Dr. Lazic here, I wanted to share with you a quick guide on proper hand hygiene during this Omicron wave! As a dermatologist working through the pandemic, I have seen countless cases of hand dermatitis from frequent hand washing or sanitizing. With Omicron being by far the most contagious variant of Covid-19, we need to perfect our hand hygiene, while keeping the skin protective barrier healthy. Repeated exposure to water, soap, alcohol-based sanitizers, and other detergents can cause what is known as irritant contact dermatitis, a form of eczema that can cause the skin to become sore, swollen, red, and develop blisters or painful cracks. Of course, we absolutely NEED to keep our hands clean, so what can we do to prevent hand dermatitis in time of a pandemic? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends these 3 simple steps:
1. Use Lukewarm Water, not Hot
Use lukewarm water (rather than hot water which can cause dryness), and use soap to wash every part of your hands.
2. Pat or Air Dry
Pat dry (rather than rubbing with the towel, which can contribute to injuring the skin protective barrier) or air dry your hands
3. Moisturize Afterwards
While your hands are still slightly damp, it is crucial to moisturize to lock-in that moisture and protect and repair the skin barrier. If the skin’s barrier becomes cracked or irritated this can increase our susceptibility to more irritation, allergies and infection.
Use Fragrance-Free and Dye-Free Moisturizers
We recommend using a fragrance-free, and dye-free moisturizer, which contain either mineral oil or petrolatum (preferably a cream or an ointment, rather than a lotion, as lotions tend to contain more water and alcohol which can be drying).
Moisturize after using Hand-Sanitizer
When you use a hand-sanitizer (which normally contains drying alcohol), apply a moisturizer immediately after the sanitizer dries off.
Remember, dry skin causes a compromised skin barrier and increases your risk of infection. When skin is moist, it can better protect you from germs. So, keep washing your hands, but don’t let them dry out. Follow the recommended steps of washing with lukewarm water and moisturizing immediately after, and you will be on the right track!
We hope this short guide will help you achieve healthier skin during this ongoing pandemic. For more skincare tips, tricks, and general advice, make sure to follow us all on Instagram @hudsonderm@drlazicnyc@drbhanusali@drmianskin