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Hand washing advice to ease eczema and dry skin conditions during coronavirus outbreak

Even those without eczema are struggling with dry and cracked skin due to frequent hand-washing, so the UK’s National Eczema Society (NES) issued advice to help those struggling at the moment.

Advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) for people with eczema from the National Eczema Society

The increase in hand washing amid the coronavirus outbreak has caused many people’s skin to suffer. Even those without eczema have found their skin reacting badly to the frequent washing and use of alcohol-based sanitisers. That’s why the UK’s National Eczema Society (NES) has issued advice to help those struggling at the moment.

Washing your hands with water and your usual emollient soap substitute should be adequate. Emollient helps remove the virus from hands during the washing process, and serves the same cleansing purpose as soap.
Hand-washing is the best way to reduce transmission of coronavirus: Washing your hands with water and your usual emollient soap substitute should be adequate. Emollient helps remove the virus from hands during the washing process, and serves the same cleansing purpose as soap. Source: eczema.org

Advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) for people with eczema

Many eczema sufferers use an emollient to wash with and the society says using the soap substitute is adequate enough to keep hands clean.

  • To keep the eczema at bay they should reapply emollient to dry hands and if sanitiser is then added, the emollient should be reapplied once again.
  • For adults and children without an eczema diagnosis – but suffering dry and cracked skin as a result of the frequent washing – they should apply moisturiser after washing, followed by sanitiser.
  • Finding the moisturiser that’s right for your skin type can be tricky, but there are plenty of hand creams to choose from and it’s usually a case of trying a few to find one that suits best – so buy a small pot or tube initially to see if it helps.

The society says it has ‘received a number of enquiries about the advice on frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitisers to reduce coronavirus risk, for people with eczema’.

NES advice:

"Hand-washing is the best way to reduce transmission of coronavirus, and washing your hands with water and your usual emollient soap substitute should be adequate," says the NES.

"Emollient helps remove the virus from hands during the washing process, and serves the same cleansing purpose as soap."

It adds: "When you are out and about, we recommend that you continue to use emollient to wash your hands (decant a small amount into a pump dispenser or pot and refresh daily), and re-apply emollient afterwards.

"If you feel you need to use sanitising gel (which may irritate your eczema), apply your usual emollient afterwards to minimise any irritant effect. There is no eczema-friendly hand sanitiser, as they all contain alcohol, which dries out the skin.

"In public places where you can’t avoid touching surfaces, try not to touch your nose, eyes or mouth (or your child’s) because the virus gets in through mucous membranes."

For more advice visit the National Eczema Society website here.

They come in different forms: creams, ointments, lotions, gels and sprays. They are different from cosmetic moisturisers in that they are unperfumed and do not have ‘anti-ageing’ additives. Emollients form an essential part of the therapy for all dry skin conditions. They are safe and effective – a good skin care routine using emollients can soothe, moisturise and protect the skin, helping to reduce the number of eczema flares.
Emollients are medical moisturisers used to treat eczema. They come in different forms: creams, ointments, lotions, gels and sprays. They are different from cosmetic moisturisers in that they are unperfumed and do not have ‘anti-ageing’ additives. Emollients form an essential part of the therapy for all dry skin conditions. They are safe and effective – a good skin care routine using emollients can soothe, moisturise and protect the skin, helping to reduce the number of eczema flares. Source: eczema.org

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