5 tips for healthy hands (when washing makes them dry)

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There’s never been a more important time to wash your hands. Before meals, yes.  After using the restroom, yes. But now, with the global outbreak of COVID-19, experts agree that frequent hand-washing is a top tip for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should wash your hands often, with warm water and soap, for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands whenever you’ve been in a public place, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. And while soap and water is your most effective option, you can also use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

So what happens when frequent washing leaves your hands dry and raw? It means they need a little extra TLC. Adopting these five easy practices will get them smooth and healthy in no time.

  1. Use moisturizing soap

Some soaps can be especially harsh and drying. Always choose an option that is both antibacterial and moisturizing. Creamy soaps tend to have more moisturizing benefits, and soaps with glycerin and lanoline tend to be easier on the hands. Be sure to rinse your hands thoroughly so you don’t cause extra drying.

  1. Wash with warm water

Water that is too hot can strip your hands of natural oils. Cold water is just as effective in cleaning your hands, but it is rarely desired, and could lead to you not washing as long as you should. Choose lukewarm water with a moisturizing soap to find a happy medium.

  1. Apply a strong moisturizer

Choose a moisturizer that is specific to hands, and go for a cream over a lotion. Creams tend to contain more moisturizing ingredients and less water. Finding a moisturizer with an exfoliating agent, like glycolic or lactic acid, can be beneficial, as many people with dry skin need to shed the dead top layer of skin.

  1. Wear gloves

Give your hands an overnight moisture boost by applying a thick layer of cream before bedtime and covering them with cotton gloves. Gloves will keep the moisturizer from rubbing off, and your hands will stay warm and unexposed to drying air.

  1. Treat with a skin balm

Even the strongest moisturizers can have trouble against extra dry skin. If your hands have sore, cracked areas, try treating them with a skin balm, such as Vaseline. Balms can soothe your hands, while offering an extra layer of protection from the elements.

To ensure your hands are top of mind, keep lotion everywhere — next to the bathroom sink, on the kitchen counter and next to your bed. Self-care is important during this trying time, but self-care for your hands will help remind you to keep them clean and virus-free.

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