If you’re a nurse, then you know all about the importance of taking good care of the skin on your hands, right? It’s highly likely you have suffered from skin irritations on your hands before and it’s just as likely that you have an irritating skin condition right now! But as a nurse, you can’t really let your skin get in the way of you doing your job – but you also don’t want to be constantly working with uncomfortable (painful, even!), damaged hands, do you? I didn’t think so!
Lucky for you, here are 5 remedies for dry and cracked hands so that you can get on with your job in comfort.
1. Don’t Wash Your Hands With Hot Water
Ok, don’t shoot the messenger! I know warm or even hot water can feel relaxing and soothing on the skin (just like those days when you stand for what feels like hours under a hot shower!) but the truth is that hot water damages and dries out your skin way more than cool water does by stripping away your natural oils.1 When you need to wash your hands, use cool water. As long as you wash your hands thoroughly, your hands will be as clean as when using hot water. They will just be less damaged and dried out. That’s a good start!
2. Pat Your Hands Dry
I know what you’re thinking – ‘I’ve been drying my hands wrong all these years!’ Most of us tend to wash our hands and then get a paper towel and rub them dry. But this right here is where a lot of damage happens to our skin. The rubbing of the paper all over our skin is like a mini-exfoliation because, let’s face it, the paper towels you find in bathrooms aren't exactly luxuriously soft! Each time you rub your hands dry, you’re exfoliating your skin which might sound like a good idea for creating smooth skin but if you do this often, you risk over-exfoliating your skin! This is not a goal you want to have. If your skin is already dry, irritated or suffering from an eczema flare-up, the last thing your skin wants is to be rubbed all over and irritated even more. Patting your skin dry with the towel is much gentler on the skin and soaks up the excess moisture without damaging the skin so pat away!
3. Use a Shielding Lotion
Latex is never your skin’s best friend but when you’re a nurse, you know you’ll have to wear those bad boys more than you’d like! The powder inside the gloves is there to help you slip on the gloves more easily and to help keep your hands dry. Talk about irony. When you wear these gloves often or for long periods of time, it can really irritate your skin and once your skin is irritated or damaged, the powder and the latex can get deeper into your skin layers and cause even more irritation. As a nurse, for some jobs you have to wear gloves to protect yourself from transmitting bodily fluids so what can you do? Wearing a shielding lotion like Gloves In A Bottle helps create an invisible layer with the top skin cells that protect your skin from irritants like the latex and powder. It will help to keep your own natural oils and moisture inside your skin so that your hands won’t dry out. The shielding lotion even helps protect your skin from washing and sanitizing. Just make sure that your lotion has dried completely (which takes no time at all) before you slip on the gloves.
4. Use Gentle Soaps Whenever Possible
Yes, washing your hands will keep them clean but not all soaps are created equal! Look for soaps that are gentle on the skin, aren’t infused with lots of drying ingredients like alcohol and don’t contain added fragrances which are a big cause of skin irritations and allergic reactions. These are the kinds of ingredients that will only further dry out your skin so try to avoid them whenever you can.1
5. Give You Hands a Moisturizing Treatment On Your Days Off
On the days that you don’t work, give your hands a treatment with a heavy moisturizer or ointment. You can lather these on when you’re not working with your hands and having a rest (which you are more than deserving of!) or wear it overnight under some comfortable gloves to give your hands the ultimate moisturizing soak. During the day, use your shielding lotion as normal to keep that moisture locked in.
There are lots of other ways to help prevent your hands from drying out like wearing gloves when doing dishes to protect your skin from the harsh washing up liquids or wearing gloves in the winter to prevent them from drying out from the cold weather. For now, try the 5 remedies for dry and cracked hands and see the changes it can make for you and your skin’s health.
Your nurse hands work hard enough without your dry skin getting in the way. It’s time your skin works with you and not against you, wouldn’t you agree?