While the Weather Outside is Frightful, Your Hands Don’t Have to Be
Hand Washing Awareness Week, December 1-7, 2020
You know the feeling. As the seasons change, your skin, especially on your hands and feet, becomes dry, rough, tight, itchy and flaky. But 2020 is a year like no other. Between the threat of COVID, the flu and just common caution, you’re likely washing your hands more than ever before, and that calls for ramping up your skin care routine to keep them healthy and hydrated.
If my hands are in water more often, why do they feel dry?
Cold, dry air has less humidity. Indoors, heaters are on almost constantly, exposing your hands and skin to forced dry air. Long, hot showers or baths feel especially relaxing when there’s a chill outside. Unfortunately, they can strip your skin of the oils that protect it.
Even Halloween candy, pumpkin pie and other less healthy holiday treats can impact your skin, as you eat more of the bad fats and less of the good fats that keep your skin smooth and elastic.
All of these steal the moisture from your skin and reduce its ability to even hold the moisture you try to add back in. Things you may normally do — like applying lotion to your hands and skin — aren’t enough.
AND… It would be impossible to forget that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls hand washing "a do-it-yourself vaccine". They also say that the simple act of washing your hands can help prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 infections, including the flu. They suggest washing your hands often with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. There is a lot of science behind this recommendation.
So how do you stop winter from “weatherizing” your hands?
1. Limit your time in the tub or shower
Keep your showers to 10 minutes or less. If you enjoy a long bath, add baking soda to the tub to relieve itchy skin. Wash up in warm water instead of hot. You want it to feel more like a heated pool than a hot tub.
2. Stick to gentle skin products and practices
Many skin care products have alcohol or alkaline pH balances that dry out your skin. Advanced Dermatology has products with gentler formulas that help keep your skin moisturized.
3. Use a humidifier
Humidifiers are helpful for relieving dry skin and chapped lips. Place a humidifier in the room you’re in the most and by your bed when you sleep to add moisture back into the air.
4. Wear gloves or mittens
The easiest way to protect your hands from extreme cold and wind is to wear warm gloves or mittens when you head outdoors. Apply moisturizer before you put them on to help lock in moisture. You can even wear thin cotton gloves under warmer wool ones to prevent itching and irritation.
5. Moisturize more
Applying moisturizer after you clean your hands is a good practice year-round. Come wintertime you’ll find yourself rubbing lotion on your hands and face more frequently.
Using an oil-based or ointment moisturizer can help trap moisture in your skin. For best results, apply these a few minutes after you wash and dry your hands, face or body.
6. Seek help from one of our skin specialists
Choosing the best skin care products is not an easy task. And this isn’t a year for trial and error.
Let’s shake on it!
Washing your hands is vital to keeping you safe. To get immediate help for your dry, itchy, winter hands and skin, book an appointment online with one of our dermatology and aesthetic professionals or call 866.400.3376 (DERM). If you have a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes or other condition which is worsened because of increased hand washing and colder temperatures, we can help. If you have no underlying conditions but are suffering from dry, itchy hands and skin, our cosmetic dermatology and aesthetics professionals can analyze your skin type, offer advice on your skin care routine and recommend the best products for you. Learn more about our products.