From the very start of the Coronavirus pandemic, washing your hands was deemed as one of the most important methods for preventing virus transmission.
With that and the new stress from the pandemic — comes some issues with skin care
We’ve all been schooled on proper hand washing but there’s a next step that may get overlooked- keeping your skin moisturized to prevent cracking which in turn could make you more susceptible to infection.
Dr. Melody Eide, Dermatologist with the Rapid City Medical Center, says, “We’ve heard it over and over again, but you know what, warm water, 20 seconds of hand washing, try not to get it cranked up too hot, try not to rub too hard — sometimes the friction can also be heard on the hands, so you want to have everything in balance.”
As the skin becomes more dry from increased hand washing, it can become irritated, which can lead to itching, redness, cracking or tenderness. And your skin’s protective barrier isn’t so protective anymore.
Dr. Eide says after you wash, always moisturize. She suggests a fragrance free, thicker lotion- like Neutrogena Norweigan or Vanicream products. If your hands get severely cracked, you may have to get a prescription hand cream with anti inflammatory properties.
At every washing station in your home or at work, make sure to also have a hand moisturizer ready to apply right after you wash and a thicker cream for at night just before bedtime.
Our new found stress can also cause skin breakouts.
Eide says, “What happens with stress is that our adrenal glands kind of kick in and we have extra cortisol and those extra hormones especially can really for women and cause breakouts, so whether that be stress from a test or stress form a pandemic, I think this is definitely a time when we can see a little bit more of a stress break out.”
She says to avoid picking at the break outs, apply a warm compress to the area a few times a day. Try over the counter topical medications to dry up the area.
Dr. Eide also advises that your self care should include a skin care regimen that incorporates antioxidants to your face to help repair the skin, like a topical vitamin C cream in the morning and a vitamin A cream or retinal at night, but most importantly a moisturizer with some sunscreen protection.
Eide says, “April and May is the prime time to get your first sunburn. As you do have more time at home, more time to do your yard work, or plant your garden, so you want to have a good sunscreen.”
Your sunscreen should have at least an SPF of 30. Apply 15 minutes before you go out, and if you are out all day- reapply every 2-4 hours.