Dry Skin Relief from Covid-19 Sanitising

Has frequent sanitising left you with dry, cracked skin? With these tips you can continue to wash your hands as needed to fend off COVID-19 (coronavirus) and heal dry skin.

Here’s what dermatologists recommend:

  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in lukewarm water. Use soap, and wash every part of your hands, including between your fingers and around your nails.
  2. Dry your hands with a clean towel but leave some water on them. You can also let your hands air dry. While your hands are slightly damp, apply your hand cream or ointment.
  3. Apply hand cream or ointment to your skin, making sure you work some of the moisturiser into your fingertips and nails. Dermatologists recommend using a hand cream or ointment that:
    • Contains mineral oil or petrolatum
    • Comes in a tube rather than a pump-bottle
    • Says it’s “fragrance-free” and “dye-free”

    This moisturiser tends to feel less irritating to dry, chapped skin.

  4. When you use hand sanitiser, apply your hand cream or ointment immediately after the hand sanitiser dries. Because the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol to kill germs, hand sanitiser can be very drying.
  5. Get your health information from a trustworthy source. Going online to chat with friends and family can be comforting. When it comes to health information, it’s essential to get accurate and reliable information, such as from your doctor, websites reviewed by doctors such as this one, and the CDC.

What the science shows

You may have seen well-meaning posts on social media about keeping your hands clean. Some posts may come from assumptions rather than science. Here’s what the science shows:

  • There is no evidence that using a hand sanitiser makes it easier to pick up germs. It’s dry skin that increases your risk of picking up germs. If you have dry skin from using hand sanitiser, apply moisturiser immediately after your hand sanitiser dries.
  • Hand washing helps to prevent illness, but frequent hand washing can dry your skin. To prevent and heal dry skin, apply a hand cream or ointment after you wash your hands.
  • When skin is moist, it can better protect you from germs.