Hand-washing with soap and warm water is one of the best defenses against spreading the COVID-19 virus, and it's common and even expected that the skin will become dry or irritated from the appropriately increased frequency of hand-washing. To lessen dry skin development, make sure to:
- Use a hypoallergenic soap that is free of perfumes or other potential irritants.
- Wash with comfortably warm water.
- Rinse all soap off the hands after lathering — particularly off the wrist area and between fingers — as soap residue left on skin can be irritating.
- Gently pat your hands dry with a frequently washed towel or a paper towel. Don't let hands air-dry, as this increases evaporation of moisture from the skin.
- Apply and rub in a layer of hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion or cream. For extra moisturization, wait a minute or so after the first application, then apply again. If needed, apply a layer of ointment on top of moisturized hands. The skin doesn't absorb the ointment, but it slows the natural evaporation of moisture from the skin.
For more-detailed information on steps to manage a flare-up of a skin condition — such as dermatitis or eczema — visit Mayo Clinic Connect at: https://connect.MayoClinic.org. Once there, click "Pages" and look for "Aging & Health: Take Charge," the new Mayo Clinic Health Letter online forum....
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