Chances are you take great care of your face since it is the focal point of your appearance and first impression when you meet people. However, our hands interact with the world as much or more, and are exposed every day to hard work, the elements, natural and chemical irritants, and germs.
It’s easy to say “wash your hands and use lotion” if you have healthy skin, but what if your skin is damaged and you are suffering from eczema, TSW, psoriasis, or dermatitis?
Clean Often, But Gently
Since your hands are in contact with so many surfaces throughout the day, and also can come in contact with food and your eyes, nose, and mouth, it’s important to keep them clean – especially in a Covid-19 world.
But if you have a skin condition like eczema, TSW, or psoriasis, frequent washing can be painful and exacerbate a flare-up. Here are some tips to keep your skin clean and comfortable while you heal.
- It’s important to use lukewarm – not hot or cold – water, as well as a non-irritating, fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic cleanser.
- If you are out and about, bring a bit of your skin-friendly cleanser with you to wash your hands, so you aren’t at the mercy of hand soap in public dispensers.
- Hand sanitizers are extremely drying due to their high alcohol content, and often contain irritating chemicals and fragrances. Avoid them if you can.
- Reduce the need for washing your hands by wearing gloves whenever you can. Use soft cotton gloves that you’ve laundered in fragrance free detergent.
- Be sure that the towels you dry your hands with are as soft as possible, and laundered in non-irritating laundry detergent.
- When you must clean around the house or wash dishes by hand, invest in a good pair of rubber gloves with cotton liners.
Don’t Skip Moisturizing
Moisturizing regularly helps both heal and can protect your skin from further damage. Use non-irritating oils, or fragrance-free hypoallergenic hand cream often. For deeper moisturizing, use your favorite eczema-safe moisturizer on your hands at bedtime, and cover your hands with cotton gloves.
Protection from the Weather
Your hands are always exposed outdoors, so make sure to use sunscreen when you are in the sun, and cover them with gloves in the wind and cold. Wind, cold, and sun are drying and can exacerbate a flare-up and increase the appearance of fine lines and can age your skin.
Sleuth out Triggers
If you suffer from flare-ups of eczema, rashes, or other skin conditions on your hands, it’s imperative that you rule out any product – both personal and household products – that might contain a chemical, color, or fragrance that’s triggering your reaction. This can take time, but it’s critical. Even natural products may be suspect if they contain an ingredient you are allergic to.
Give Your Hands a Hand
Your hands are your connection to the world and the ones you love. They work so hard for you, and just need a bit of TLC in return. Show them your love by a bit of pampering every day, and the benefits will return ten-fold.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.