Tips on Washing Your Hands in the Era of COVID-19: Do Not Forget to Moisturize

By Dr. Paul Dabney

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been advised by CDC officials to wash our hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. However, what happens when we wash and sanitize our hands too frequently? The answer is your hands can become painfully dry and cracked. With this side effect, people are less likely to adhere to good hand-washing practices.

There is a simple solution to this problem: use skin moisturizer after your washing routine of choice. Unfortunately, this skin hygiene recommendation is not often mentioned by health experts.

The skin is a protective barrier that prevents microorganisms from invading the body. However, if the skin becomes cracked or raw, this condition can set the stage for a possible microbial infection. Skin moisturizer has duel purposes: keeps the skin from drying, protects people from shedding microbes, and reduces likelihood of microbes transmission.

Additional Hand-Washing Recommendations

  • Wash hands for 20-30 seconds with warm/hot soapy water. Washing backs of hands, between the fingers, the thumbs and under the nails.
  • Keep fingernails cut
  • Make sure fingers and hands are clean before opening and applying moisturizers
  • Apply skin moisturizer after washing hands to lock in moisture
  • To keep hands hydrated at night, apply skin moisturizer at bedtime
  • Soaps and sanitizers with moisturizers can be very effective
  • Sanitizers should have at least 60% alcohol
  • Do not share moisturizers
  • Avoid soaps that have dyes and perfumes as they can irritate skin

 

About Dr. Paul Dabney

Dr. Dabney earned his doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Kingdom College of Natural Health. He also holds Master’s degrees in Science Education from Arizona State University and Public Health Epidemiology (emphasis in infectious disease) from Walden University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from The Ohio State University. Currently, he is a Ph.D candidate in Public Health Epidemiology at Walden University, and has thriving practice based in Decatur, GA.

His 20 years of teaching, clinical research, and medical experiences are supported by his work at the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Army Medical Corps, and as an adjunct professor at several naturopathic educational institutions.