Is rigorous hand washing and sanitising in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic making your hands red-raw, dry and sore? Skin healing expert Hanna Sillitoe gives some hand-saving tips that mean you don’t have to suffer or compromise on hygiene.
Regularly and thoroughly washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard yourself and others in the midst of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, with people now becoming more and more vigilant and washing and sanitising their hands multiple times an hour, many are starting to suffer from dry, cracked, red and sore skin as a result.
With these safety measures likely to be in place for months to come, the unpleasant side-effects shouldn’t be a reason to step down your efforts. However, there are things you can do to minimise the impact on your skin while maintaining high levels of hygiene, particularly if you suffer from contact dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis.
Be soap safe
Soap and water is the gold standard for hand washing when it comes to preventing the spread of infection. Avoid hand washes that contain ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and triclosan. There are many brands that have fantastic anti-bacterial products but are less harsh on skin. Look for a hand soap free from synthetic detergents and preservatives. Most natural washes come fortified with nourishing ingredients which replenish our hands to keep skin feeling soothed and soft.
Pat don’t rub
Pat your hands dry with a soft cotton towel after washing. Ensure they’re fully dry, but don’t rub the skin, which can break the surface and irritate the skin further.
Ditch the perfumed products
While fragranced hand creams and hand washes may smell nice or look pretty in your bathroom cabinet, the priority is removing germs and protecting the skin. So, if your hands are suffering, ditch the perfumed products and opt instead for fragrance-free or a fragrance that’s certified ‘declarable allergen free’.
According to Public Health England, a hand sanitiser should have a 60% or higher alcohol content to kill viruses effectively. However, frequent and repeated use of hand sanitisers can most definitely aggravate sensitive skin, causing prolonged irritation and chronic dryness. The advice is to use it only when soap and water are not available.
Use a nourishing hand cream free from nasties
While cheap, thick hand creams seem to offer relief from painfully chapped skin, petroleum and other chemicals used in cosmetic emollients might actually be making the problem of sore hands worse. Switching to a cream full of naturally nourishing botanicals will help to replace some of the oils that have been stripped through perpetual cleansing, without blocking our skin’s own ability to replenish.
VIDEO: Listen to Hanna’s advice, including how to make her natural soothing remedy for sore hands here: http://bit.ly/HannaSillitoe
RECIPE: RELIEF FOR HANDS / HOMEMADE OATMEAL HAND SOAK.
Oatmeal has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, colloidal oatmeal became more widely available as a treatment for skin conditions back in the nineteen forties.
The reason oatmeal can offer hydration and relief is because it naturally contains starches and beta-glucan which help to retain water, thereby enhancing its moisturising abilities. It also contains a form of natural sugar called polysaccharides, which create a protective barrier to help prevent the skin from losing excess water. The simple action of soaking skin in oatmeal is nourishing, soothing, and inflammation-relieving, it’s the reason you often see colloidal oatmeal incorporated in a variety of skin and hair care products.
Always patch test prior to soaking by applying some dissolved colloidal oatmeal to a small patch of skin, (the inside of your wrist or elbow works well). Rinse the preparation off after about 15 minutes and check for signs of a reaction. If there is no sign of redness or irritation, go ahead and make your hand soak.
100g rolled oats (you should look for a brand free from flavourings, chemicals, sugars and salts)
50ml almond, hemp seed or olive oil
5 drops of lavender or other favourite essential oil (optional)
Hanna Sillitoe began sharing her personal battle with skin health through an online food blog, which eventually led to her best-selling book Radiant – Recipes to Heal Skin from Within. Hanna’s book has sold over 25,000 copies around the world and it’s the 28 day plan within this book that many of her online followers credit as having cured their skin complaints.
Hanna received offers from all five investors when she pitched on BBC 2’s Dragons Den last year and she now works closely with Tej Lalvani and Peter Jones on her cruelty free, botanical skin care range – designed to naturally support the protocol in her book. Hanna’s second book Skin Healing Expert is due for publication May 2020. On a personal note her passions include cooking, growing vegetables, hiking and worldwide adventures in her campervan.
Hanna is also a regular guest expert contributor at BALANCE https://balance.media/inflammation-and-skin-healing-foods/