I talked briefly about hand washing including hand sanitisers in my previous blog post here – https://deeperthaneczema.co.uk/managing-eczema-during-the-covid-19-pandemic and as we’re now in the 2nd wave of the pandemic, I’ve decided to broaden more on this area in order to help and give some further advice based on personal experiences and research.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I have been taking extra care with handwashing at the start of the pandemic by following NHS and government guidelines by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When unable to wash my hands or if on the go I always carry some hand sanitiser and hand anti-bacterial wipes with me. A lot of shops, pubs, restaurants, train/tub stations, offices and hospitals etc have also been very good with supplying hand sanitisers.
The British association of Dermatologists (BAD) recommends for eczema sufferers to wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water along with government guidelines even if you have dry and cracked skin. This is because soap is more effective of removing traces of COVID 19 particles from the skin.
Due to this it is even more important to find ways of managing dry skin and hand eczema that may be caused by frequent hand washing.
So how can we manage this?
- Use a cream or ellioment after washing hands with soap and water in order to protect the skin and also when skin feels sore
- Once hands are dry do not rub instead pat them dry
- Take extra care on sections on the hands that are more prone to dryness/cracking (e.g. in-between the fingers)
- Try rehydrating hands overnight by wearing cotton gloves with ellioment
- When using products that may irritate the skin such as cleaning products wear cleaning gloves.
- If you use hand sanitiser apply cream or an ellioment after to avoid drying or irritation. Please note that sanitisers that are strong in alcohol levels are more likely to irate the skin.
- Contact your GP or dermatologist the issue escalates and need treatment. This may be difficult these days, however still important even if the appointment is via phone or online.
- When out and about avoid touching surfaces, but if not possible do not eat or touch your face especially eyes, nose and mouth as COVID 19 can enter through these parts of the body.
The national eczema society recently asked followers on their social media accounts which soaps are the most recommended. Based on the responses the below was recommended:
They don’t recommend applying olive oil due to this potentially damaging the skin barrier but this product appears to be useful based on those who responded. Personally I have been using Aveeno cream on my skin for the past several months all over my body including hands. Recently soap has not dried out my hands too much but hand sanitiser does so I cream my hands more regularly.
Another thing to remember is to take the time of year into consideration. Autumn is here therefore there may be a difference with skin moisture. Also as the seasons change changing to another cream or ellioment may be necessary.
Useful links about hand washing and eczema
- Coronavirus: How hand washing advice and hand sanitisers are causing flare ups for people with eczema and psoriasis – https://inews.co.uk/news/coronavirus-hand-washing-advice-hand-sanitisers-eczema-psoriasis
2. Advice on COVID 19 for people with eczema – https://eczema.org/blog/advice-on-coronavirus-covid-19-for-people-with-eczema/