Try as you may, the rash on your hands is just not getting better. You have tried all kinds of moisturizers, ointments, creams, and lotions, and yet the skin on your palms and fingers are still dry, flaky and itches.
Your doctors have diagnosed you with hand eczema, and you have used different strengths of steroids cream. Your hands get better but soon the rashes flare again. Now you need a stronger steroid.
There may be a number of different reasons why you are not getting better.
We want to tell you a common cause that is often overlooked and can be quickly fixed!
Hand Washing & Hand Eczema
Basic hygiene including hand washing is important. It prevents infection from virus and bacteria. It reduces the risks of common illnesses such as flu and diarrhea. However, excessive hand washing with inappropriate techniques and harsh soaps can do great damage to the skin on your hands.
Washing hands, even with just water alone, can strip away natural lipids and moisturizers on the hands. Those are essential lipids and molecules that protect the outermost layer of your skin. They help to create and maintain that essential barrier. Any disruption or breach of the outer skin barrier leads to excessive inflammation, exposure to allergens in the environment and the start of itchy-scratchy cycle.
What happens when you wash hands with soap and detergents? Pure water alone can’t remove dirt and oil. Both soap and detergents are emulsifiers that enhance the mixture of water and oil, thereby facilitating the removal of oily dirt from skin. The problems are most detergents and soaps contain surfactants that strip away the natural oils and lipids in your skin, making it dry and damaging the skin barrier.
In essence, excessive hand washing can strip away all the good lipids and oils in your skin, which leads to the poor skin barrier. Having an intact skin barrier is essential to rebuilding your skin and healing your hand eczema.
If you have eczema, your skin barrier may already be disrupted. Any further disruptions or damages from external factors, such as excessive hand washing, can worsen your eczema condition.
It is also very interesting that many people with eczema are very concerned about infection. They know they are more susceptible to skin infection because they don’t have a good skin barrier. So, they tend to wash their hands more frequently or bath or shower more frequently, which can worsen their skin.
Now you know. What can you do to attain good hygiene and still protect your hands?
Here are 7 tips that can help if you have hand eczema.
- Wash hands only when it is necessary.
- Use lukewarm or cold water to wash your hands. Never use hot water.
- Do not wash your hands under water for excessively long periods of time
- Use a gentle soap, such as Dove. Do not use harsh soap that can make your skin excessively dry.
- Use a wet paper towel to wipe away dirt. Avoid using harsh commercial towelettes.
- Try rinse-less cleansers, such as Purell. However, use only a small amount. Too much of those cleansers can also dry out your hands.
- Immediately apply moisturizers to your hands after hand washing. Consider trying moisturizers infused with herbal skincare ingredients that provide extra soothing benefits.
Specifically, you can pat your hands dry, but leave a small amount of water. Apply our Herbal Rescue Balm to lock in the moisture and replenish the essential oil and lipids. The great features of Dr. Wang Herbal Rescue Balm are you only need a small amount to cover both hands. Also, even though it contains all the natural oils, shea butter, and beeswax, it is not sticky or greasy.
These steps can prevent your hands from getting repeat damage. Your skin just needs a chance to heal. But it can’t heal if they are constantly being damaged from excessive hand washing under hot water and harsh detergents or soaps.
Please let us know if you have hand eczema. Let us know if your hand eczema gets better after following our suggestions. Let us know if you have tried any good moisturizers or good soaps or detergents that is mild and gentle to your hands. Lastly, please share with your fellow eczema suffers.