free hand sanitiser.