Handwashing Tips For People With Eczema And Other Skin Conditions
If you are one of the 31.6 million people in the United States living with some form of eczema, continual handwashing and sanitizing to avoid spreading illness this season might be a source of added stress and anxiety, as this can dry out your skin and cause eczema to flare. Sticking to a three-step routine can help wash, dry, moisturize.
Regular handwashing is important to remove dirt or soil and potentially contagious germs from your skin. For patients with eczema, its particularly important that they take care of their skin to not only maintain good skin hygiene, but to maintain control of their disease and avoid factors that may exacerbate their condition, says Mark Levenberg, DO, FAAD who is a board-certified Dermatologist and Senior Medical Director, US Medical Affairs, at Pfizer Inc.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , regular handwashing is one of the most effective ways people can keep from getting sick and to help protect others from viruses such as COVID-19. But for those with eczema, hands may become irritated when washed too vigorously, dried too harshly or not moisturized properly, and potentially exacerbate or trigger a flare, says Dr. Levenberg. Thats why its important to stick with a handwashing routine that will keep hands as cleanand healthyas possible.
Dr. Levenberg shared the following advice for people with eczema on how to help keep their hands clean and healthy.
Best Baby: Cerave Baby Wash & Shampoo
2-in-1 baby shampoo and body wash
Tear-free for sensitive eyes
Vitamin-formulated to protect the skin barrier
Doesnt lather well
Online customers report inconsistencies in-person purchase preferred
CeraVes Baby Wash & Shampoo maintains CeraVes standard of clean, calm ingredients that are safe enough to use for babies. This tear-free formula includes CeraVes noteworthy three essential ceramides for not only calming the skin but restoring its protective barrier for optimal health and sustainability. Thanks to enriching vitamins and no nasties , CeraVe Baby leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized.
This product is recommended by the National Eczema Association.
Key Ingredients: Ceramides and vitamin E | How to Use: Wet your babys hair and skin, apply soap where needed, rinse, and dry.
Question: What Role Does Cleansing Play In Managing The Condition
Good cleansing protects from bacterial overgrowth, which is common in the damaged skin of eczema patients.
We hope these answers help you to better manage your hand eczema. We encourage you to use gentle, effective cleansers on your hands whenever and wherever possible, and to seek the care of a dermatologist if your hand eczema worsens.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.
Don’t Miss: Treatment For Severe Eczema In Adults
Use The Right Kind Of Cleanser
People with eczema or other skin conditions should consider use of a gentle cleanser, which comes in bar and liquid form, says Dr. Levenberg. Try to avoid certain ingredients, harsh detergents or with fragrance, he says. Those can potentially irritate the skin, and these patients may be more susceptible to not only irritation, but an allergy from it as well. He also recommends washing hands with lukewarm water, rather than hot or cold, to avoid further irritation.
Carry Your Own Hand Products With You
People with eczema and other skin conditions may benefit from carrying travel-size versions of their cleanser and moisturizer with them when they leave the house, says Dr. Levenberg. That way, they can stick to the same routine with products they and their skin are accustomed to.
However, he adds, when thats not an option, its okay to use products that are generally available at that time. If faced with the choice of not washing your hands because you dont have your personal cleanser with you or washing them with a suitable cleanser available at that moment , you should go ahead and wash your hands, he says. You err on the side of caution and you do whats best for yourself and for public health.
Washing your hands frequently and correctly is always important. And right now, as people try and stop the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Levenberg says keeping your hands healthy is critical for overall health. It may lower your risk for infection personally or spread of infection to others, and in general, when washing appropriately, allows you to try and maintain healthy skin barrier function, says Dr. Levenberg.
Read Also: Shampoo For Sensitive Skin Eczema
How To Protect Your Skin
Preventing hand dermatitis is far better than treating it. Here are a few tips to keep your hands moisturized while practicing good hand hygiene.
- Instead of washing your hands with harsh soaps, including antibacterial soaps, use a gentle cleanser. They are just as effective.
- Moisturize after washing your hands using a fragrance-free moisturizer that is a thick cream.
- Wear gloves when cleaning and using harsh chemicals.
- Be cautious with the use of heaters as they can dry out the skin.
If these measures do not relieve your symptoms, contact your dermatologist.
Does Hand Sanitizer Irritate Skin
Using too much hand sanitizer daily can cause irritation to your hands and dry them out very fast. It can also irritate your skin even more if used after washing your hands.
If you use too much, you could cause your hands to itch, crack and could develop dermatitis, which can be caused by too much contact with the irritants in hand sanitizers.
Also Check: Eczema On Private Area Female
Safe & Effective Use Of Hand Sanitizer Is One Tool To Reduce The Spread Of Covid
Both WHO and UNICEF believe that as many as 3.5 billion people in the world do not have appropriate hand sanitizing facilities like clean, warm water and effective soap.
