Dermatologist Tips: How to Look After Your Hands | Keller, TX

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While it’s true that washing your hands frequently with soap effectively removes germs and dirt from your skin, it can also remove your skin’s natural oils. Harsh soaps used too often can result in a dry, rough feeling on your hands. Depending on your cleanser of choice, some brands are more drying than others, and some may be quite abrasive. If you’ve got a tendency for dry skin anyway, and often see your dermatologist for this very reason, you may notice a sharp increase in the dryness and flakiness of your skin, as you are encouraged to wash your hands more with soaps.

If you suffer from patches of dry, flaking skin on your hands or face, you’ll notice it’s more frequent when the outside air is drier. Even indoors, if you don’t have a humidifier in your home, you may notice it happening more frequently. With current health regimes suggesting frequent handwashing is the way forward, looking after your hands by adopting an excellent hand care routine is something every dermatologist will be recommending this season.

Everyone from the World Health Organization to your local doctor is pushing for an increase in handwashing habits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It’s no secret that there’s a link between handwashing and dry hands – any dermatologist you speak to will be able to attest to this, and also work with you to develop a skincare routine that suits your skin type.

Both liquid soaps and bars of soap can, unfortunately, have a drying effect on your skin, depending on their active ingredients. Pure soap is a mixture of salts and fatty acids. This caustic mix is capable of removing your skin’s protective acid layer, which can adversely affect the condition of your skin.

If you’ve got a pre-existing skin condition such as eczema, you may find that ‘normal’ soap is quite hard on your skin. Your Keller, TX, dermatologist will be able to recommend softer varieties that are kinder to your skin – after all, looking after your skin is our profession! Handwashing choices can be very confusing when you don’t have access to a doctor to analyze your skin condition and recommend a suitable care regimen.

In a nutshell, both liquid and bar soaps do the same thing for normal skin. But if you’ve got sensitive skin that’s prone to dryness or reaction, your dermatologist may likely recommend avoidance of liquid soaps. Liquid soaps can have added preservatives, fragrances, and other ingredients that may act as allergens, making it harder for you to achieve soft, hydrated skin if your skin is in any way sensitive.

If you’re lucky enough to have hand sanitizers available, using these can be less drying than a soap and water routine if you find that soap and water are unavailable. Hand sanitizer can help to kill viruses on your skin, especially if it has a high alcohol percentage, making it the go-to choice in areas where reducing infection rates is critical, such as hospitals and other potentially crowded spots. However, if you do have sensitive skin to start with or you have a broken skin barrier, hand sanitizer is more of an irritant.

Whether you have dry, sensitive skin or not, including a moisturizer in your skincare routine will help to keep your skin in good condition. Dermatologists everywhere know that what you’re doing when you’re moisturizing is helping to restore the skin barrier, replacing your skin’s natural oils that might have been wiped away or destroyed by an excessive hand washing routine.

Looking after your hands can be as simple as introducing the right moisturizer. Three main types are available to choose from: lotions, creams, and ointments. Lotions are often sold in pump packs, often feel lighter and more absorbent than other types of moisturizer, and can avoid the greasy, sticky feeling. You’ll typically find creams sold in jars and tubes, and they can often feel heavier and oilier than lotions, but they do last longer on your skin. Another side effect of using cream is that your skin may feel slippery or sticky afterward – a complete opposite to the dry, flaky feeling you may experience with soaps.

Ointments are oil-based, tubed concoctions that are known for being the heaviest, greasiest option. If you have been recommended or prescribed an ointment to treat a skin condition or help your skin to feel less dry, it’s often best used before bed as you’ll not be using your hands for a while.

Every dermatologist will have their favorites. Everyday skincare routines that may be advised by your doctor include using a light moisturizing lotion throughout the day to avoid drying out or irritating your hands unnecessarily. In contrast, nightly hand care routines will usually include creams or ointments that will help your skin to repair overnight.

There are a few key ideas to keep in mind when choosing the right hand treatments to help avoid dry, irritated skin:

  • Don’t buy a fragranced moisturizer with essential oils if you can avoid it. The more ingredients a moisturizer has, the more likely it may include an allergen that can upset your skin further.

 

  • Try to avoid runny oils as these aren’t known for hydration.

 

  • Don’t share any moisturizers you do have with others, and only use your moisturizer after you have already washed your hands with your preferred soap or sanitizer.

 

  • If you notice your hands are becoming itchy or irritated, stop using the product, and try to speak to a dermatologist, doctor, or healthcare professional by phone, before turning up at your local office for an appointment.

While ongoing pandemics such as COVID-19 are in effect, Compassion Dermatology in Keller, TX, offers revised patient guidelines. Product purchases are still available and can be processed by phone while you wait in your car. Payments can still be made online or over the phone. If you’re looking for a suitable hand care product, contact your dermatologist at Compassion to see what we’ve got in stock and what we can recommend to help you minimize the adverse effects of a repeated, aggressive hand washing routine.


