A lot of my readers complain of dry skin, especially over their hands. And whenever I go into the details of History, I come to know that they are mostly using an antiseptic soap or a hand wash. I am warning you to avoid antiseptic hand soaps for preventing dry hands.
Why you need to avoid antiseptic hand soaps and sanitizers?
There is a fad nowadays of using hand sanitizers and antiseptic soaps and hand washes on a regular basis. If you are not working in any hospital setting where you are exposed to germs or infections on a regular basis, there’s absolutely no need for you to use any of these products.
These products usually contain alcohol. So it causes dryness of the skin and strips the skin of the oil, leading to more dryness and irritation and itching over the skin.
Antiseptic soaps and hand washes are widely marketed and promoted for removing 99% of germs and killing 99% of germs. We do not want to kill that many germs, right?
There are bacteria that is present normally on the surface of our skin, which is important for the biology of the skin, which protects our skin from other infections and maintains the barrier of the skin. So, we do not want to completely strip it off all these important bacteria and oils.
These bacteria, which are present on the skin is known as normal flora. They do have a protective mechanism. So if you’re a frequent, hand-washing is only going to cause more harm than good, and is counterproductive. And also water can be an irritant. So if you are continuously washing your hands, like five to six times in a day, then you are only irritating the skin and stripping the skin of the oil. So make sure that, even if you do have to wash hands few times in a day, make sure that you follow that up with a thick hand cream in order to restore moisture and to restore the Skin Barrier.
People who use these antiseptic soaps and hand washes often complain not only of dryness of the skin but also of irritation and itching and even scaling of the skin.
What this antiseptic soaps and hand washes do?
They strip the skin of the oil. Thereby, exposing the underlying skin surface, which is more prone to irritation. So this is seen in women who engage in kitchen work, who tend to wash their hands multiple times before the initiate the work, and after they finish.
So, if you are a homemaker who works in the kitchen, make sure that you use hand washes, the minimum number of times. Try to use only plain water to wash your hands most of the time and then use hand washes as less frequently as possible. And as soon as you finish your housework, make sure that you’re using a very thick layer of moisturizer on your entire hands and then you can rest. Do not let your hands just dry and remain dry.
Make sure that you moisturize it after you finish your work. This is very important in restoring the barrier of skin.
The irritation that results after using antiseptic hand washes and soaps are more pronounce in the webs of the fingers and also, on side of the fingers. You can see little bit of redness. This is due to frequent repeated, hand-washing, which is completely stripping the skin of the oil and causing more, dryness and irritation.
If there is any breakage in the Skin Barrier, any damage to the Skin Barrier done, then those people also become more prone to developing allergies. You might develop contact allergy to either garlic, onion if you’re doing kitchen work or, you know, any kind of nickel allergy or anything that comes in contact with your skin. Make sure that you are maintaining the barrier of the skin, maintaining the continuity, over the skin by applying good amount of moisturizer. And also by reducing the number of times you wash your hands.
**Please do not use antiseptic soaps for bathing, especially if you have normal to dry skin. This will only cause itching and irritation and be really counterproductive.
So you can use any mild regular soap for your body as well as a washing hands, which contains glycerin. If you are a frequent hand wash, or make sure that your soap contains glycerine. This will dry out your skin less and leave a thin layer of moisture behind.
If you must use a sanitizer, like, let’s see in a condition where you are nursing a newborn baby or in conditions you are with somebody who is bedridden and, you know, you don’t want to expose that person to infections, make sure that after you use the hand sanitizer. You must follow it up with a thick moisturizer. This will help in restoring the oil that has been stripped off by the alcohol, present in the hand sanitizer. And maintain the Skin Barrier and make your skin more Supple. Also if you have a habbit of frequently washing your hands, you must not use a towel to wipe it off. Use like a blotting paper or a tissue paper or a very thin cotton towel to wipe your hands and just dab it off.
Don’t rub it off or, you know, be very gentle with it. Don’t try too harshly rub it off. Be very gentle and just dab the excess water off. We do not want to abrade the skin. We don’t want to strip the skin off the oil, just general dabbing should be good enough.
Remember that on mind, gentle soap, preferably those containing glycerine are good enough for washing your hands. Do not go for any kind of antiseptic hand washes or sanitizers on a daily basis. You can use them if need be but do not use it on a regular basis.