Too much hand washing can lead to dermatitis – here's how to keep your hands clean and healthy

March 06, 2015
Volume 3    |   Issue 10

When you were growing up, your parents or teachers were probably constantly reminding you to wash your hands. If you have kids, you probably tell them to do the same thing. And it's good advice — hand washing can help prevent the spread of diseases and infections, including colds, flu, and even deadly ones such as MRSA.

But all that washing can have a downside, as a new study from The University of Manchester reveals.

In 1999, the National Health Service began focusing on fighting infections, such as MRSA and C. difficile, commonly encountered in healthcare settings. A big part of that fight involved encouraging healthcare workers to wash their hands more frequently. And it definitely helped. Infections have decreased. But according to the study, something else has increased: dermatitis among healthcare workers.

In fact, from 1996 to 2012, reports of dermatitis to a national database run by The University of Manchester increased a whopping 4.5 times. This is a dangerous problem to run into, and not simply because it can be a source of frustration or irritation to healthcare workers. Broken or damaged skin is more susceptible to infection, and people with irritated skin may even choose to forgo washing their hands altogether. This can create a vicious cycle.

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In fact, lead researcher Dr. Jill Stocks said, "Campaigns to reduce infections have been very successful, and many lives have been saved. However, we need to do all we can to prevent skin irritation among these frontline workers."

Of course, having healthcare workers stop washing their hands isn't a good solution. The study’s authors are encouraging companies to develop less irritating cleansing products to reduce instances of dermatitis. Since those may not be available any time soon, the next best thing is keeping hands moisturized to prevent and treat dermatitis.

Système 41’s Moisturizing Hand & Body Crème is full of soothing ingredients that can help repair damaged, irritated skin. Even if you aren't a healthcare worker, your hands might be dry from the effects of frequent washing. Lotion can help soothe and repair dry, aggravated skin. Système 41's Moisturizing Hand and Body Crème is a modern, sophisticated, mixture of hyaluronic acid, natural oils (such as sunflower, coconut, kook and macadamia seed oil), and powerful antioxidants (such as green tea, honeysuckle, and flavonoid-rich lemon and orange). All of these work together to enhance the skin’s ability to hold moisture.

You also can try any similar healthy oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil. For extra moisture, try applying one of these oils and wearing cotton gloves either for a few hours or overnight. Washing your hands is important for staying healthy, and it doesn't have to be at the expense of the health of your skin!

To your health, naturally,


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