A Guide To Keeping Your Hands Clean and Nourished
With the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, frequent handwashing has become everyone’s daily, let’s face it, hourly norm. While frequent handwashing is important during this time, helping to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, it can also lead to skin irritation and dryness (1). This doesn’t mean you should stop washing your hands, but rather incorporate nourishing practices for your hands as well.
Tip 1: Avoid Hot Water
Washing with lukewarm water is just as effective as hot water, and it won’t irritate or overly dry your skin like hot water can (1).
Tip 2: Use A Nourishing Soap
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need antibacterial or antiseptic soap to remove COVID-19 from your skin. Soap, any soap, is able to dissolve the protective coating around coronavirus, making it less capable of surviving, while rinsing your hands off with water after breaking down the virus’s coat removes it from your skin completely (2). Use hand soaps with blends like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or shea butters that will clean your hands while also nourishing them, not stripping them of all their moisture (3).
Tip 3: Pick a Scent That Lifts Your Spirits
Don’t think of mandated hand washing as annoying. Think of it as a small, simple moment in your day that helps you relax, pause, and reset. Choose a soap that contains essential oils that spark joy for you. Maybe that’s lavender to calm you, or peppermint to rejuvenate you. Whatever scent soap you pick, take a moment to breathe in the scent deeply while washing your hands.
Tip 4: Be Gentle
Rather than scrub your hands dry, which can irritate the skin, pat them dry, or shake them and let them air dry.
Tip 5: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Follow-up each hand washing session with a moisturizer. How do you create this ritual? By seeing it and doing it. Place your moisturizer right near your sink to help to create the reminder (4). Take this moment to self soothe, gently massaging your hands while you work the moisturizer into your skin. Stimulating circulation as well as cell regeneration (3), spend time massaging each section of your hands, from your palm to each individual finger.
Tip 6: DIY Hand Exfoliation and Mask
Who else does Sunday face masks? It’s time to include your hands into this weekly ritual.
Start with a nourishing hand peel by mixing 2 tablespoon brown sugar with 1-2 tablespoons honey. Add in a teaspoon of lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil. Massage this mixture onto your hands, gently exfoliating. Once dry, rinse it off with warm water.
You can follow this up with a hand mask. All you need for this is olive oil (6). Just rub the oil all over your hands and into the creases of your fingers and your cuticles, letting sit for 10 minutes, before gently rinsing off any excess oil.
On the go?
Not to be used instead of frequent hand washing, but good for those grocery store trips, hand sanitizers should have a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol to be considered effective in killing the virus (6). Similar to when choosing soaps, look for hand sanitizers that contain ingredients like aloe to aid in keeping the hands moisturized, so that the alcohol doesn’t strip them of their nourishment.
We’re in this together. Stay safe.
- “Skin Care with Frequent COVID-19 Hand-Washing: Tips by Vancouver Dermatologist Katie Beleznay.” The Georgia Straight, 18 Mar. 2020, www.straight.com/life/1374086/skin-care-frequent-covid-19-hand-washing-tips-vancouver-dermatologist-katie-beleznay.
- Steele, Lauren. “Do All-Natural Soaps and Cleaners Protect against COVID-19?” Fast Company, 17 Mar. 2020, www.fastcompany.com/90477657/do-all-natural-soaps-and-cleaners-protect-against-covid-19.
- Bajowsky, Kale. “Daily Rituals // Hand Care.” Woodlot Canada, Woodlot Canada, 27 Mar. 2020, shopwoodlot.ca/blogs/blog/daily-rituals-hand-care.
- Arends, Kate. “The Importance of Ritual in the Everyday - Wit & Delight: Designing a Life Well-Lived.” Wit & Delight | Designing a Life Well-Lived, 9 Apr. 2020, witanddelight.com/2020/04/the-importance-of-ritual-in-the-everyday/.
- Bhola, Sachin. “The Dos & Don’ts of Skincare While You Self-Quarantine.” Highsnobiety, 1, Apr. 2020, www.highsnobiety.com/p/skincare-self-quarantine.
- “Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About.” CDC. Government of Canada, https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/hand-sanitizer-factsheet.pdf