If you spent more time washing your hands this past year, you may have experienced hand dermatitis for the first time. It’s a condition that’s becoming more common.
Hand dermatitis is partly based on your biology and partly on your behavior. It can be triggered by prolonged exposure to water and harsh chemicals. That’s why it’s often an issue for professionals like doctors, nurses, and hairdressers.
Now, you may be seeing the symptoms yourself, thanks to sanitizers, soap, and hot water. They can leave your hands red and irritated. In more severe cases, you may also have blisters and rashes.
Fortunately, hand dermatitis can usually be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medical care. Learn more about its prevention and treatment.
Natural Methods for Preventing and Treating Hand Dermatitis:
- Wash gently. How can you wash your hands 10 times a day with less irritation? Switch from hot to lukewarm water. Use a mild soap and blot dry immediately.
- Moisturize regularly. Apply moisturizer anytime your hands get wet. Keep a bottle by each sink. For overnight, try an intensive moisturizer like petroleum jelly.
- Read labels. The kind of moisturizer you use matters too. Look for formulas with more oil and less water. You may also want to use natural products for coating and soaking your hands. Experiment with honey and oatmeal.
- Apply wet compresses. Soak a towel in warm water and squeeze out the excess moisture. Place it on your hands for up to 20 minutes at a time to soothe irritation and redness.
- Wear gloves. Cover your hands with rubber or cotton gloves while you wash dishes and do other household chores. During flare ups, use your dishwasher and washing machine instead of doing tasks manually.
- Change your diet. How you eat can affect your skin. Choose foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory. Smart choices include leafy green vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fatty fish. Stay hydrated by drinking water and unsweetened tea.
- Check the temperature. Cold and dry winter weather may aggravate your symptoms. Bundle up outdoors and buy a humidifier for your home.
- Reduce stress. Hormones like cortisol may help your body deal with urgent situations, but they can also cause inflammation. Deal with daily tensions constructively. Find a hobby and call a friend when you’re feeling down.
Medical Care for Hand Dermatitis:
- See your doctor. If your own efforts aren’t providing enough relief or you see signs of infection, talk with your doctor. They can provide additional options and stronger remedies.
- Take a test. Your doctor may want to do a skin patch test. This will help determine if you’re sensitive to certain chemicals that you may be exposed to at home or work.
- Consider medication. There are a variety of drugs that can be helpful in treating hand dermatitis. Some of them are steroids that may have significant side effects. Your doctor can recommend the safest and most effective choices for you.
- Try UV therapy. If you want an alternative to drugs, ultraviolet therapy may be an option. Exposing affected skin to UVA or UVB waves can suppress overactive immune cells and reduce inflammation. The procedure can be done in a doctor’s office and usually requires multiple sessions.
- Be patient. Flare ups often last a few months, so consistency is essential for managing your symptoms. Give any remedy enough time to see if it delivers the results you need.
Washing your hands is still an excellent way to protect your loved ones and yourself from colds, flu, and other infections. Keep hand dermatitis under control with simple home remedies and appropriate medical care, so you can keep washing your hands.