Orders Placed From June 23rd Will Be Processed The Week Of 8th July

FREE Samples With Every Order – FREE UK SHIPPING On All Orders Over £25

Gloves In A Bottle logo
What is Contact Dermatitis?

How to Prevent Dry Hands when Washing

We all wash our hands at least 5-10 times a day but many people in professions like nursing and catering will wash their hands literally hundreds of times a day. Maintaining a high standard of hand hygiene is of course very important but often there can be unpleasant side effects which if not addressed can lead to skin complaints like dermatitis and eczema.

Having dry and sore hands is very frequently seen after washing particularly with harsh soaps and detergents and even more when alcohol based sanitisers are used.

So why do our hands get dry when washing and what can be done to prevent this happening?

When hands are washed regularly the outer protective barrier (the epidermis) will become damaged and the detergents in liquid soap containing foaming agents will start to irritate and inflame the skin. As this outer barrier becomes further compromised the skin becomes more inflamed and irritable so the common response is to scratch the skin which makes it worse. This can lead to a vicious cycle known as the ‘itch/scratch cycle’

So what can we do to Prevent dry hands when washing?

Obviously skin types vary so there is not be a simple single solution on how to prevent dry and cracked hands. However, here are a few tips and lifestyle changes that should help to reduce the risk of dry and irritated hands.

1. Try to avoid liquid soaps (and washing-up liquid)

The chemical detergents in most liquid soaps can be drying and are common skin irritants. For example Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, or SLS, is one of the worst but it is found in many shampoos and hand washes. Chose a washing up liquid that does not contain SLS, dyes and fragrances – or better still save water and your hands by getting a dishwasher!

2. Avoid latex gloves

To prevent dry hands when doing the washing up (if you haven’t got a dishwasher yet) use washing up gloves to protect skin from the hot water and various chemicals or irritants. Be sure to use gloves that are not made from latex as this can cause further irritation – try vinyl gloves instead.

Did you know you can do a little test to see if you’re latex sensitive? Apparently half of those who have a latex allergy also experience reactions when eating foods like avocados, bananas and kiwis. Who would have thought?

3. Avoid petroleum-based products

Most people will try various petroleum-based moisturisers or emollients to treat dry hands. These can work as a protective barrier to prevent water loss, but they are generally comodogenic (they will block pores) so the skin can’t breathe.They may appear to work in the short term but can often make things worse in the long run.

Avoiding the obvious causes of dry hands is the first step the next step is to look at ways of healing damaged skin. 

4. Increase your intake of Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9) can help improve the condition of the skin from the inside out. Oily fish like salmon, seeds and nuts are all good sources as is  hemp or flaxseed oil.

5. Use a good quality topical lotion

Use a lotion that is non-comodogenic and that does not contain ingredients known to irritate skin. Avoid products that are greasy or sit on the surface of the skin as they simply mask the problem of dry hands and do not help fix the problem.

Use a product that will enhance the skin’s protective barrier and will not wash off. A good Shielding Lotion for example will bind with outer layer of skin cells and remain in place for up to 4 hours even when hands are washed multiple times. This process will enhance the natural skin barrier and allows the natural oils in the lowers layers to replenish. Regular use will help to prevent dry hands when washing.