My hands have become raw and sore from all the handwashing, even though I use a superfatted vegetable soap. What else can I do to heal them?
Anything that foams at least 20 seconds as you wash your hands will neutralise Covid-19 by destroying the oily vessel that protects the virus,’ says NHS consultant dermatologist Mary Sommerlad.
But, in the case of ultra-sudsy bar soaps (no matter how ‘superfatted’) and washes with sulphate surfactants, skin’s protective lipid layer is also stripped.
Now that we wash so much, this can set off dermatitis and eczema. What you want instead, says Mary Sommerlad, is a wash or cleansing bar with mild anionic surfactants (ingredients, excepting sulphates, beginning with ‘sodium’ and ending with ‘ate’): these will kill corona but won’t dry your hands.
My favourites are Gallinée Cleansing Bar (£10, gallinee.com) and Soaper Duper Clean & Juicy Passionfruit Body Wash (£7.50, soaperduper.com).
Follow, always, with a hand cream (fragrance free so as not to irritate your hands) to re-build your damaged lipid barrier: plant butters with omega-fatty acids are ideal, as are ceramides.
Other options are CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream (£6, cerave.co.uk) and Green People Scent-Free Everyday Hand Cream (£15, ocado.com).
If you use a face oil, treat your hands to a few drops, followed by hand cream, before you go to sleep.
Email your questions to Ingeborg van Lotringen at [email protected]