REEDSBURG—Did you know one of the most common skin conditions is dry skin and irritant hand dermatitis?
The biggest contributing factor to dry skin is the weather. When it’s cool outside, furnaces are turned on, indoor humidity drops and many experience dry skin. Frequent hand washing or scrubbing with soap solutions, incomplete hand drying and water-based lotions also contribute to the problem.
Symptoms include dry, chapped, roughened, reddened, and painful hands. It can get progressively worse with skin thickening, cracks, fissures, itching and discoloration of the skin.
To prevent dry skin at work, use alcohol gels unless hands are obviously soiled. Wash with warm, not hot, water. Rinse thoroughly. Dry thoroughly, especially between fingers and under rings. Pat hands dry, don’t rub. If possible, use a fragrance and dye-free moisturizer such as CeraVe, Vanicream or Cetaphil.
At home, fragrance- and dye-free moisturizers such as CeraVe, Vanicream and Cetaphil are recommended. Products labeled creamy or that have additives such as Vitamin E are not recommended.
Apply petroleum (such as plain Vaseline brand petroleum jelly) frequently – especially after hand washing. Wipe off excess to avoid the greasy sensation. Limit showers to daily and use Dove unscented or other non-soap cleanser. Apply a thin layer of petroleum and wipe off excess. Avoid bubble baths, bath oils and shower gels.
Create a barrier. For severely dry skin on hands, it may be helpful to soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate your skin, then apply petroleum jelly to dry hands and wear cotton gloves (or cotton socks) while sleeping.
Wear gloves or mittens when outside in the cool weather. Wear protective gloves when involved in activities that can be abrasive to hands (i.e. gardening, cleaning with harsh products or chemicals).
It is also helpful to wear gloves while washing dishes. Avoid latex gloves if possible. If latex gloves are your only option, make sure they are cotton or cloth-lined.
If dry skin problems persist or worsen it may be time for a visit with Amy Bernards or Sarah Motl at Reedsburg Area Medical Center. For an appointment, call 768-3900 or visit ramchealth.com.