Dry skin, red and irritated hands, eczema, cracks… Our hands are increasingly damaged by the rigorous hygiene to which we have subjected them since the start of the covid pandemic.

So much so that the professionals present at the congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) of May 6 and 7 devoted a large part of their discussions to it.

According to these specialists, inflammation of the skin of the hands – called dermatitis or dermatitis – due to extensive hand hygiene, could affect two-thirds of us.

“An epidemic of skin diseases”

For Marie-Aleth Richard, member of the board of directors of EADV and professor at the University Hospital of Timone, in Marseille, “there is now an epidemic of skin diseases within the covid pandemic“.

In question, according to the EADV: the “rigorous hand washing“and the use of “alcohol-based friction products“which alter the lipid film and destroy bacteria in our skin.

It is therefore no longer protected, and becomes the site of inflammation, causing multiple lesions. But now that the problem is understood and recognized, solutions must be found.

Read also: Hydroalcoholic gel: its excessive use would promote the emergence of resistant bacteria

Hydroalcoholic gel: in moderation

First instruction to respect: do not abuse the hydroalcoholic gel and reserve it outside, in transport for example. “It is reserved for the nomadic side of hand hygiene, when you do not have access to water and soap“recalled Dr. Marie Jourdan, dermatologist in Paris on April 29 in the Health magazine.

And when you use the gel, you apply it for at least 20 or 30 seconds, the dermatologist whispered. Because the gels are “always associated with moisturizers like glycerin“. A long application allows”get to the hydrating phase which helps a lot“, she also revealed.

Choosing a fragrance-free soap

The rest of the time, you should prefer washing with soap and water … but not just any. “Prefer a soap – bar or cleansing gel – with a pH close to that of the skin (5.5 to 6.5), fragrance-free and antibacterial-free for hand washing“already advised in December 2020 the Academy of Medicine, which warned about the increase in skin problems among caregivers.

Moisturize morning and evening …

And when the skin is damaged, you must of course think about moisturizing it. What passes through the application of creams “morning and evening“but also by a”oral hydration“, explained on the set of Health magazine Doctor Mostefa Rafaa, dermatologist at the southern Francilien hospital center. As a reminder, you should drink an average of 1.5 liters of water per day.

Cream side, “one must learn to have a tube of moisturizer for the hands and to apply it regularly. This is the only way to avoid the appearance of these irritative dermatitis.insisted Doctor Rafaa.

… if necessary with a healing cream

And for him, any hand cream, “in supermarkets or drugstores” will do. “A good cream does not have to be an expensive cream “ the specialist recalled again.

In the event of persistent lesions or cracks, it is nevertheless necessary to consult a dermatologist who will prescribe healing creams or even corticosteroids for the most serious cases.

Dry children’s hands well

Finally, children’s hands are not spared! The repeated washings imposed by the sanitary protocol of the schools have led to an increase in cases of dermatitis and eczema in children. The washing itself is involved, but also rinsing and drying performed too quickly.

So, how to do ? Teach children to rinse their hands well and dry them well to limit the aggression of cleaning products. And also think about applying moisturizer on the hands of the little ones.