My hands are really taking a beating during the corona virus situation! Between washing my hands, using hand sanitizer and constantly sanitizing every surface, my hands are being tested like never before.
I would usually recommend not washing more than six times per day and using gentle soaps- but right now it is imperative that we wash frequently (for 15-30 seconds), use high lathering soaps and heavy duty cleaners for our homes and work places.
So what are some tips to keeping your hands from turning red, dry and cracking?
Wear gloves when possible. Gloves are REALLY hard to find right now, but if you have gloves for washing dishes use them for any wet work or cleaning. I also use a nitrile work glove when I pump gas or do any outdoor work.
Moisturize. I am terrible at this too. My favorite moisturizer is Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Formula (the unscented version). I buy it in bulk on Amazon, but you can find it at your local drugstore (usually less than $6). It is a little greasy, so if you prefer something lighter Vanicream, Cetaphil, Avene, Goldbond and Eucerin are good options. Some people swear by Cerave but it makes my hands itch!
Hydrocortisone. This can be purchased at the drugstore without a prescription. Common brands are Cortizone 10, CerVe Hydrocortisone 1% and Aveeno Hydrocortisone Anti-itch Cream. Each drugstore will also have their own generic. Look for the active ingredient 1% hydrocortisone. It is best to have limited other ingredients- sometimes these can cause irritation. Aloe is a common secondary ingredient, which is usually ok- but I recommend plain hydrocortisone first. It is recommended to use the hydrocortisone 2-3 times per day for 5-7 days. Applying the cream and then putting on white cotton gloves will allow the medication to soak in well.
If the moisturizers and over-the-counter cream are not working, then a call to your doctor (or maybe a video visit) can get you a prescription cortisone that will likely clear things up in a few days. My go to these days are triamcinolone, Clobetasol, betamethasone or desoximetasone. But there LOTS of different generic/brands and they mostly all work well (so don’t pay too much).
If your skin gets really bad and you have cracks and fissures (this often happens to me on my thumbs), use superglue or liquid bandaid to glue the crack closed. This sounds weird but it works really well. Make sure the superglue is new (so not thick and crusty) or you will end up with a big glob of glue stuck to your finger (I admit this happened to me recently when I couldn’t get my superglue delivered through Prime Now).
Please post any questions or if you have a favorite hand cream I am always looking for suggestions! Stay safe and keep your hands clean and in good repair!