Are you washing your hands too much? Expert says it can lead to this side effect

Published on Jul 09, 2022 02:27 PM IST

There is a recent upsurge in the cases of hand dermatitis related to overuse of hand sanitisers.

Certain skin issues are now becoming common in people who use sanitisers and soaps frequently.(Pixabay)
Certain skin issues are now becoming common in people who use sanitisers and soaps frequently.(Pixabay)

Washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitisers to kill viruses and germs is one of the best ways to fight Covid-19 pandemic and stay healthy. People have become conscious of their hand hygiene more than ever before but doing too much of hand sanitisation can also cause side effects. Certain skin issues are now becoming common in people who use sanitisers and soaps frequently.

There is a recent upsurge in the cases of hand dermatitis related to overuse of sanitizers.

"Overindulgence in the use of alcohol-based sanitisers and hand washing has led to damage to the protective layer of the skin and the barrier of the skin. To maintain hand hygiene over-enthusiastically we have come across recent aggravation in the cases of hand dermatitis," says Dr Rashmi Malik, Principal Consultant - Dermatology, Max Hospital Gurugram.

Hand dermatitis or hand eczema is a common acute or chronic eczema-like disorder that affects the inner and outer surface of the hands due to a variety of causes. It may occur due to genetic factors, injury or immune reactions. Irritants like water, detergents, solvents, acids, alkalis, cold, heat and friction can damage the outer stratum corneum, removing lipids and disturbing the skin’s barrier function.

The several steps of hand hygiene include friction, rubbing, water, towel drying, surfactants, and disinfectants have considerable effects on the skin protective layer damaging the epidermal barrier. The damage to the lip bilayer is due to over exposure to soaps and sanitisers.

"The strategies to prevent the damage to the epidermal membrane would be to mindfully deal with the epidermal barrier repair. To apply generous amount of emollients and moisturisers (after every hand wash) to combat the issue of hand dermatitis. To limit the exposure to aggressive hand hygiene maneuvers. To use ph balanced soaps to main the skin-ph as the avoid disruption of lipid bilayer," says Dr Malik.

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