We’re excited to announce we’ve merged with Grossmont Dermatology


Hands Dry From Frequent Washing? Try Our 5 Tips

Posted on: May 4th, 2020 by Dr. Christopher Crosby

If you’re following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19, you are probably washing your hands and using hand sanitizer more than ever. Lots of handwashing and sanitizing can have an unpleasant side effect: dry, itchy or irritated hands.

Your skin has a naturally protective lipid barrier to keep it moisturized. But soaps, hot water and sanitizers break down this barrier, causing moisture to evaporate. As a result, the skin on your hands can become flaky, itchy, scaly or red. Your hands may also feel sensitive after washing.

This is no reason to stop handwashing or sanitizing. According to the skin care specialists at Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic, certain techniques and products can help keep dry hands at bay.

1. Use Lukewarm Water

Hot water “melts” away your skin’s protective lipid layer, but cold water does not. Whenever possible, avoid cleansing with hot water and use lukewarm or cool water instead. Be sure to follow the CDC’s recommendations of washing for at least 20 seconds with soap, and don’t forget to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and underneath your nails.

2. Pat to Dry

After you’ve finished washing, pat or blot your hands dry with a towel instead of rubbing them.

3. Apply Hand Cream After Every Wash

Immediately after drying your hands, slather them with a thick lotion or cream to restore moisture. If you have used hand sanitizer, wait until the sanitizer has completely dried before applying lotion or moisturizer.

Look for products with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, mineral oil or petrolatum. If your hands are extremely dry, stick to products packaged in a squeeze tube or jar, as they tend to have a thicker consistency than lotions in pump bottles.

4. Wear Gloves At Night

For extra lubrication, consider coating your hands with a heavy cream or ointment product and wearing cotton gloves to seal in the moisture. You can do this for an hour or so as you watch your favorite television show or read a book, or at night while you sleep.

5. Apply Cuticle Cream

Frequent handwashing can also dry out your nails and nail beds. Extremely dry nails may tear or split, and hang nails can get caught and bleed. Cuticle cream is designed to penetrate the slim space between your nails and skin. If you don’t have cuticle cream or can’t find it, massage hand cream into your cuticles and nails.

Contact Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic

For more information about treating dry, irritated, scaly skin, please contact our practice today.

Coastal Skin & Eye Institute/Grossmont Dermatology