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/

Dry skin in Winter

For people with eczema and psoriasis, winter can be a challenging few months to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups1,2.

Skin can become dry, red and irritated by things like a drop in temperature, central heating, wind, and low humidity3. Cold air tightens the skin’s pores and reduces blood circulation4, this reduces the naturally occurring oil known as sebum, which acts as a protective layer and traps moisture next to the skin5. These seasonal changes can be enough to cause increased flare-ups for those with dry skin conditions6. Problematic areas of the body may be the hands and face that are exposed to the elements.

Here we share our tips for the things you can do during this time to minimize flare-ups and keep your skin as comfortable as possible:

Listen to your skin and adapt your routine
Depending on your skin’s needs you may need to:

  • Apply your emollient more regularly to keep your skin moisturised and your symptoms in check
  • We’d recommend using a soap substitute, like EPIMAX® ExCetra Cream (all year round) so you don’t strip your skin’s natural, protective barrier
  • Consider adding a new product into your usual routine that may deliver a bigger hydration boost, like a gel or ointment if you usually use a cream formulation

Tips to help manage your symptoms

  • Wear gloves when you are outside to help protect your hands from the cold
  • Turn the heating down when you are indoors and put on extra layers of clothing
  • Limit your exposure to hot and dry environments like air-conditioned rooms or cars, or rooms containing open fires or wood burning stoves as they can further dry out the skin
  • Drink plenty of water during the day to help keep your skin hydrated
  • Think about the fabric you wear; some people find fabrics like silk to be less irritating on the skin7
  • Avoid taking hot baths and showers, hot water strips the natural oils from the skin
  • Adding more omega 3 and 6 to your diet in winter8

Everyone’s skin is different, which means that the product that works for you is unique to you. It’s important that you find a product that works for you, your symptoms and that fits around your lifestyle. Visit our product page to find a winter skincare moisturiser.

Our product range

Slide EPIMAX® Moisturising Cream Your daily, all-purpose replenishing moisturiser to soothe and relieve dry skin. Keep skin comfortable by applying every day to soften, protect and moisturise. Slide EPIMAX® Original Cream Your everyday emollient to keep your skin hydrated and comfortable. Apply on-the-go to gently relieve your dry skin symptoms and lock in moisture. Slide EPIMAX® Oatmeal Cream Smooth into dry and sensitive skin. The colloidal oatmeal moisturises to protect against irritants, leaving the skin feeling soft and comfortable. Slide EPIMAX® ExCetra Cream Ideal for use as a soap substitute or moisturiser. It has a high lipid content to help retain moisture in the skin. Slide EPIMAX® Isomol Gel The hydro-gel formula means that you’ll get all the comfort of a cream, balanced with the more intensive relief that an ointment gives. Slide EPIMAX® Ointment Apply to very dry skin as an overnight treatment or during the day, for intensive relief, or whenever needed for extra hydration. Slide EPIMAX® Paraffin-free Ointment Ideal if you have a skin sensitivity to paraffin. This ointment provides intensive, long-lasting relief for very dry skin.

Top tips for baby skin care

I’m a parent, what can I do to help my child with a dry skin condition?

You should always consult your GP or health visitor if you have any concerns about the health of your baby or child or think they may have a dry skin condition.

In the UK, eczema affects up to 20% of children and up to 3% of adults1. Psoriasis affects between 2% and 3% of the UK population (an estimate of up to 1.8 million people)2. Approximately 4% of all skin conditions diagnosed in children under 16 are attributed to psoriasis3.

How do I know if my baby or child has a dry skin condition?4

Babies often get red, scaly skin known as eczema. The symptoms are patches of red, dry and itchy skin on the face or behind the ears, and in the creases of the neck knees and elbows. With psoriasis, there may be plaques on the skin that are red, itchy and sore, with white or silvery scales. It can occur anywhere on the body, but psoriasis on the palms and soles, or in areas where skin touches skin is usually a different type2.

How can I help to soothe the dry skin condition?

Remember to consult a doctor or health care professional for advice on the treatment and management of your child’s skin condition. We’ve collated some information from the NHS below that may help:

Eczema4

  • Apply an unperfumed moisturiser (also known as an emollient) to the affected areas by smoothing into the skin several times a day for example, when you feed or change your baby to keep the skin hydrated
  • Avoid using soap, baby bath and bubble bath as these can dry or irritate the skin. Instead use a soap substitute that will help to keep the skin moisturised and won’t strip the skin’s natural barrier
  • Try to keep your child’s bedroom as cool as possible, as if they get hot then this can make their eczema worse
  • Try to identify and avoid anything that may be irritating their skin, such as soap powder, animals and chemical sprays

Psoriasis3

  • There are many different treatments available for psoriasis, it is best to speak with your doctor about the right one for your baby
  • Keep the skin comfortable by using an emollient to regularly moisturise it

For more information please visit the Education Epicentre.

References

  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/370220
  2. https://www.psoriasis-association.org.uk/psoriasis-and-treatments/
  3. http://www.pcds.org.uk/clinical-guidance/psoriasis-in-children
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/eczema-in-children/