Managing Dry Skin from Frequent Hand Washing

Frequent hand washing and mask wearing can do a number on your skin. Dermatologist, Sarah Tullo, APRN, shares her recommendations for reducing dry skin and irritation caused by hand washing and gives some tips on caring for your skin while wearing a mask.

Hand Washing and Skin Irritation

Dry skin and rashes are the most common forms of skin irritation brought on by hand washing. For some, this is caused by the frequency of hand washing and for others, it may be causes by the type of soap, especially in the case of rashes. Some soaps are harsher and more drying than others and there’s always the possibility that you are sensitive or allergic to an ingredient in the soap that is causing the irritation.

Hand washing is vital to reduce the spread of germs so skipping the sink is simply not an option but giving your hands some extra attention is. Follow these recommendations to help soothe your skin and prevent irritation from hand washing:

  • Use hypoallergenic soaps with no dye and no perfumes.
  • Whenever possible, wash hands with soap and water instead of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If hand washing isn’t an option, use hand sanitizer until you’re able to wash your hands (and wash off the hand sanitizer).
  • Moisturize after every hand wash with hypoallergenic moisturizer.
  • Keep hands free of jewelry. It’s difficult to properly rinse and dry your hands with rings and bracelets on so skip the jewelry for the time being.
  • For extra dry skin, put oil on your hands and cover with gloves to sleep in, almost like a parrifin wax. This helps to prevent all of the oils from being stripped from your skin when washing hands during day.
  • If irritation, dry skin and/or rashes continues to be a problem or the issue gets worse- schedule a telemedicine or video appointment with a Dermatologist. A dermatologist will be able to prescribe medication if needed.

Face Masks and Skin Rashes and Acne

More people are wearing face masks after many states made it required for people to wear them while in public settings. Of course, healthcare workers and other essential employees find themselves wearing face masks for the entirety of their shifts, often spending more time wearing a mask than not. Like frequent hand washing, mask wearing can also cause skin problems such as rashes, irritation and acne.

To help avoid rashes and acne caused by wearing a face mask, follow these tips:

  • If you’re able to safely do so, wash your face multiple times during day. Gentle, facial cleansing wipes are an alternative option if you aren’t able to wash with soap and water.
  • Avoid makeup if possible. If going make-up free isn’t an option, ensure your makeup is oil free and non-comedogenic. For those wearing a mask but unable to skip makeup, consider only applying makeup on the areas of your face that your mask will not cover.
  • Wash your face with a gentle, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic facial cleanser.
  • Consider scheduling a telemedicine appointment with a Dermatologist if your rashes, irritation or acne continues or worsens.

It’s important to take care of your skin since it’s the first barrier against infection. Keeping skin healthy can also help keep your body healthy!


The physicians at Advanced Specialty Care want you to know that we are here for your ENT, Allergy, Plastic Surgery and Dermatology needs. We have remained open to continue to service our community and to help reduce the strain on hospitals and Emergency Rooms during this time of need.

To ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff, we’ve implemented advanced protective measures including enforced social distancing, rigorous screening, disinfecting and masking protocols within our offices.

Telehealth appointment services are also now available for both new and existing patients via phone or video call where appropriate and in-office visits remain available for all specialties in our Danbury and Ridgefield office locations.

(203) 830-4700 | www.ASCDOCS.com