Skin health articles

Moisturization - An essential part of hand & face hygiene

Moisturising

The lessons that we learn as children are perhaps the ones that stick with us the longest. One of the most important lessons our parents taught us was the benefits of washing our hands. “Back from school? Wash your hands and face! Back from the playground? It’s time to wash up!” Before meals, greeting others, before going to bed, we all knew the drill.

With hand and face washing emerging as the greatest tools we have to fight the current COVID-19 pandemic, there is a sudden realisation of the immense wisdom imparted to us by our parents. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 40 seconds of hand washing with soap and water at regular intervals to arrest the spread of the virus.[1] The question that we must be asking, though, is does such vigorous and frequent hand and face washing take a toll on skin health?

 

The effect of soap on skin

Soaps and skin cleansers come in different forms: as bars, as cleansing liquids or even in gel form. Soap is traditionally made of fat and alkali. Most soaps these days, however, are made from a variety of detergent and synthetic agents such as colour, fragrance, foaming agents, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. These synthetic additives often strip the skin off natural oils which play an important role in keeping the skin moisturised and healthy.[2] So, while the use of soap and facial cleansers bring along obvious benefits such as removal of dirt, sebum, and dead skin, excess use of soap could lead to irritation, dryness, and flaky skin.

 

What can I do to get both clean and moisturized skin?

One of the best products that can keep your skin clean and supple is a gentle cleanser. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, for example, maintains the pH balance of the skin but comes with a soap-free non-irritant formula. While it does work on dust and grime, this cleanser does not remove essential natural oils from the skin.

After a bath, a face wash, or a hand wash always pat dry with a clean towel and follow up with an appropriate moisturizer. If your skin is naturally dry, this becomes all the more important. Both the Cetaphil Moisturing Lotion and Cetaphil DAM Daily Advance Lotion are great choices that keep the skin soft and supple all day.

Always look for cleansing and skin care products that contain natural moisturizers and agents that are known to promote skin health. The Cetaphil Cleansing & Moisturising Syndet Bar, for example, is a non-soap formulation that contains Shea Blend. It helps in retaining a skin friendly pH and is effective in cleansing and hydrating even sensitive skin.

The effectiveness of soap and water in removing bacteria and viruses cannot be undermined, particularly in the current scenario. It is, however, better to use warm water rather than very hot or cold water. Do not use a hand drier and blot with a tissue or use a clean towel instead. It is also a good idea to use a moisturising hand and nail cream before you retire to bed each night.

 

[1] https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Hand_Hygiene_Why_How_and_When_Brochure.pdf

[2] https://www.sharecare.com/health/skin-disorders/what-ingredients-avoid-dry-skin