Saving your skin from becoming dry, cracked during frequent hand washing

As the novel coronavirus spreads, experts say one of the best ways to protect yourself is frequent hand washing. But that can also lead to skin breakdown, especially for older adults who have thinner skin.

But adding a step to your hand washing routine can help.

Dr.Mary Griffin at Bala Dermatology tells patients moisturize throughout the day to help counter-act hand washing, which strips your skin of natural oils.

She recommends a thinner lotion during the day, and a thicker one at night. For night products, look for words like balm or ultra rich.

"What you do with those is wet your hands first actually, shake off the extra water, put on the moisturizer, wet hands again and then pat dry, then your hands lock in water plus moisturizer," said Dr. Griffin.

This is especially important for seniors whose skin is thinner and more prone to irritation, even more so if you're using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

"It can lead to small cuts and fissures," said Dr. Griffin. T that could make you more susceptible not to flu or coronavirus, but to skin infections.

"If you have a small cut, cover it with a band-aid or antibiotic ointment," said Dr. Griffin.

Seniors are at a greater risk for serious illness due to novel coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is urging everyone, but especially older adults, to wash hands often, disinfect common surfaces, and avoid large crowds in poorly ventilated areas.

The benefits of frequent hand-washing outweigh the risks of skin irritation, but taking that extra step with hand cream or lotion can also help.
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