Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you will have been washing your hands a lot more this past year. If you’re out and about, I bet you’ve been using way more hand sanitizer than ever before too. You probably have your own stash of hand sanitizer in your bag or car as well. Have you, by any chance, noticed your eczema flaring up more in the past year? Could it be the hand gel? Can hand sanitizers cause eczema to worsen?
At the moment, hand sanitizer is literally everywhere we look. It feels like such a modern day invention but the idea of using alcohol as an antiseptic has been around since at least the 1300’s and became more popular in the 1800’s.1 I guess even back then they knew the importance of keeping their hands clean although they didn’t use it just to walk into a shop!
We’ve come a long way with the development of hand sanitizer – I bet you couldn’t find hand sanitizer with sparkles in it back then!
In the past year, the world has used so much more hand sanitizer that stores and supermarkets literally ran out of stock. It was even a struggle to find any on Amazon! And if you can’t find it on Amazon, then you know it’s going to be hard to find anywhere else.
We might think that the convenient use of hand sanitizers for keeping our hands germ free is a good thing – and in many ways it is – but just ask an eczema sufferer what they think about it. It’s hard enough to keep eczema at bay sometimes and now everyone is practically forced to wash their hands and use sanitizer constantly throughout the day. While it has done wonders for the hand sanitizer industry, it hasn’t done any favors to anyone who is prone to eczema.
We already know when to wash our hands or use hand sanitizer. We’re becoming aware that all this smearing of alcohol-laden products on our hands is really drying out our skin and causing more eczema flare-ups. Did you know that on top of this, hand sanitizers can also lead to contact dermatitis, damage our skin cells and lead to ageing of the skin on our hands?2 This means we’re all sort of stuck in this catch-22 at the moment. If our skin is dry, cracked or damaged, our natural defense system is compromised which means that it’s easier for those little pesky germs to make their way into our skin and cause trouble. So what do we do? We lather on more hand sanitizer to keep us safe. What do we get? Dryer, more irritated and inflamed skin or a full-on eczema flare-up, making us more likely to let the germs in. (Sigh.) It’s a vicious cycle.
No one wants to catch germs or cause the spread of a virus but we also don’t want our hands looking like grandma’s aged hands (sorry grandma!). And we certainly don’t want the uncomfortable pain caused by eczema or contact dermatitis.
It’s more important than ever to look after the health of our skin – not just the germ-free aspect – and make sure that we are keeping our skin hydrated and healthy. We know that moisturizers can help keep our skin moisturized – the name kind of gives it away – but we need to remember that we need something that will protect our skin from the harsh effects of all this hand sanitizer and preferably a lotion that we don’t have to reapply each time we wash our hands. This is why a shielding lotion like Gloves In A Bottle needs to become part of your skin routine. The invisible, protective shield it forms on the top layer of your skin makes sure that your natural oils and moisture aren’t stripped away when you apply your hand sanitizer. It also lasts through hand washing and only comes off through the natural shedding of your skin so you don’t have to reapply it every time you sanitize your hands.
Remember to look after your kids’ hands too. They’re also washing and sanitizing their hands more and their delicate skin is so susceptible to becoming dry and irritated. It’s a good thing that Gloves In A Bottle is safe for all ages!
Can hand sanitizer cause eczema to worsen? Absolutely. Check your bag and make sure you have an effective travel size hand lotion with you at all times. While the world is in sanitizing mode, keep your health and the health of your skin as a joint priority, keep your eczema under control and tell grandma that you’re not ready to join her dry hands club just yet!