What is the reason we all wash our hands? It sounds like a ridiculous question but just think about it. We do it to keep our hands clean, germ free and to keep our skin protected, right? What if we started to realise that the very thing we do to protect our skin can also be damaging at the same time? When it comes to hand washing, contact dermatitis is just waiting to show up.
What Causes Contact Dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis is when the skin develops a reaction from contact with or over exposure to a particular substance. Think of it as a skin allergy where the skin reacts negatively to something it has come in contact with, causing your skin to become dry and irritated. What’s actually happening is that a substance is damaging your skin's outer protective layer.
We often mistakenly think that it’s only harsh chemicals that cause our skin to get irritated and have adverse reactions but unfortunately it can even be caused by mild substances such as water and even jewelry! When our skin has frequent contact with something, such as water, we might not realise that our skin is being damaged.
In the case of hand washing contact dermatitis, we think we’re doing a good thing by washing our hands and don’t realise that this is actually triggering the symptoms of dry, irritated and itchy skin. It can also be the cause of eczema and psoriasis flare-ups.
What Can Help?
No one would suggest you stop washing your hands as keeping your skin clean and germ free is vital, especially if you are a nurse or work in the health industry where washing your hands often is part of the job. This means your hands will continue to come in contact with water and will be more susceptible to contact dermatitis from hand washing. What you need is something that will protect your skin from the constant exposure, allowing you to keep your hands clean but not irritated.
Using a product called a shielding lotion such as Gloves In A Bottle forms a thin layer of protection with your skin cells. It bonds with the top layer of your skin so that it actually protects you from the irritation that water can bring. What’s key is that Gloves In A Bottle won’t wash off so you’re safe to keep washing your hands as and when you need. The shielding lotion comes off naturally as your skin cells shed. Knowing that you can wash your hands without scrubbing away all of your skin’s own moisture allows you to keep up with your hygiene practice without damaging your skin.
Hand washing dermatitis doesn’t have to be a side effect of keeping your hands clean. Keep doing what you’re doing - just slap on some shielding lotion first!