Is Washing Your Hands Healthy?
It stops germs from spreading, but what is it doing to your skin?
It’s estimated that around 800 billion hand washes occur in the U.S. every year. Just as staggering is that nearly half the population (47%) suffer from dry skin. Coincidence? Probably not considering that one of the most common causes of dry skin is washing with harsh soaps that strip away your skin’s natural oils. This breaks down the membranes (lipids) which protect your cells and leads to itchiness and inflammation, otherwise known as dermatitis.
Why does this happen? Soaps are designed to remove dirt, sweat and oil from your skin. But your skin needs oil (sebum) to stay moisturized. Too much and you’ll break out. Not enough and you’ll suffer from dry skin.
“If that’s the case,” you say, frowning, “then why do I need to wash my hands in the first place?”
Whatever you did today, wherever you went, you touched germs. Bacteria resides on every surface, including your skin. So unless you wore rubber gloves all day long, you’ll be carrying someone else’s germs right now. And because 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch, hygiene is super important when it comes to not spreading germs to others.
Luckily, you don’t need to have dry, cracked hands to stay clean and healthy. There are a few simple things you can do to wash your skin properly and not have to put up with dermatitis.
1. Wash with warm water.
Very hot water will strip your skin of surface oils, leaving it feeling dry and chaffed. Keep it at body temperature or below. On the plus side, cool water has no ill effect and you can use it to save energy (the combined power needed to heat the water for all those hand-washings per year is equivalent to the total emissions of Barbados!)
2. Use a gentle sanitizer.
Gentle soaps aren’t too hard to find. There are loads of sanitizers which claim to make your skin feel “baby-soft”. Generally speaking, the best soaps are the ones that include natural ingredients. Just check the back of the label if you’re unsure. To find out what to look out for, read our article: Why Natural is Definitely Better
3. Pat dry with a soft towel.
Don’t vigorously scrub or scour. That will only irritate your skin. Make sure the towel is clean before you dry your hands.
Afterwards, rub in a bit of moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. This locks in the moisture and prevents your hands from drying out again. Once more, use a brand that doesn’t include harsh chemicals or GMOs.
And to top it off, you may want to use the Kaunis soothing serum to give your skin that extra glow!