Dermatologist gives tips on how to prevent dry hands

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Thanks to the coronavirus, people are washing their hands more frequently, removing the skin's natural protective barrier and possibly causing infections.

More people might have chapped hands due to frequent washing lately, but there are ways you can protect your skin. (Source: KSNB)

One in every 20 people have hand dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin on their hands. Water can aggravate the condition. Wetting and drying your hands can make skin less flexible and more likely to develop cracks.

"Whenever we have that dry, cracked skin, many people will notice that they'll start to get deep, little cracks and crevices in the skin," said Dr. Jennifer Abrahams, an assistant professor at UNMC's Department of Dermatology. "Those are sites where the skin is open, and bacteria that lives on our skin, or that you come into contact with, that bacteria can easily get in and cause infection in the skin."

This doesn't mean you should stop washing your hands, especially amid a pandemic: But there are ways you can help prevent getting chapped hands.

Abrahams recommends using hand sanitizer or non-soap cleansers when you can. She said the hand sanitizer doesn't remove the natural oils from your skin like soap does.

If you work with your hands often, she said you should wear gloves. That'll also work when washing dishes.

It's important to moisturize often as well. Abrahams said you should use ointments and creams over lotions.

Abrahams said for those who have deep cracks on their hands, you can use liquid bandage or skin glue to seal the skin so it can heal.