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Is hand sanitiser safe for Eczema prone and sensitive skin?
Yes, your hand sanitiser is definitely safe and yes, it's very effective, but alcohol-based gels can really irritate eczema prone, sensitive skin!
So what can eczema-sufferers do about it?
We should all be washing our hands an awful lot more now, not just the Key Workers. Washing your hands more often is strongly linked to eczema flare ups and dermatitis. In fact, dermatitis is exceptionally high in healthcare professionals because of the amount of times in a day that they have to wash their hands, and also the harsh effects of alcohol based gels that they use when they can’t get to a hand basin.
What’s the problem with soap & water? - Washing your hands with soap and water is certainly the best way to reduce the spread of viruses, so don't stop doing it!
For those with sensitive skin or eczema, soap and water can cause all sorts of discomfort and irritation. Would you believe that hot water and soap strips the skin of the naturally occurring moisturising oils? Regular hand washing leaves your skin dry and cracked which can lead to skin infections. When the recommended 60% + alcohol gels are added into the mix it can create real issues for sensitive skin and exacerbate any existing problems. Whilst it is vital to keep your hands clean, especially now, it is also important to avoid any further damage to your skin by doing so. There are a few steps you can take to reduce the impact on your skin as much as possible:
How do you manage the constant need to wash your hands without damaging sensitive skin and causing eczema flare ups?
- Use eczema friendly hand wash: Swap the soap for an eczema friendly hand wash. They are just as effective if you use the right technique and won’t dry out your skin. Follow the 20 seconds hand washing guidelines frequently. You can also opt for unscented soaps and unscented, soap free hand wash products that are much gentler and often plant based.
- Go for an alcohol free sanitiser: Yes, alcohol free sanitiser does work, no matter what the current guidelines say! Washing your hands is the most effective way to remove viruses and bacteria from your hands, but a good hand sanitiser is the perfect substitute for use in your car, desk drawer and the entrance to your house. The bad news about alcohol based sanitisers is that they are terrible for sensitive skin, cause flare ups and don’t provide any residual protection after the product has evaporated. Applying a moisturiser after the hand gel is a good tactic, but the oily residue on your skin can actually attract and trap more microbes, leaving you open to spreading infections. Government guidelines state that to be effective, a sanitiser must contain 60% alcohol. This is good advice, but some alcohol-free sanitisers, like ThermoSphere XtraSAN active Sanitiser, are actually more effective than alcohol products. And because they’re alcohol free they don’t dry out your hands or cause dermatitis! Win!
Always protect hands after washing them: If you’ve got sensitive skin you should apply a gentle hand cream or balm after every hand washing session or use of alcohol based sanitiser. This helps to counter the damaging effects of soap, hot water and alcohol. If you use ThermoSphere XtraSAN Active Sanitiser there is no need to moisturise because its 100% alcohol free, PH neutral and actually moisturises your skin. XtraSAN also leaves an active antiviral protective residue (don’t worry its not greasy and you won’t know it’s there) that continues to kill microbes long after you’ve applied it.
You should still wash your hands regularly, and if you are using alcohol based sanitiser you should apply a rich moisturiser 5 minutes after the product has evaporated
- Keep your skin healthy: To combat the relentless washing and sanitising, you need to keep your skin as healthy and resilient as possible. Look for hand creams with nourishing ingredients like EFA-rich oils, vitamins and minerals and use them between hand washes. Just before bed is a great time to moisturise your hands thoroughly and boost skin hydration before another day of hand washing and sanitising!
XtraSAN Active Sanitiser | For sensitive Skin | 99% Natural Ingredients