Keep Your Skin Healthy While Washing Your Hands

Keep Your Skin Healthy While Washing Your Hands

September 17, 2020


Frequent hand washing can strip the natural protective oils in your skin and exacerbate dry skin issues. Read on to know tips from a herbal beauty pioneer to take care of your skin while you diligently wash your hands to keep safe

Shahnaz Husain

AS COVID-19 continues to spread globally, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to protect you and your loved ones is to wash your hands frequently/properly with soap and lukewarm water to eliminate all traces of the virus from your hands. Hand washing remains the most important tip for preventing the spread of Covid-19, as it reduces the risk of infecting other people within your homes, community, health care facilities, schools, and other public spaces.

Washing your hands properly takes around 20 seconds or about as long as singing, “Happy Birthday” twice — making the experience quick and pleasant. An easy way to time it is by singing the entire happy birthday song twice while making sure to cover palms, backs of hands, fingers, in between fingers, wrists, and fingernails. The soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards; dies or becomes inactive.

During the current global pandemic, proper hand washing will not only reduce the spread of Covid-19, but can also prevent the spread of  viral illnesses such as cold, flu and other infections.

As we diligently wash hands to slow the spread of the Covid-19, unfortunately, the very soaps and even wringing of hands under water will also break down the barrier we are trying to protect. Frequent hand washing can strip the natural protective oils in your skin and exacerbate dry skin issues. It can cause dry, cracked and raw skin that can irritate, flake, itch, crack, and even bleed without proper precautions and may also lead to conditions such as eczema. This can cause open wounds in your skin that can allow in bacteria and other germs; increasing your risk for infection through the fissures.

Actually, the skin on the back of the hands is thin and lacks oil glands. That is why the hands are prone to wrinkles and lines. The nails also become dry and brittle which as a result leads to breaking or chipping easily.

Therefore, along with protecting ourselves from the new infection, we also need to protect our hands. Ironically, by over-washing our skin, we can develop dry cracks in the skin giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies and can lead to various other skin conditions.

Everything you need to know

The outermost layer of our skin is composed of oils and wax which acts as both: a shield from the outside and a guard that maintains natural moisture in the skin. This natural barrier is broken down by the suds created by soap while washing hands.

Bath Routine 

Bath time is appropriate for pampering the hands and supplying them with the oil and moisturizing they need. Before your bath, apply warm oil on the hands and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin. You can use coconut oil, which is very nourishing. Pure almond oil will also work well.

Immediately, after your bath, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream, while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture.

Twice a week, have a pre-bath treatment by mixing ground almonds with curd and a pinch of turmeric. Apply on hands.  After 15 minutes, rub the paste gently on the skin and wash it off with water. At night, massage cream onto your hands; working it into the skin.

Are all moisturisers good for your hands? 

Among the many kinds of moisturizers, hand creams are better than body lotions because they are more nourishing. Lotions, which are primarily water-based, can further dry out skin because the water evaporates. Creams, which are often oil-based, are more effective after washing hands.  Once your hands are dry, immediately use a hand cream to seal in the moisture. Use hand ointment or cream instead of a lotion as these are more effective. Vaseline is still the most effective moisturizer out there.  Hand soap should also be gentle and fragrance-free.

Luxury treatments for hands

Take four teaspoon almond oil and mix one tablespoon rose water. Add half-teaspoon tincture benzoin, drop by drop. Mix together.  Apply this on the hands. Wear loose cotton socks on the hands and leave on the preparation all night. Rinse off with plain water next morning.

Lemon juice and sugar, rubbed together with the hands also helps soften the skin. Take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into hands. Wash off after 15 minutes. Do this three times a week.

Take fresh orange peels and pierce them with a fork. Rub the peels on the hands to brighten them.

Choker (wheat bran) and besan (gram flour) can be mixed with turmeric and milk into a paste and applied on the hands. Wash off after 20 minutes. This softens, cleanses and tightens the skin.

Nail Health

Mix almond oil and honey in equal parts and massage into the nails and cuticles. For dry nails, warm any vegetable oil and soak fingers in it for ten minutes. Wipe off with a moist towel. One-teaspoon Brewer’s yeast added to one glass of fresh fruit juice also keeps the nails and skin in good condition.

A few almonds eaten daily make the nails strong. Include whole grains, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, sprouts and fruits in your diet as well.

Night Time Routine

Before going to bed, apply thick moisturizer and then cover your hands with cotton gloves to increase absorption. Consider a humidifier at night as raising the humidity level in a room can help dry skin.

Other Precautions 

Germs spread more easily from wet skin than from dry skin, so drying your hands completely is an important step. Paper towels or clean cloth are the most effective ways to remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.



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