GOOD HAND CARE
By: Dr. Jere J. Mammino, D.O.
Hand rashes are extemely common. The usual cause is from items with which we come in contact
causing irritation. A few of these irritants are overexposure to water, soaps and detergents, cleaning agents, chemicals, and some ingredients in skin care products. Once the skin becomes red and dry, even gentle things like water and baby products can irritate the rash, making it worse.
People with burn scars on their hands are at a higher risk for irritation. The burns and the resultimg scars destroy many of the sebaceous (oil) glands. Without this natural oil helping to soften the skin, it becomes drer and more susceptible to external irritants.
Regardless of the cause, you will need to protect and pamper your hands in order for them to heal. Once they are better, you will need to continue these instructions for at least six months, before your skin "toughens up" again.
Use lukewarm waterOnly use soap if your hands really need it! A quick rinse with only water is much gentler, since soap strips your natural oil from the skin.
If soap must be used, use a mild type like Dove Sensitive Skin Formula. Avoid detergents or perfumed soaps.
Lotions and Moisturizers
Apply a moisturizer after each washing, or bathing. This should be done while the skin is still damp.The rule of thumb for moisturizers is the lmessier, the better. Ointments like white petroleum jelly works best, followed by creams. Lotions, which contain water, are the least effective moisturizer.
Protect hands against detergents, cleansers and other chemicals by wearing vinyl gloves.
Wear your gloves even when peeling vegetables, handling citrus fruits and tomatos, or folding laundry (the fabric soaks the moisture out of your hands).
Keep several pairs of gloves at home in the kitchen, bathroom, nursery, laundry area, etc. for easy access.Have other pairs for non-wet housework and gardening.Always replace any gloves that develop holes.Dry gloves out between uses. If necessary, they can be turned inside out.The use of thin cotton gloves underneath the vinyl gloves is highly recommended during prolonged use, since they absorb excess perspiration. These cotton gloves should be washed frequently. They may be purchased directly from Allerderm Laboratories by calling 1-800-365-6868.
Use an automatic dishwasher as much as possible, and avoid hand-washing dishes or clothes as much as you can.
Avoid direct contact with solvents and stain removers, as well as cleaning products for metal, glass, floors, cars, and furniture.
Don't pick at any loose ends of skin. These loose ends are best clipped off with a small nail clipper or scissors.
If the type of work you do is affecting your hand, talk to your supervisor about ways that all
employees can better protect their skin.
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