Woman washing hands

Hand Washing Tips for People with Eczema

Thorough hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of viruses but frequent hand washing can worsen eczema on hands, causing dry, cracked or itchy skin. So, is there any way for people with eczema to protect their skin while protecting themselves from germs? The simple answer is yes. Here's how to do that:

Moisturise Immediately

Soap strips your hands of natural oils that prevent your skin from drying out. Applying moisturiser immediately after you wash your hands can counter much of the drying effects of hand washing. If you can, carry a tube of moisturiser so you can apply it at any time. Make sure you pat your hands dry with a paper towel or tissue, as frequent drying with a towel can be traumatic to your skin.

Avoid Harsh Soaps

A lot of the antiseptic hand washes and antibacterial soaps you see on the shelves are harsh on your skin. You should avoid these soaps, as normal soap works just as well when you use the proper technique (wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds).

Wear Gloves

You're probably going to be doing a lot more cleaning than usual. This means you're going to be handling detergents and cleaning products a lot more often. These detergents will have to be washed off your hands after you use them, which is another opportunity for your eczema to flare up. Wear latex gloves, before you handle any products, as these provide a physical barrier that protects the skin from chemical irritants.

Be Vigilant

Let's say your hands become dry and cracked. One of the most important aspects of hand hygiene is the integrity of the skin barrier. If you know harsh soaps and frequent handwashing trigger your eczema, you should be proactive and keep an eye on the condition of your hands. If your hands still dry out despite your best efforts, you may need to use a prescription topical therapy to reduce inflammation.

If you have eczema on your hands, there's no need to forego frequent handwashing. You just have to moisturise more often and keep an eye on the conditions of your hands. Besides, when you consider how much work your hands do for you, pampering them isn't such a bad idea.