Can excessive hand washing cause irritant dermatitis?

According to recent studies, dermatologists claim that moisturizer can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses:

Can excessive hand washing cause irritant dermatitis?

Indeed, excessive hand washing can cause irritant contact dermatitis, especially in predisposed individuals. People most prone are those with atopic dermatitis, sensitive skin or previous personal history of hand eczema.

The risk of contact dermatitis may also be increased if soaps with a pH very different from that of the skin or with excessive perfumes or other unnecessary excipients are used.

How can irritant dermatitis influence the spread of the virus?

To date, we know that the virus is transmitted through the ocular and respiratory mucous membranes. There is no evidence that it can be transmitted through skin cracks. However, irritant dermatitis may indirectly promote the spread of the virus.

On the one hand, it may reduce hand washing to a lesser extent than necessary, because it is uncomfortable or even painful. On the other hand, it may prevent the use of the necessary hydroalcoholic gels, because of the pain resulting from their use on damaged skin.

Finally, scratching can drag viral particles towards the thumbs and nails, which are then the parts of the hand that come into contact with the face the most.

What role can moisturizer play in preventing infection?

Moisturizing cream, by preventing and alleviating hand eczema, will help to reduce all these dissemination mechanisms.

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What type of hand moisturizer would be the most effective?

In a patient predisposed to irritant hand dermatitis, or with established dermatitis, moisturizers should have special formulations, free of perfumes and allergens.

They are usually very balanced formulas, with a sufficient amount of lipids to restore the skin barrier and prevent water loss through the epidermis, but with a certain water content to preserve their cosmeticity and make them pleasant to apply.

In moderate or severe cases, it will be necessary to associate a topical anti-inflammatory prescribed by the physician (usually a corticosteroid) to completely cure hand eczema.