Dry, Cracked Skin On Hands And Knuckles? Here Are Some Tips And Tricks For Relief

Excessive washing hand and using hand sanitizers can leave your skin dry and flaky. Here Are Some Tried And Tested Treatments.  

Written by: Tavishi Dogra Updated at: 2020-10-16 12:23

Global Handwashing Day 2020: Global Handwashing Day befalls on 15 October of every year. It is an international handwashing promotion campaign to mobilize and motivate people and enhance their handwashing habits. Washing hands at crucial points during the day with soap are both essential. Hand washing is crucial to the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, the increased frequency of washing our hands may leave our skin dry, cracked, peeling, and even painful. This can make the skin more susceptive to germs and other bacteria. What should people avoid when their skin is chapped? Products which have strong fragrance can be irritating to chap, sensitive skin. Creams and ointments are better than lotions. Hand sanitizers with more than recommended alcohol content can be drying to chapped skin. Hand sanitizer with a moisturizing base can be also be used, but it will not be as effective in killing viruses as other sanitizers.

When to Wash Your Hands? It is recommended washing your hands in the following situations:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after caring for a patient
  • Before and after treating a wounded a cut
  • After using the bathroom or changing a sanitary napkin/diaper
  • After blowing the nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After touching an animal, animal excreta or animal feed.
  • After touching garbage or any doorknob, use the elbow to push open the doors.

Lukewarm water

  • Never use hot water; always use lukewarm water to wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds in lukewarm water.
  • After washing your hands, moisturize as soon as possible.
  • To help seal in the moisture, apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
  • Apply hand cream or ointment to the skin, making sure to use on the fingertips and nails.
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Moisturizer: Tends to feel less irritating to dry and chapped skin

Among the various kinds of moisturizers, hand creams are better than body lotion as they are more nourishing and are specifically made for the hands. Lotions, which are mainly water-based, can further dry out the skin as the water eventually evaporates. Oil-based creams are more effective after washing hands. Nighttime is a perfect time to give your skin a rest. Put on a thick cream. It is recommended to use a hand cream or ointment that:

  • Contains mineral oil or petrolatum
  • Says it’s “fragrance-free” and “dye-free.”
  • Rather than a pump-bottle, it comes in a tube.
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What are the tips and tricks for dry skin relief?

  • Substitute hand sanitizer for soap: Hand sanitizer is another option to limit hand washing until the skin recovers, but not before eating, after going to the bathroom or when hands are soiled.
  • Blot dry: Allow your hands to air dry or lightly pat them with a clean towel to avoid further damage to the skin. Paper towels are a suitable option, but if you use cloth, each person in a home should have their towel which should be replaced with clean ones every three days. The hot air can have a similarly irritating effect; hence one should skip hand dryers.
  • Don’t Stress: Beyond chapped hands, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can contribute to outbreaks of shingles and cold sores and can cause flare-ups of pre-existing conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and seborrhoea.
(Medically reviewed by Dr DM Mahajan, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals)

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