It is known that hands that are subjected to frequent hand-washing and glove use all day can become irritated. Over-exposure to water, friction, dry air, soaps, detergents, solvents, cleaning agents and chemicals used are all potential causes of hand rashes and dermatitis.
There are many different types of hand dermatitis, including irritant hand dermatitis, atopic hand dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, frictional hand dermatitis, and dyshidrotic hand dermatitis. Once the skin becomes red and dry, even so-called ‘harmless’ things — like water from frequent hand-washing — can be irritating rather than soothing.
Here are some tips to keep your hands in tip-top shape.
The first thing you should make a habit of is taking your rings of before washing your hands. Trapped soap and moisture underneath jewelry can cause irritation. Use lukewarm water and rinse hands thoroughly after washing with soap.Avoid detergents, perfumed soaps, harsh soaps, and deodorant soaps. These products, if used excessively, can cause more dryness by reducing the natural oils in your skin. Instead, try soaps that contain moisturizers. Such products are designed for use on sensitive skin and are soap- and lipid-free. Blot dry your hands with a towel. If you are in a public restroom, choose paper towels over automatic hand dryers.
Apply a greasy moisturizer after washing your hands. While your skin is still damp, the moisturizer will penetrate better.
Creams & Lotions
The basic rule for moisturizers is the greasier the product, the better it is at moisturizing. Cream-based moisturizers should be applied immediately after hand-washing, bathing, and removing gloves. So the cream can trap the moisture in the skin. One of the best products you can use is an ointment-based product such as white petrolatum jelly aka Vaseline. If your hands are dry, treat them with a Vaseline night mask. Apply Vaseline in a semi-thick layer and cover with cotton gloves overnight, to wake up to soft hands.
Lotion-based products are the least effective for dry or irritated hands. Many lotions have up to 80% water as their main ingredient. And the evaporation from the water in a lotion may cause more drying of the skin over time. So I would recommend sticking to a greasy hand cream.
Gloves are very helpful in protecting your hands from exposure to irritating chemicals and water. However, if you wear the gloves for extended periods of time, your hands may sweat, and this sweating may worsen hand dermatitis or hand eczema.
Many people think they are allergic to latex when their hands break out from glove use. But often the rash from gloves is an irritation from wetting and drying inside the glove and not a true allergy. Allergy to latex is very serious and can lead to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. Allergic contact dermatitis from gloves appears as a rash on the top of the hands that is itchy and weepy and lasts for days to weeks. Allergic contact dermatitis from gloves is often due to one of the chemicals used to process both latex and nitrile (synthetic) gloves. Patch testing helps sort this problem out.
Treat your hands with a spa treatment or a professional manicure. Beside salon visits, you can care for your hands at home with a DIY mask or hand scrub. For your homemade hand scrub use brown sugar and olive oil, and for a hand mask stir some lemon juice and honey and apply on damp skin. You hands will be grateful.