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Frequently washing your hands with an antibacterial hand wash is thought to be the best way to keep yourself and others safe from harmful bacteria but it can leave you with dry, cracked skin or eczema.

Ever wondered why hands are so vulnerable to dryness? Here’s what you can do to keep them feeling soft and nourished.

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Why does hand sanitising leave the skin feeling dry?

The best hygiene practice is to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day or to use an antibacterial hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to soap and water.

This will expose your skin to a variety of antibacterial actives which can help to stop infections entering the skin. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is one such active but as well as killing bacteria, it also strips away skin’s natural moisture.

If your hand sanitiser contains a high volume of this skin-drying ingredient, it’s normal to notice that your hands feel dry after frequent use.

It’s also not just alcohol-rubs which can leave your skin feeling dry; hands have few sebaceous glands so frequently washing them with skin-drying soaps that contain Sodium lauryl sulphate will draw moisture out of the skin and may leave the hands feeling sore and irritated.

How you can protect dry hands from frequent washing

Apply hand cream in between hand washes

Not only is having dry skin on your hands uncomfortable, it can mean that your skin barrier has been compromised.

A strong, healthy skin barrier plays an important role in keeping bad bacteria away from the body so, if frequent hand washing leaves you with dry skin, make sure you replenish the skin with a hand cream made with actives known to support the skin barrier.

Perilla Seed oil is an ideal natural ingredient for supporting the skin barrier on the hands. Easily absorbed by the skin and rich in flavones and antioxidants, Perilla oil contains a natural precursor for ceramides.

This plays a role in maintaining the skin barrier and protects against water loss. Another benefit of this omega-rich oil is that it contains polyphenols and triterpenoids. These natural molecules provide anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-allergic benefits to the skin.

If you have eczema or your hands are frequently irritated by hand care products, support your skin barrier with Squalane hand care. A natural emollient, Squalane increases moisture levels in the skin, locking in long-lasting hydration. This anti-inflammatory ingredient will also reduce redness and calm irritation.

Use SLS-free soap

An easy way to avoid dry skin when washing your hands frequently is to use an SLS-free hand wash. 

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is commonly added to soaps and hand washes to make them foam but, like ethanol alcohol, it can dry the skin.

To avoid this, all Green People hand washes are made without SLS and or ethanol alcohol.

Manuka & Lemon Tea Tree Antibacterial Hand Wash

Green People’s Manuka & Lemon Tea Tree Antibacterial Hand Wash is a powerful natural antibacterial organic hand wash which is hygienic, ecological and kind to skin. The highly concentrated formula is free from SLS, triclosan and irritating soap and instead combines organic lemon tea tree, sweet orange and manuka. This hand wash harnesses the power of naturally antimicrobial Australian Tea Tree and extracts from the New Zealand Manuka Bush; bacteria is banished in record time. pH-balanced and gentle, it contains 80% certified organic ingredients and won’t irritate your hands.

Quinoa & Calendula Hand Wash

Green People’s latest addition to the popular Quinoa range is the Quinoa and Calendula Hand Wash, an antioxidant rich, nourishing formula that keeps hands clean while soothing inflamed skin. Made with 80% certified organic ingredients, it’s completely free from skin-drying SLS, triclosan and soap whiles being pH-balanced to support a healthy skin structure. Superfood quinoa forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, locking in water to prevent dryness while antioxidant-rich calendula is famed for its moisturising properties. The perfect choice for regular handwashing that won’t dry out your skin.

Scent Free Hand Wash

This certified organic, pH-balanced, organic hand wash is a gentle, hygienic essential for your kitchen and bathroom. An ideal choice for all environmentally-aware individuals who want to maintain a high level of hygiene without compromising their high standards. Hands are left clean and moisturised. Scent Free Handwash is so gentle it can even be used on the face! Made without essential oils, this unscented certified organic hand wash is suitable for sensitive skin and allergy sufferers.

Dry your hands

Drying your hands thoroughly is as important as washing them regularly. Not only will excess soap cling to the skin, putting it at risk of irritation and dryness, but damp, wet hands will attract more germs than dry, clean ones.

Pay particular attention to drying in between your fingers.

Wear gloves when cleaning and washing up

Detergents and washing-up liquids can contain harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances and SLS. These ingredients can aggravate already sensitised skin and are best avoided when you are suffering with dry skin or eczema on your hands.

If you’re doing the cleaning or washing up, always pop on a pair of protective, waterproof gloves to protect your hands.

Treat hands to an intense hydration hand mask

Very dry hands can benefit from an overnight hand mask. Apply a hand cream that’s rich in nourishing actives just before bed and, for extra intense hydration, wear cotton gloves whilst you sleep.

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