As everyone is well and truly aware of the COVID-19 Virus and we are stocking up on hand wash and hand sanitisers, I thought it important to clarify a few things in regard to excessive hand cleansing and sanitising.
As a Beauty/Skin Therapist, producer of my own natural and organic skincare products, the health of the skin is of utmost importance to keep it in peak condition.
During this worrying time with the rapid spread of bacteria it is obvious that people will take more care with hygiene and sanitation. Something that should be a given at all times and be a regular habit, not just when they are scared. This is a good thing BUT, from continually washing the hands and use of hand sanitisers (and yes, we have to continue to do so), compromises the skins barrier function.
Well what are we supposed to do you say?
A couple of things you need to know first:
1. The skin on the palms of the hands don’t possess any oil glands hence the hands can dry out very quickly, develop irritations like dry, itchy skin and many different forms of dermatitis.This can leave the skin open to infection, particularly if the skin is split or broken.
2. We have good bacteria and bad bacteria that live on the skin surface and in our bodies. The skin being the bodies largest organ and our first line of defence needs to be taken care of with careful consideration to the way ingredients can alter the skins primary function (to protect us).
We need to kill the bad bacteria and leave the good bacteria in tact in order to prevent harmful pathogens entering the body and bloodstream.
This is achieved by not only maintaining good overall health (healthy diet, drinking lots of water and doing regular exercise) but also using skincare products that are designed to work with the skin, not against it. Using a Body/Hand Wash or Soaps that are pH balanced will assist in not stripping the skin of vital moisture. This is a must at anytime, now being more important than ever.
Hand sanitisers need to contain at least 60% or above of alcohol to be classified as a disinfectant (which is the drying component of the hand sanitiser). As we are using these products more frequently than normal it is bound to have an effect on the skins behaviour.
So, washing hands if possible is best and using hand sanitiser when necessary, plus using hand or body lotion will help protect the skin from dryness and discomfort.
Regular use of Body/Hand Lotion is important to replenish moisture loss and retain skins pH balance. Applying creams and lotions throughout the day will help although applying creams at bedtime is great as the creams get the chance to remain on the skin for a longer period of time and essential absorption and cell turnover takes place as our body temperature is warmer when we are in bed and sleeping.
Hoping this helps!