- Frequent, thorough handwashing is an important way to avoid the coronavirus.
- But scrubbing our hands so often can take a toll on some people’s skin.
- We asked a dermatologist to recommend seven common products that will prevent rough, cracked hands.
- View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.
Health officials say thorough and frequent handwashing is one of the most important ways to fight against the coronavirus.
But scrubbing our hands that often, for 20 seconds each time, can take a toll.
Proteins called ceramides help keep our skin cells bound together, and too much handwashing causes the ceramides to slowly break down, which leads to rough and cracked hands.
One way to prevent this from happening, according to dermatologist Sapna Palep, is to rinse with lukewarm water rather than scalding hot water. Drying our hands with a soft cloth or paper towel also helps.
But the best way to protect our hands, Palep says, is to moisturize with cream or ointment after each wash. Here are seven products she recommends for hands at every stage of dryness — all of which can be found just off the shelves of a local pharmacy.
- CeraVe moisturizing cream: If your hands are just starting to get dry and you don’t need something so greasy, this product has a nice consistency that helps add moisture.
- Aveeno Skin Relief lotion: This creamy treatment also goes on pretty light. It contains an ingredient called Triple Oat Complex that combines ceramides with rich emollients.
“These two are great for if someone’s not in too bad of shape but on their way to getting rougher skin,” Palep told Business Insider Today.
- AmLactin Ultra Smoothing hydrating cream: If your hands are getting rougher, you’ll need something called a keratolytic, which sloughs off the skin and smooths out bumpy areas. AmLactin combines keratolytics with emollients to hydrate the skin.
- Eucerin Roughness Relief lotion: This is also an option for dealing with more severe dryness. “Lactic acid and urea are my two favorite things when the skin is getting rough and bumpy,” Palep said. “I love this one because it’s got everything in it.”
And if your hands have become cracked and fissured and you’re in pain from frequent handwashing, Palep said she usually prescribes a topical steroid along with one of the following three products to use on a daily basis:
- Vaseline: “No.1 dermatologist-recommended for 100% petroleum jelly,” Palep said. “It is a staple.” Vaseline is triple purified, which means all impurities are taken out of it.
- Aquaphor Advanced Therapy healing ointment: This is a thick, greasy product that works for all types of skin issues — including cracks, fissures, burns, and abrasions.
- Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream: This glycerin-rich ointment is so greasy that Palep recommends applying it at night time and then covering your hands with cotton gloves. “Just one night of using that makes such a big difference,” she said.
When browsing for other products, Palep said the buzzwords to look for are “dry, cracked skin,” “skin relief,” and “advanced repair.” She advises using creams and ointments instead of lotions — and says “please, please, please go unscented.”
Palep also suggested keeping little bottles of these products in your pocket or purse — or placing them right next to your soap at home — to remind yourself to moisturize after every time you wash your hands.
“The whole thing is prevention,” she said. “If we do that regularly, you’re never going to get to that dry cracks and fissures stage.”
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