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Solutions to Dry Hands Due to Frequent Hand Washing


Does anyone have dry skin problems on their hands? Dry skin, also known as xerosis, can happen to anyone. It is often characterized by several symptoms, such as skin surface that feels and looks rough. During this pandemic, everyone always maintains cleanliness, especially hand hygiene. According to WHO in 2009, hand hygiene is an activity of cleaning hands that can be done by hand rubbing using alcohol-based products or by washing hands with soap and water.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands for at least 40-60 seconds under running water to prevent the spread of germs. Using hand sanitizer can also remove germs, but it is not as effective as washing hands with soap and water. However, this frequent hand washing behavior can lead to two main types of hand skin reactions, namely dry hand skin and even the onset of dermatitis.2

Why does washing your hands dry out your skin? Because water and soap remove the natural oils and protective barrier on the skin of our hands. This is what causes our skin to become drier. Well, the solution is to use hand cream after washing your hands. This moisturizer is an effective to prevent dry skin.

Then, there is also the potential for dermatitis arising from frequent hand washing. The types also vary. One is irritant contact dermatitis, with symptoms of dry, irritated, itchy and cracked hands. Second, the symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis are divided into mild to severe groups. This allergic contact dermatitis can cause respiratory distress and other symptoms of anaphylaxis.3

Here are tips for dealing with dry skin:

  1. Use cold water when washing your hands.
    Avoid using warm water as it melts the lipid layer, which is the skin's protective barrier. In fact, it takes a long time to restore the lipid layer.
  2. Dry your hands by patting them.
    After washing your hands, you can dry them by patting them onto a clean towel, but do not rub them as much as possible because it can cause irritation.
  3. Always carry hand cream.
    To restore hand moisture, always carry hand cream when traveling. This can prevent dry skin due to frequent hand washing.


1 - An assessment of hand hygiene practices of healthcare workers of a semi-urban teaching hospital using the five moments of hand hygiene

3 - WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care.

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