Covid-19, handwashing and your skin

As well as wearing a face covering, regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds1 (singing ‘Happy Birthday’ as you go) is an important way to help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. 

 

If you have eczema, the recommendation when it comes to hand washing is to follow the government guidance; to wash hands with soap and water, rather than with an emollient soap substitute and water (the advice you might usually follow). This is because soap is much more effective at removing the virus from the skin than water alone.2

However, repeatedly using water and soap, or hand sanitiser can cause irritation, leading to dry skin and hand eczema.

Current handwashing advice2
After you’ve washed your hands with soap and water, wash them again with your emollient soap substitute and water. This will help to protect the skin and keep it well-moisturised. 

Top Tips for keeping hands comfortable
Here are some top tips, including using EPIMAX®, to help you keep your skin comfortable after keeping them clean3:

  • Pat your skin completely dry instead of rubbing.
  • Apply your EPIMAX® generously after washing your hands and reapply throughout the day whenever the skin feels dry, to comfort the skin and minimise any irritation. Many of us now keep hand sanitiser around the house, in our bags and in our cars, but we should also have EPIMAX® ready to use afterwards.
  • Consider using a heavier emollient such as EPIMAX® Isomol Gel or EPIMAX® Ointment to give your skin an extra boost of hydration.
  • To soothe your hands overnight, apply your emollient and then wear clean cotton gloves to lock in the moisture.
  • Wear plastic or rubber gloves (with cotton linings) as a barrier to the skin if your hands are going to come into contact with any water or detergents, for reasons other than washing your hands. Nitrile gloves can be bought online or from chemists.
  • Wear warm gloves to protect your hands when you go outside in the cold weather, as the cold can be drying to the skin.

Why not explore the EPIMAX® range using our ‘Find My EPIMAX®’ tool, to find a moisturiser that works for you, your dry skin, and your lifestyle.

References:

    1. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/
    2. https://eczema.org/blog/advice-on-coronavirus-covid-19-for-people-with-eczema/
    3. https://www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk/statement-on-coronavirus-and-skin-disease-affecting-the-hands/

Covid-19, face coverings and caring for your skin

Face coverings have become part of our daily lives as one of the steps we take to help slow the spread of Covid-19 (seek recent government advice on facial covering requirements).

 

However, wearing a face covering can cause a variety of skin issues. For those with eczema, wearing a face covering can mean an increase in skin irritation and worsening of flare-ups.

While EPIMAX® creams, gels and ointments help soothe skin and keep itching at bay, Paula Oliver, dermatology nurse consultant*, has also shared her top tips to help make skin more comfortable in a face covering:

Choose your face covering material carefully1

Consider the material your face covering is made from to help prevent skin irritation. Soft, natural fabrics such as cotton, bamboo and silk are best for those with facial eczema, as these materials are much more lightweight and comfortable.

Check the fit of your face covering

The way that your face covering fits is also important, if it is too loose, it can cause chafing, but being too tight can cause it to begin to rub on sensitive areas. Try choosing a face covering with cloth ear loops rather than elastic straps, as these are less likely to irritate the skin; or look for one that ties around the back of the head. A face covering that features a bendable piece across the bridge of the nose can help you to mould the fit of it to your face. Ideally, it should fit snugly around your nose and mouth but shouldn’t feel tight.

Washing your mask

It is important to wash your face covering after you’ve worn it, to prevent any germs and bacteria from building up. Don’t use any harsh detergents or fabric softeners that you know don’t agree with your skin, as this can aggravate your eczema.

Keep up a good skincare routine

The skin around your mouth, cheeks and nose is very delicate so it is important to take care of it. To avoid your face getting too hot, try not to apply an ointment to your face shortly before putting on your face covering.1 Moisturise when taking off your face covering, particularly at night when you don’t have to wear it. Wearing a face covering is also the perfect excuse to go make-up free and give your skin a break from cosmetics.

*The views of Paula Oliver are entirely her own as a dermatology nurse consultant, and she does not endorse EPIMAX®

Click here to find out more about the EPIMAX® range.

References

  1. https://eczema.org/blog/advice-on-coronavirus-covid-19-for-people-with-eczema/