Inexpensive, alcohol-based, virus-effective hand sanitizers can be provided as an alternative to support less developed countries in their fight against the novel coronavirus. Providing this short-term solution is also effective at reducing the spread of many other diseases.
WHO reports that hand sanitization is the single most effective strategy for preventing the spread of many communicable diseases, whether they are bacterial or viral.
Many businesses have installed hand sanitizer stations to encourage more people to keep their hands clean. It is likely these stations have helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19, alongside wearing masks, washing hands more frequently, and individuals using their own hand sanitizer.
While it is important to balance hand sanitizer and handwashing with your skins health, these are effective ways to reduce the spread of many diseases and keep your community healthier. Follow guidance from the CDC and FDA to find the right type of hand sanitizer.
THIS SITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR ADVICE OR TREATMENT FROM A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
OTHER COMPANIES MARKS USED ON THIS SITE REMAIN THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.
How Can I See A Gp Or Dermatologist
Please dont delay in getting healthcare. If you need urgent medical help and its not an emergency, contact your GP or NHS 111 online or telephone NHS 111 first. Your GP practice should offer online, telephone and video consultations. If you are invited in for a face-to-face appointment, infection control measures are in place to keep patients and staff safe.
The Covid-19 NICE guidancesays that dermatology departments should optimise the use of teledermatology, such as telephone and video consultations. If your dermatology appointment has been cancelled due to the crisis, try to find out whether a telephone or video consultation would be possible instead.
Don’t Miss: My Baby’s Eczema Is Getting Worse
Understand Why Hand Sanitizer Is Dry In The First Place
Hand sanitizer can kill germs thanks to being made with alcohol. According to board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL, hand sanitizer is typically comprised of at least 70% isopropyl alcohol , but many tend to hove in the 90% range to be effective. While these formulas do help keep bacteria at bay, they also introduce a new issue: dehydration.
The point of hand sanitizer is to decontaminate the hands from bacteria and other pathogens, so it must contain a potent alcohol concentration to be effective, he explains. alcohol is one of the most drying ingredients used in skin products.
Eczema Handwashing And The New Coronavirus : Protecting Yourself And Your Skin
Proper handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent spreading viruses, like the new coronavirus and the flu. But when you have a skin condition like eczema , washing your hands often can lead to dry and cracked skin, itchiness, pain and possibly infection. So how can people with eczema protect their skin while protecting themselves from the coronavirus?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America asked Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, a member of our Medical Scientific Council, what people with eczema and other skin conditions need to know about handwashing and COVID-19.
The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending frequent handwashing to protect from the flu and COVID-19. But this can cause flare-ups for people with eczema. What do you recommend people with eczema do to prevent eczema flares on their hands while practicing good hygiene?
My personal and professional experience has been that handwashing is generally better than hand sanitizer, especially when you apply moisturizer right after. Applying moisturizer after each handwashing can offset much of the drying effects of handwashing. I typically recommend my patients carry a pocket tube of moisturizer that would allow them to apply it anywhere.
Are there certain types of soaps people with eczema should avoid? Should they avoid hand sanitizer too?
What are the steps people with eczema should take to properly moisturize after washing their hands?
Read Also: Best Hypoallergenic Soap For Eczema
Allergic Contact Dermatitis Related To Hand Hygiene Products
Allergic reactions to products applied to the skin may present as delayed type reactions or less commonly as immediate reactions . The most common causes of contact allergies are fragrances and preservatives, with emulsifiers being less common. Liquid soaps, hand lotion, ointments or creams used by HCWs may contain ingredients that cause contact allergies.,
Allergic reactions to alcohol-based formulations may represent true allergy to the alcohol, or allergy to an impurity or aldehyde metabolite, or allergy to another product constituent. Allergic contact dermatitis or immediate contact urticarial reactions may be caused by ethanol or isopropanol. Allergic reactions may be caused by compounds that may be present as inactive ingredients in alcohol-based handrubs, including fragrances, benzyl alcohol, stearyl or isostearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, myristyl alcohol, propylene glycol, parabens, or benzalkonium chloride.,,,
Choosing The Best Natural Moisturizer
Moisturizing regularly and reapplying after every wash can make a big difference when it comes to skin dryness and eczema symptoms.
In a 2018 article, researchers suggested using a natural, fragrance-free oil to moisturize your hands.
Moisturizing regularly and reapplying after every wash can make a big difference when it comes to skin dryness and eczema symptoms.
In a 2018 article, researchers suggested using a natural, fragrance-free oil to moisturize your hands. Some options suggested include:
- Jojoba oil. Oils like jojoba repair your skin barrier and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil has been shown to the severity of eczema in children when applied twice daily.
- Shea butter. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- German chamomile oil. This oil alleviated symptoms of atopic dermatitis in animal studies.
