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Why are skin moisturizers important during the pandemic?

Frequent hand washing can dry and crack your skin. Here's why.

ATLANTA — If you’ve noticed your hands are looking kind of rough, it’s likely a byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us are washing our hands more than ever before. As strange as it may seem, wet hands can lead to dry, damaged hands.

No one is suggesting you cut back on thorough hand washing. That remains a vital weapon against the spread of any virus.

Here’s why a skin moisturizer may be an important element of our new normal.

The coronavirus has changed habits all over the world.

“People are washing their hands more than usual,” says Dermatologist Dr. Carrie Kovarik. “Water would seem to be moisturizing, but it really isn’t.”

Soap and water can strip away your skin’s natural oils. Your body will replace it, but frequent hand washing can lead to skin so dry, it can flake and even crack.

“It’s a place where germs can get into your skin,” says Dr. Kovarik. “Bacteria like staph can get into your skin.”

That can lead to infection. So, dermatologists say frequent hand washing should be coupled with a skin moisturizer.

“It would be good to do it a couple of times a day,” says Kovarik. “If you see your hands are getting dry and ashy, that’s a good time to put it on.”

Dr. Kovarik recommends ointments and creams that are free from fragrances and dyes.

Because it has alcohol as an ingredient, hand sanitizers will dry your hands out faster than soap and water.

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