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How to prevent dry, cracked hands in the age of coronavirus

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Posted at 12:41 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 09:19:52-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Some dermatologists say they are seeing an increase in the number of complaints about dry, cracked and reddened hands as more people use soaps and hand sanitizer as a way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Lucia Seminario Vidal, a board-certified dermatologist at the University of South Florida, says certain chemicals in soap and the alcohol in hand sanitizer remove the natural layer of oil that protects your hands.

If given the option, she says wash your hands with a mild or hypoallergenic soap, rather than hand sanitizer. Then use a moisturizer cream or ointment, like Vaseline.

“Anything that feels good in your hands that you will use,” she said. “If you don’t like the greasy Vaseline, you’re not going to use it, so find something that you like and that you can use after washing your hands.”

If your skin is prone to get dry easily, she suggests bringing your own soap with you. Steer clear of hand sanitizer if your skin is already dry.

“You want to avoid using hand sanitizer. That could make your skin more irritated, more dry and it will be painful,” said Seminario Vidal. “In that case, I would recommend visiting a dermatologist because there are some treatments that we can recommend depending on the severity of the fissures and cracking of the skin.”