Hand washing is a regular part of our lives – well, at least I hope it is! – and while it’s obviously done for a good reason, it doesn’t always do our skin any favors. We wash our hands for many reasons but there’s a specific time of year when we see an increase of sore looking hands with red, flaky and inflamed skin. You already know when that is as you’ll have experienced the side effects of trying to keep your hands clean. Flu season! Let’s talk about hand washing during flu season and how we can protect our skin from not just the flu.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, flu season roughly coincides with late fall and runs through to Spring. Typically, in the US the flu starts rearing its ugly head around October and then peaks around February, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.1 This doesn’t mean that in March the flu has disappeared. We can still see cases floating around as late as April or May, and in essence, you could get the flu at any time of the year but it’s less common. And as we know, there are other serious viruses spreading across the globe at the moment that we need to protect ourselves from.
What does this mean? Well, for one, it means you need to be more mindful of the germs floating around and avoid all the sneezing, coughing and runny noses around you. We’re aware of the constant use of hand gel to keep our hands germ free at the moment but the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu – as well as spreading it – is to wash your hands with soap and water. This means washing them before and after you eat, after using the bathroom, anytime you cough or sneeze on your hands, or when you have handled anything that has been touched by other people such as door handles or public handrails.
If you think about just how often we do all of these in a day, the number of times that we should be washing our hands can quickly add up!
The Effects on Our Skin
Soap. It’s there to clean our skin, get rid of impurities and wash off any germs when we give it a good scrub. But if we’re honest, what else does soap do? It strips our skin of its own natural oils and moisture, it irritates our skin and can cause dermatitis. Even those fancy moisturizing soaps that make us think it’s a soap and moisturizer in one, they don’t help. They still dry out our skin. And not even just the soap, the water is also to blame!
Talk about confusion when we think about the fact that water dries out our skin. The soap cleans the skin and strips away moisture and the water evaporates from our hands quickly, taking with it even more of our oils and hydration. The end result - clean but very dry skin. Repeat this process over and over again, day after day during flu season and you could end up with red, itchy, inflamed and even cracked hands!
Don’t Choose Between Clean or Healthy Hands
What you want to do is find the perfect balance of having clean hands but healthy skin. As it happens, healthy skin helps to protect you from irritants and pathogens entering your body so it’s so important to keep your skin healthy but by all this hand washing to keep you healthy, you’re doing the exact opposite to your skin. Get it?
One very easy way you can avoid this trap is by applying Gloves In A Bottle Shielding Lotion onto clean hands. What makes this like a miracle cure for dry hands is the fact that it works differently to conventional hand lotions. Because a shielding lotion bonds to the top layers of your skin and forms a protective layer, it keeps those unwanted irritants out but keeps your natural oils and moisture from escaping. No longer will water and soap strip them away and leave you with sandpaper hands because the shielding lotion won’t wash off. It stays on your hands and comes off naturally as your skin sheds.
The time of choosing between healthy hands or clean hands is over. This flu season, apply your shielding lotion, wash your hands when you need to, say goodbye to those flu germs and say hello to soft and hydrated skin.