For those who suffer from hand eczema (also known as house wives' eczema, hand dermatitis) or cracked finger tips, the pain and inconvenience can seem endless; whenever you wash or clean things, you are reminded of how uncomfortable or painful it can be. You've tried Band-aids, put on gloves, slathered countless jars of moisturizer on your hands, but as soon as you start washing something or even just bend your fingers, the problem seems to start all over again. So what could really ease the pain?
1) Avoid contact with soap or cleansing products that contain skin irritants
Many cleansers, detergents, and soaps contain harsh surfactants that can dry and further harden the cracks on your skin. Check labels to avoid using any cleansing products that contain either sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate. Only use very mild cleansing products.
2) Use Band-aids, but cautiously
Band-aids are useful to cover up skin lacerations, preventing wounds from coming into contact with soap and water. However, some people with hand eczema can develop allergic reactions to the adhesive part of the Band-aid. For this reason, some doctors recommend medical dressing over Band-aids. If you choose to use Band-aids, be sure to clean the cut and dry the area thoroughly prior to application. For more severe cuts, change the Band-aid regularly and check on the cuts to catch any developing infections early.
3) Use gloves whenever necessary
Gloves are available in several different materials: while latex or vinyl gloves may lead to allergic reactions, polyurethane gloves are more hypoallergenic, making them a better choice for those with hand eczema or cracked finger tips. Polyurethane gloves also have great barrier resistance, strength, and durability.
4) Watch out for fragrances and preservatives in skincare products and cleansers
We love the fresh citrus smell after cleaning - however, as natural as it may seem, these smells often come from synthetic fragrances. As we know, many fragrances in consumer products will lead to skin sensitization (making it more prone to allergic reactions). We strongly recommend the use of fragrance-free, odorless, and mild creams and cleansers that won't irritate or sensitize your skin. Based on recent research, preservatives such as methylisothiozolinone (MI) can also lead to skin sensitization. When selecting a product, look at the entire ingredient list. If you have questions about certain ingredients, send us an email, we'd be glad to help.
5) Use a potent moisturizer
A strong moisturizer is very important for hand eczema sufferers; in fact, it is essential for anyone with dry skin. A strong moisturizer will soften your skin, ease itching and skin irritation, and reduce the likelihood of cuts. Apply the moisturizer right before bedtime; if your skin still feels dry the next morning, it means the moisturizer is not strong enough. A good moisturizer should be used regularly, and even more frequently if the weather gets dry.