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Is Hand Sanitiser Safe For Eczema?

It might be safe, but alcohol-based sanitiser can really sting!

The problem:

Healthcare workers, kitchen crew, teachers and gardeners all need to wash their hands many times during a working day, but there is a link between frequent handwashing and eczema. In fact, eczema and hand dermatitis is exceptionally high in healthcare professionals because of how often and how thoroughly they need to wash their hands.

What’s the issue with soap & water?

Washing with soap and water causes all sorts of problems, stripping vital oils from the epidermis and leaving skin prone to drying out and cracking - which can exacerbate damage and open skin up to infection. It’s so important to keep hands clean, not least to reduce the risk of your eczema getting infected, which can be a major issue, but it’s equally important not to further damage your skin in doing so.

So how to tread that tricky line between the urgent need to keep hands clean but not sting or inflame sensitive skin?

  • Dodge the soap: if your skin is unbroken and you don’t have an eczema flare, you could replace frequent soap and water washes with a waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Find an alcohol-free sanitiser: if you have a flare-up, broken skin or are sensitive to alcohol, hand sanitisers need to be approached with caution as they usually contain rapidly-drying alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol) which cause intense dehydration. Check the label!
  • Balm up: use a good, non-irritant hand cream or balm (such as Balmonds Intensive Hand Cream) after every single time you wash or use hand sanitiser, to act as a protective barrier.
  • Build good skin health: you need resilient, healthy skin to cope with the onslaught of washing, cleansers and sanitiser, so feed your hands with nourishing ingredients such as EFA-rich oils, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Posted on: May 15, 2019

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