In the fight against COVID-19, we’ve all been advised to wash our hands with soap and warm water regularly, and to use hand sanitizers when we’re out and about. While this goes a long way in preventing transmission of the disease, it can lead to extremely dry hands. With winter fast approaching, our skin is going to need all the help it can get.
We spoke to Charize Neill, Marketing Manager for Eau Thermale Avène, to find out what we can do to protect and hydrate our hands.
I’m washing my hands all day and they are really taking a beating! What can I do to restore the moisture?
Regular hand washing and sanitizing is a very important protective measure during this time, however it could leave your skin feeling extremely dry and irritated. Harsh cleansing agents can disrupt the normal functioning of the skin barrier. The first step would be to use a gentler cleanser that offers the added benefit of nourishment and respects the skin barrier. A product like Avène XeraCalm A.D Ultra-Rich Cleansing Bar (R105.00) offers effective cleansing, while nourishing and restoring the skin barrier. The temperature of the water is also something to consider. Make sure it’s not excessively hot or cold, this will help respect skin sensitivity. Next, applying a suitable hand cream frequently (at least 2-3 times a day) will help restore the moisture and protect against further damage. Try Avène Cicalfate HAND Repairing Barrier Cream (R149.00) – which does exactly as the name suggests, it also offers added protection by preventing bacterial growth.
If you have some time, which a lot of us do at the moment, you can also try this DIY compress routine with Avène Thermal Spring Water, prior to applying your hand cream:
- Fold unscented tissues in half and soak them with Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray (R169.95 for 150ml).
- Apply the soaked tissues to your hands.
- Leave on for 10 minutes.
- Spray the compress 2 to 3 times during the 10 minutes to keep it soaked
Are some soaps less harsh on the skin than others?
Yes, definitely. Certain soaps can contain harsh cleansing agents that can harm the natural functioning of the skin barrier. As mentioned above, find something that is known to be gentle and respectful of the skin’s barrier. A product like Avène XeraCalm A.D Ultra-Rich Cleansing Bar offers effective cleansing, while nourishing and restoring the skin barrier.
Do I need to take special care of my cuticles during this time? Will using a hand cream be sufficient or should I use a specific product around the nail to avoid moisture-loss?
Taking special care of your hands in all aspects is good over this time. If you are staying at home, it is the ideal time to spend more time pampering yourself. A repairing hand cream that combats dryness and cracks like Avène Cicalfate HAND Repairing Barrier cream will definitely protect the fragile skin around the nails, however adding a cuticle oil in addition, can certainly be beneficial. Just be wary of the product you use and that it is suitable for sensitive skin, since the skin on your hands can be extra fragile over this time.
Is there anything I can do in addition to applying products that will protect my hands?
- You can follow the compress routine mentioned above as a nice add-on.
- After washing your hands, be careful of drying it too vigorously with a towel – rather opt for gently dabbing than extensive friction. Also make sure you wash your hand towels regularly.
- As mentioned earlier, when washing your hands make sure the water is not excessively hot or cold, this will help respect skin sensitivity.
- If you are doing a lot of dishwashing and cleaning over this time, gloves can definitely help, but ensure that they are made from quality material and are kept clean.
Do I need to apply SPF to my hands during the day?
We never say no to sunscreen! It is always beneficial to apply sunscreen on any exposed areas of your body. This can help prevent premature aging, dark spots and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Practically, it is not as easy on your hands, especially when you are washing so frequently. If you do want to apply a sunscreen to your hands, we would suggest using one that is not too sticky and one that has a good water resistance. Try Avène SPF50+ Lotion (R329.00).
Information courtesy of Charize Neill, Marketing Manager for Eau Thermale Avène.