Why Hand Washing is Wreaking Havoc on Your Hands

Why Hand Washing is Wreaking Havoc on Your Hands

La Shonda Tyree

Washing your hands with soap for twenty seconds is the best way to rid them of germs including bacteria and viruses as outlined by the Center for Disease Control. With all the recent hand washing because of Coronavirus it is leaving our hands super duper dry.

There is a good reason behind it. It all boils down to some chemistry. Soap is alkaline. This means it has a pH above seven when added to water. Water has a natural pH of seven.

Our skin is naturally acidic. It has a pH below 7. It should be somewhere between 5.5 - 6.

Moisturizers are acidic with a pH range of 4.5 - 6.5. This is why you use a moisturizer to help your skin lock in moisture and to help your skin provide a barrier of skin protection. 

In order to clean the skin soap has to be alkaline. Our skin quickly changes back to its acidic pH because the alkaline state is very temporary. But add excessive hand washing with soap and our skin begins to feel extra dry.

With the extra hand washing you will need to help your skin out with extra moisturizing. Using a moisturizer like lotion is a one two punch. It contains both water to hydrate the skin and oils to moisturize and lock in the hydration. A moisturizer containing plant based oils is better for your skin than those containing mineral oils including petroleum jelly. So be sure to label read as petroleum based oils counter act and actually aid in drying the skin.

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