In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and being in the deep trenches of an aggressive flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending frequent handwashing to stop or reduce the spread of infectious germs. In our family we are prone to dermatitis, rashes, and ultra-dry skin from handwashing. We did what most families did when we started hearing about the coronavirus. We stocked up on soap, cleansing wipes. anti-bacterial gels, and prepping supplies. Before we bought out the local Super Target on the soap aisle, we called our dermatologist office. We quickly learned which products to purchase and the value of proper handwashing. In fact, the CDC calls handwashing a do it yourself vaccine and emphasizes that handwashing saves lives when it comes to removing germs and preventing illness. While it is not truly a vaccine, it does work on washing away bacteria and viruses. Below are some lessons learned in my research and talking to dermatologists.
What Dermatologists Recommend
1. Avoid antibacterial soaps and gels when possible. They can have an adverse effect to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These soaps have not been proven to be better than regular soap. They often contain harsh ingredients that may be harmful, especially to young children and toddlers.
Why avoid antibacterial soaps for handwashing
- They contain harsh chemicals which can irritate your skin and may have other harmful effects.
- They have not been shown to perform better than other soaps. Remember the flu and coronavirus are viruses. Antibacterial soaps have little to no effect on viruses. They are meant to kill bacteria.
- They have been shown to help increase the number and types of resistant bacteria.
- Studies show you wash you tend to wash your hands longer with regular soap.
Best Dermatologist-Recommended Handwashing Products
If you have a specific need to use antibacterial soap, such as when you do not have access to soap and water, our doctors recommend Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap with moisturizer, as it is less harsh on the hands.
2. Pay attention to ingredients that dry or irritate the skin. When possible avoid chemicals and the following ingredients: fragrances, parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), methylisothiazolinone, Cocamidopropyl betaine, triclosan, 1, 4-dioxane, and aluminum.
What are the top dermatologist-recommended handwashing soaps?
3. Some of the best dermatologists in the United States recommend a product made by a company called Puracy. The recommended soap is called Puracy Natural Foaming Hand Soap. The Puracy brand is dermatologist-tested and has been shown to be gentle on children and toddlers. It is a plant-derivative, is non-toxic and is sulfate free. This soap promotes hydration and avoids harsh chemicals. It is available for purchase from Amazon or Target.
4. A second dermatologist-recommended soap is Seventh Generation Free and Clean Unscented Natural Hand Wash. Our family already uses Seventh Generation for dishwashing and clothes washing. We were thrilled to learn that this product is a USDA-certified biobased product. We also learned it is a triclosan-free soap with no dyes or phthalates.
It is fragrance free and hypoallergenic. Staples, Walgreens, and Target all carry the soap.
How to Properly Wash Your Hands
Suncoast Skin Solutions is Florida’s “Most Trusted” Dermatology. Our staff and dermatologists are happy to educate patients on the best handwashing practices, while supporting hand health and avoiding irritation.
Suncoast Skin Solutions dermatologists recommend washing hands for a minimum of 30 seconds in lukewarm water. The CDS recommends washing hands especially after using the restroom, blowing your nose, and before consuming food.
Which product is best for restoring moisture to skin after handwashing
Our dermatologists advise applying a moisturizer free of fragrance, dyes, and parabens, such as Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream to prevent over-drying of the hands.
Have a question or a concern about dry or irritated skin? Call our Florida dermatology locator service at 844-786-3376.