Frequently washing your hands with an antibacterial hand wash is thought to be the best way to keep yourself and others safe from harmful bacteria but it can leave you with dry, cracked skin or eczema.
Ever wondered why hands are so vulnerable to dryness? Here’s what you can do keep them feeling soft and nourished.
Why does hand sanitising leave hands feeling dry?
The best hygiene practice is to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day or to use an antibacterial hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to soap and water.
This will expose your skin to a variety of antibacterial actives which can help to stop infections entering the skin. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is one such active but as well as killing bacteria, it also strips away skin’s natural moisture.
If your hand sanitiser contains a high volume of this skin-drying ingredient, it’s normal to notice that your hands feel dry after frequent use.
It’s also not just alcohol-rubs which can leave your skin feeling dry; hands have few sebaceous glands so frequently washing them with skin-drying soaps that contain Sodium lauryl sulphate will draw moisture out of the skin and may leave the hands feeling sore and irritated.
How to protect dry hands from hand washing
1) APPLY HAND CREAM IN BETWEEN HAND WASHES
Not only is having dry skin on your hands uncomfortable, it can mean that your skin barrier has been compromised.
A strong, healthy skin barrier plays an important role in keeping bad bacteria away from the body so, if frequent hand washing leaves you with dry skin, make sure you replenish the skin with a hand cream made with actives known to support the skin barrier.
Perilla Seed oil is an ideal natural ingredient for supporting the skin barrier on the hands. Easily absorbed by the skin and rich in flavones and antioxidants, Perilla oil contains a natural precursor for ceramides.
This plays a role in maintaining the skin barrier and protects against water loss. Another benefit of this omega-rich oil is that it contains polyphenols and triterpenoids. These natural molecules provide anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-allergic benefits to the skin.
If you have eczema or your hands are frequently irritated by hand care products, support your skin barrier with Squalane hand care. A natural emollient, Squalane increases moisture levels in the skin, locking in long-lasting hydration. This anti-inflammatory ingredient will also reduce redness and calm irritation.
2) USE SLS-FREE SOAP
An easy way to avoid dry skin when washing your hands frequently is to use an SLS-free hand wash.
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is commonly added to soaps and hand washes to make them foam but, like ethanol alcohol, it can dry the skin.
To avoid this, all Green People hand washes are made without SLS and or ethanol alcohol.
3) DRY YOUR HANDS
Drying your hands thoroughly is as important as washing them regularly. Not only will excess soap cling to the skin, putting it at risk of irritation and dryness, but damp, wet hands will attract more germs than dry, clean ones.
Pay particular attention to drying in between your fingers.
4) WEAR GLOVES WHEN CLEANING & WASHING UP
Detergents and washing-up liquids can contain harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances and SLS. These ingredients can aggravate already sensitised skin and are best avoided when you are suffering with dry skin or eczema on your hands.
If you’re doing the cleaning or washing up, always pop on a pair of protective, waterproof gloves to protect your hands.
5) TREAT HANDS TO AN INTENSE HYDRATION HAND MASK
Very dry hands can benefit from an overnight hand mask. Apply a hand cream that’s rich in nourishing actives just before bed and, for extra intense hydration, wear cotton gloves whilst you sleep.
A hand cream for very dry hands
Our restorative Manuka & Lemon Tea Tree Hand Cream contains eight base oils which work in synergy to hydrate and nourish the skin whilst protecting and reinforcing the skin barrier.
Apply it overnight and expect your hands to feel softer and more comfortable come morning.
- Shea Butter locks water into the upper layers of the skin
- Squalane acts as a natural emollient. It absorbs instantly through the skin’s deepest layers, relieving irritation and providing immediate and long-lasting hydration
- Perilla Seed oil maintains the skin barrier to protect against water loss
- Olive oil has unique balance of fatty acids and helps skin to retain nutrients
- Jojoba esters combined with glycerin to increase skin hydration by more than 40%
Need help choosing the right hand care products for you? Whether you want help choosing a hand cream for dry skin or a natural antibacterial hand wash, our team is happy to help.
They can be contacted Monday - Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm on telephone (0)1403 740350.