Hand Washing & Eczema
Use lukewarm water with a soap substitute to clean your hands. Soap substitutes have nearly identical cleansing properties to normal soap. Always rinse your hands thoroughly and when drying take especial care between the fingers where the skin is more prone to dryness and cracking. Patting dry is better than rubbing dry, which can irritate already irritated skin. Always moisturise the skin after washing.
Emulsifying ointment or aqueous cream for use as a soap substitute can be obtained on prescription if they have to be used in large quantities or over the counter from your pharmacist at a relatively low cost.
Avoid irritants such as dirt and chemicals.
Protect your hands by using barrier creams or wearing gloves. It can also be beneficial, if the condition of the skin is severe, to combine both precautions. Avoid wearing gloves for long periods of time (longer than 20 minutes) as this can cause the hands to sweat, causing more irritation and itching.
Some studies have confirmed that hand sanitiser is less risky than frequent, vigorous washing. However, certain hand sanitiser ingredients, such as fragrance and preservatives can cause skin reactions.
- Try a hand sanitiser for sensitive skin which is quite mild on the hands
- Use a mild soap free cleanser with a damp face washer or water wipes
- Try using a moisturiser to wash with if needed which helps offset the damage and dryness from water
- Use emulsifying ointment or aqueous cream as a soap substitute which can be obtained on prescription
- Protect your hands with barrier cream and/or gloves
- Consult your local Pharmacist and always patch test anything new first!
- Consult your GP or dermatologist if your hands are dry, red, cracked or itchy – you may need some extra help.