You might be surprised to hear that hand washing is one of the biggest causes of dry hands this year.
Hand washing is an essential defence against the spread of the coronavirus, and we are all doing our part. 78% of us are now hand washing and sanitising 6+ times a day, up from 37% before the pandemic began.
Yet, very few of us know that frequent hand washing is one of the primary causes of dry hands. And even fewer know that moisturising immediately after washing can prevent dry hands.
To raise awareness, we dug into some research studies. Here are some insights we think you should know about:
Washing causes dry hands! Why?
You can compare the outer layer of your skin to the walls of your house, where skin cells are the bricks, lipids (natural oils) act as the mortar. Similarly to how the walls of our house keep us safe and warm, our skin barrier keeps our body safe, locking in moisture and shielding us from external threats.
When you wash your hands with soap, you wash away some of those lipids. Usually your skin can replenish these oils itself, but when you start washing your hands repeatedly, your skin cannot keep up. Without enough mortar to keep your walls together, they become unstable and eventually collapse. An impairment or collapse of the skin barrier can lead to more serious chronic dry skin conditions such as hand dermatitis.
63% of participants developed hand dermatitis when washing 10+ times a day, in a 2008 study by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Prevent dry hands, moisturise after washing.
“Moisturizing creams are used to break the dry skin cycle,” says Marie Lodén MSc Pharm in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, it is so effective that she considers it a “vital part in the management of dermatitis”.
This is great advice that we can all use to improve our general skin health, and use to prevent dry hands.
Check out our next article to learn 3 easy tips to better moisturise your skin.