Dermatologist: Handwashing During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know | Southlake, TX

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With the globe locked in the COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing has taken center stage like never before. The CDC says that washing the hands is one of the best and most effective means of preventing the spread of germs in your community. Let’s look at the CDC’s recommendations for handwashing and some advice from dermatologists on keeping your hands healthy despite frequent abuse from soap, water, and hand sanitizer.

When to Wash

The CDC says it is important to wash your hands before, during and after making food, prior to eating, and before and after providing care for a sick person. Additionally, take time to wash your hands before and after treating cuts, wounds, and scrapes, after toileting or diapering a baby, and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing. And don’t forget to give your hands a good scrub after touching animals or their food or waste.

How to Wash

The CDC outlines the best procedure for washing your hands:

  • Wet the hands with clean running water. Turn the tap off. Apply your choice of soap.

 

  • Rub the hands together to lather them; lather the entire hand, including the fingers and under the nails.

 

  • Take at least 20 seconds to scrub your hands. If there’s no timer available, hum “Happy Birthday” in its entirety twice before rinsing your hands with clear running water.

 

  • Air dry your hands or dry them with a clean towel.

If you’re using hand sanitizer instead, make sure it is at least 60% alcohol by content. Apply the product to your hand, and rub your hands, fingers, and nails for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Pitfalls of Frequent Handwashing

Even during normal times, your hands take a beating, according to dermatologists. Factor in the evolving COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic, and you’ve got a recipe for dry, cracked, raw, and chapped hands due to all of the frequent hand-washing that health authorities recommend to reduce the viral spread and keep you, your families, and Southlake, TX, community safer from this unseen enemy lurking on every surface. Admittedly, dry hands are the least of our collective worries at the moment, but dermatologists warn that it is also important to keep the hands healthy, since chafing and cracking can make your skin more vulnerable to various infection types. It can also lead to the development of conditions like eczema.

The red, itchy, flaky, rash-laden hands that are prevalent in restaurant workers and health care employees are now being seen more and more in the general population as folks scramble to fight off coronavirus germs. Frequent washing of the hands and the application of hand sanitizers along with the use of solutions and wipes used to clean surfaces can really punish your hands. So what can you do to help your hands cope?

Choose a Mild Cleanser

You do not need industrial-strength or even antibacterial soap to clean your hands and remove bacteria and viruses, dermatologists advise. Look for cleansers (even those meant for the body or face) that are free from fragrances and marketed with words such as “sensitive,” “hydrating,” or “gentle.” Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are less irritating to the hands than soap, says dermatologists, and they kill microbes on your skin without removing debris. The CDC warns that hand sanitizers are less effective than soap in cleaning the hands, but professionals say that it makes sense to use them sometimes, such as when you touch a door handle or other possibly contaminated surface.

Avoid Overly Hot Water

Your skin is a delicate organ, and your hands, although designed to withstand a lot, are not impervious to the abuse they go through. While it is almost instinctual to use the hottest water you can stand to try to remove potential pathogens, the CDC says that germ removal is not impacted by water temperature. Because of this, you don’t have to have overly hot water to wash your hands efficiently. Choose water that is at an ideal temperature for your personal tastes, keeping in mind that the hotter the water, the greater the drying impact on your hands.

Moisturize

Choose a fragrance-free lotion or hand cream to keep by your sink, and use it after each and every handwash. It will protect and soothe your skin to defend it against dryness and flaking. Before heading to bed each night, hydrate your hands to the max with our favorite lotion after cleansing them gently one last time for the day. Lotion should be applied while your hands are still moist and warm.

Protect Your Hands

When you’re outside in the cold, protect your hands with gloves or mittens. And don’t forget to wear gloves when you’re washing dishes or cleaning, especially when using cleaners that may irritate your condition further. This will reduce dryness and irritation.

Avoid Scratching

If the skin on your hands is dry, it’s natural to want to scratch it. However, doing so can make things worse. Dermatologists recommend over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for those times when itching is bothersome. You can also go for an anti-itch relief lotion or a moisturizer that cools while it hydrates.

When To Call Your Dermatologist

If you find yourself unable to heal your dry or cracked hands at home, you may need to be seen by your Southlake, TX, dermatologist Compassion Dermatology. There are several medicinal creams and ointments available to make your hands feel better, including topical steroid creams such as betamethasone or clobetasol. There are also nonsteroidal options, including creams like Elidel and ointments containing crisaborole. Your dermatologist can also evaluate your hands to determine if frequent hand washing is truly the culprit of your dry, chapped hands. Eczema, nerve injuries, underlying health problems, and reactions to medications may also be to blame.