Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Washing Your Hands during COVID19 — Shahnaz Husain

The author is international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India

By – Shahnaz Husain

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to protect you and your loved ones   is to wash your hands frequently/ properly with soap and lukewarm water to eliminate all traces of the virus on your hands.

Handwashing remains the No. 1 tip for preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it reduces the risk of infecting other people in your community, homes, health care facilities, schools, and other public spaces.

Shahnaz Husain
Shahnaz Husain

Washing your hands properly takes around 20 seconds or about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice making the experience quick and pleasant.

An easy way to time it is by singing the full happy birthday song twice, making sure to cover palms, backs of hands, fingers, in between fingers, wrists, and fingernails.

The soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and ‘dies’, or becomes inactive.

During current global pandemic, proper hand washing will not only reduce  the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), but can also prevent the spread of  viral illnesses such as cold and flu and other infections, such SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) etc.

As we diligently wash hands more frequently than usual to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), unfortunately, the very soaps and even wringing of hands underwater will also break down the barrier we are trying to protect.

Frequent hand washing can strip the natural, protective oils in your skin, exacerbate dry skin issues, cause dry, cracked and raw skin that can irritate, flake, itch, crack, and even bleed without proper precautions and also lead to conditions such as eczema.

This can cause open wounds in your skin that can allow in bacteria and other germs and increase your risk for infection through the fissures.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to wash your hands the right way

Actually, the skin on the back of the hands is thin and lacks oil glands. That is why the hands are prone to wrinkles and lines. The nails also become dry and brittle, breaking or chipping easily.

So along with protecting ourselves from the new disease, we also need to protect our hands.

Excessive hand washing can lead to and exacerbate skin issues like pain, redness, flaking and itching. Ironically, by over-washing our skin, we can develop dry cracks in the skin giving bacteria an entry point into our bodies which lead to conditions such as eczema.

The outermost layer of our skin is composed of oils and wax, and it acts as both a shield from the outside and a guard that maintains natural moisture in the skin. This natural barrier is broken down by the suds created by soap while washing hands.

Bath time is appropriate for pampering the hands and supplying them with the oil and moisturizing they need. Before your bath, apply warmed oil on the hands and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin. You can use coconut oil, which is very nourishing. Or, use pure almond oil. Immediately, after your bath, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream, while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture. Twice a week, have a pre-bath treatment by mixing ground almonds with curd and a pinch of turmeric. Apply on hands.  After 15 minutes, rub the paste gently on the skin and wash it off with water. At night, massage cream on your hands, working it into the skin.

You can also try some home remedies to keep the skin soft and smooth:

Among the many kinds of moisturizers, hand creams are better than body lotion because they are more nourishing. Lotions, which are primarily water-based, can further dry out skin because the water evaporates. Creams, which are often oil-based, are more effective after washing hands.  Once your hands are dry, immediately use a hand cream to seal in the moisture.

Hand soap should also be gentle and fragrance-free.  A luxury treatment for hands: Take four teaspoon almond oil and mix one tablespoon rose water. Add half-teaspoon tincture benzoin, drop by drop. Mix together.  Apply this on the hands. Wear loose cotton socks on the hands and leave on the preparation all night. Rinse off with plain water next morning.

Use hand ointment or cream instead of a lotion as these are more effective. Vaseline is still the most effective moisturizer out there.

Lemon juice and sugar rubbed together with the hands helps to soften the skin.

Take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoon coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply and rub into hands. Wash off after 15 minutes. Do these three times a week.

Take fresh orange peels, pierce them with a fork. Rub the peels on the hands to brighten them.

Choker (wheat bran) and besan (gram flour) can be mixed with turmeric and milk into a paste and applied on the hands. Wash off after 20 minutes. This softens, cleanses and tightens the skin.

Mix almond oil and honey in equal parts and massage into the nails and cuticles.

For dry nails, warm any vegetable oil and soak fingers in it for ten minutes. Wipe off with a moist towel.

A few almonds eaten daily make the nails strong. Include whole grains, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, sprouts and fruits in your diet.

If your skin is sensitive to harsh chemicals then you should handle cleaning supplies while wearing gloves.

One-teaspoon Brewer’s yeast added to one glass of fresh fruit juice also keeps the nails and skin in good condition.

At night-time before going to bed, apply thick moisturizer and then cover with cotton gloves to increase absorption.   Consider a humidifier at night—raising the humidity level in a room can help dry skin.

Germs spread more easily from wet skin than from dry skin, so drying your hands completely is an important step. Paper towels or clean clothes are the most effective way to remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.

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