- Borage oil. Borage oil improves skin barrier function.
Wearing gloves can help protect your hands. However, if theyre not used properly, they can actually make your hand eczema worse.
Heres the best advice for wearing gloves:
Recommended Reading: Psoriasis And Eczema Treatment Center Of Western Michigan
Not All Hand Sanitizers Are Created Equal
Hand sanitizers that reportedly kill germs have existed for decades, but not all of them are effective against COVID-19. Many government health agencies, like the CDC, have issued specific guidance for hand sanitizers that work against the virus, with a focus on those containing at least 60 percent ethanol or isopropanol.
The hand sanitizer you have already may not work against viruses, and it may even be less effective against bacteria. It may not contain the ingredients it says it does. If it is homemade or distillery-made, it may not contain enough alcohol or additional ingredients to ensure the alcohol is as effective as possible.
Do Hand Sanitizer Lotions Actually Work
These newer personal care products promise to fight germs and prevent dry skin. Heres what board-certified dermatologists think of them.
You already know that keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others around you healthy.
Plain old handwashing with soap and water is most effective at fighting germs, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. When youre on the go, hand sanitizer made with at least 60 percent alcohol is a good stand-in.
Hand sanitizer remains important because it helps remove germs from your hands, so that they do not end up on your face, explains Jeffrey Cohen, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. These products can help reduce your risk of the common cold and in combination with vaccines COVID-19 and the flu, Dr. Cohen adds.
But if you regularly use hand sanitizer, you know that this hygiene product comes with an unpleasant side effect: dry, cracked skin. Thats why many people follow their hand sanitizer with a moisturizer. Now, though, thanks to a host of new products in drugstores, you may be able to take this hygiene routine from two steps to one, or at least use less moisturizer after sanitizing your hands.
RELATED: 10 Surprising Causes of Dry Skin
Recommended Reading: Best Foundation For Eczema Skin
Frequency And Pathophysiology Of Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Hand hygiene products damage the skin by causing denaturation of stratum corneum proteins, changes in intercellular lipids , decreased corneocyte cohesion and decreased stratum corneum water-binding capacity., Among these, the main concern is the depletion of the lipid barrier that may be consequent to contact with lipid-emulsifying detergents and lipid-dissolving alcohols. Frequent handwashing leads to progressive depletion of surface lipids with resulting deeper action of detergents into the superficial skin layers. During dry seasons and in individuals with dry skin, this lipid depletion occurs more quickly. Damage to the skin also changes skin flora, resulting in more frequent colonization by staphylococci and Gram-negative bacilli.,
Although alcohols are safer than detergents, they can cause dryness and skin irritation., The lipid-dissolving effect of alcohols is inversely related to their concentration, and ethanol tends to be less irritating than n-propanol or isopropanol. Numerous reports confirm that alcohol-based formulations are well tolerated and often associated with better acceptability and tolerance than other hand hygiene products.,,
Cleansmart Skin And Hand Cleanser
If, despite the glycerin, dimethicone and jojoba seed oil, the alcohol still stings or irritates the skin, I recommend CleanSmart Skin and Hand Cleanser, which is an alcohol-free antimicrobial hand sanitizer that uses hypochlorous acid technology to kill microbes. This would be the safest option for eczema-prone and other sensitive skin, advises Dr. King.
Where to buy: , check prices and reviews
Read Also: Best Cream For Eczema On Feet
Touchland Power Mist Watermelon Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray
Power Mist might have just created the cutest and most versatile hand sanitizer that will fit easily in your back pocket or in your purse or wallet. Its pulverizer spray system helps get the hand sanitizer to evaporate more easily onto your hands and helps distribute a perfect amount. It’s 99.99 percent free of any and almost all harmful, illness-causing germs, and is filled with natural hydrating ingredients to moisturize your hands.
Where to buy: , check prices and reviews
Hand Eczema & Hand Hygiene During Covid
In March 2020 the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 to be a pandemic. As of 14 March 2021, more than 119 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.64 million deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. Various preventative measures are recommended by the WHO and Centre of Disease Control. These include, but are not limited to, social distancing, wearing of face masks, covering ones mouth when sneezing or coughing, surface decontamination and frequent and proper handwashing. The WHO recommends washing ones hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds many times a day. If water and soap is not available, the recommendation is to apply hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. It is advised to rub the gel over all surfaces of the hands until it is dry.
For those of us who already had HE before March 2020 this pandemic offers different types of challenges. At the entrance of every shop, restaurant, business, school, hospital you name it we are obliged to apply the hand sanitizers provided. If not, one is denied entry and rightly so. The sanitizer causes burning when in contact with the cracks and the breaks in the skin puts the HE sufferer at higher risk of the development of COVID-19 with the virus gaining access to the body through the cracks in the skin.
Read Also: What Is The Most Common Cause Of Eczema