Improving Skin Microbiome after Hand Sanitizer to Prevent COVID-19

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Last updated 12/08/2020

Our poor hands have been suffering with all this hand sanitizer. It can rob our skin of natural oils. But we can keep our hands on a healthy track.

The use of a hand sanitizer is a necessity currently in preventing the COVID-19 (please refer to CDC & WHO websites for current updates) spread. So we need to continue using it.

Aloe Vera is great in skincare products often used as a moisturizer but overuse (as we are doing now with hand sanitizing) can cause drying. Depending on your skin type, this can lead it to becoming too oily or too dry.

The alcohol in the hand sanitizer kills viruses. Use of a hand sanitizer of at least 60 percent alcohol is advised, if washing hands is not possible. This has become the norm until COVID-19 is gone. (Along with wearing a mask).

Hand sanitizers are convenient and effective at killing germs when soap and water aren’t available. The hands should not be visibly dirty and oily for this to work. Rub the right amount according to label over hands until they are dry.

Carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket will come in handy for your protection. This is when you are out and about grocery shopping or running errands, coming into contact with surfaces others have touched.

Think about what your hands have touched. If you are at the doctor office or taking the bus, use your hand sanitizer. If you’re concerned about over sanitizing these days, you’re not alone.

Make sure it is CDC approved. Don’t skip on safety precautions. Be on the alert for toxic ingredient in products.

Our Skin Microbiome

The skin microbiome also called Skin Flora is a term for all those bugs taking up residence or transient on our skin. These consist of bacterial and fungi species (billions of them). The skin microbiome changes with the location. The bugs also vary depending on skin factors including; the amount of light, if the area is dry or moist, hairy or oily.

The microbiome once thought to exist only on our skin surface actually communicates with the other layers. Our immune system and microbiome also chat and this may result with an inflammatory response due to allergies for example.

Our microbiome handles many roles. These bugs battle infection, similar to good gut microbiome which crowds out overgrowth of organisms that are pathogens.

The microbiome is also a protector against outside aggressors. It keeps out most allergens and decreases the oxidative damage. This presents our skin with its plump and moist appearance.

What is Compromising Skin Microbiome?

With the use of hand sanitizers our skin microbiome has become compromised. Excess use contributes with many skin conditions.

An imbalanced skin environment is connected with;

This compromise consist of, what we put on our skin (hand sanitizer, moisturizer) and what we put in our body (diet).

Taking antibiotics for a period of time, other medications and a poor diet can all contribute to a damaged gut microbiome.

There is a concern that the microbes may become resistant to important antibiotics. We don’t know the long term affects. There is still research as to what COVID-19 is all about.

Most soaps are alkaline this is to remove dirt and microbes. Our skin prefers a pH of about 5. The harmful bacteria like a more alkaline pH. Using soap with a pH around 10 or other alkaline products may be damaging our skin microflora and increase the risk for other skin conditions.

Psoriasis, eczema and rosacea (when near face) become worse with an already sensitive microflora.

Our face, chest and back the more oily areas of the body, usually have higher bacteria, this makes them more prone to acne.

Whatever is damaging to your gut microbiome will influence your skin. This is referred to as the gut-skin axis.

How to Support Your Skin Microbiome

variety of vegetables on display
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated (will improve all conditions). You’ve heard the saying, “We are what we eat”. Limit processed foods and extra sugar.

Dairy and gluten have been shown to make eczema and acne worse.

Probiotics can help repair a damaged gut microbiome and improve the skin.

Moisturize regularly after washing and sanitizing.

By exercising, you increase the blood flow to the skin. While doing this nourishment provides important nutrients and oxygen to the system.

Stress on the other hand, has a negative effect on our body. Practicing stress management like yoga or meditation can improve the skin. Find a method that works for you.

Hand Love

Introducing the hand mask (really there is almost a mask for every area). It’s a spa-like experience you can do at home.

Why not pamper your hands with a hand mask if you have sanitized all day or just to do it. Think about all the washing, sun and daily routine. They take a lot from our environment.

The upper side (dorsal surface) is very thin and regularly loses collagen and elastin as we age (as with the rest of our skin). Along with less activity from the sebaceous glands it becomes dry and weak causing those wrinkles. Using collagen-boost produces that moisturize can help with these aging signs.

Either do a self-hand massage to start or after and you have a total spa treatment.

Hand Routine

Like your skin care routine for your face, you can adapt one for your hands.

Use the right product for washing. We are washing our hands so often. The right product will keep them looking good. In order to keep dry skin from getting drier, look for humectants or ceramides in products.

Sensitive skin should avoid fragrance or harsh ingredients. If your hands are prone to crack or chap avoid antibacterial soaps that can be drying.

Hand soaps enriched with soothing and hydrating ingredients such as; milk, aloe, honey and oatmeal could be used.

You can also exfoliate your hands once a week. Using a gentle scrub will rid the hands of dead skin cells. This may be done with coconut oil, honey or sea salt (add water or massage oil to make paste). Rub over your hands. Then rinse with warm water.

A dark spot corrector may be used on hands to improve appearance. Choose one that includes antioxidants like vitamin C or retinol (this can dry skin if overused). It may take some time and if used regularly will brighten skin and make it look younger.

Moisturizing with hand cream helps to lock in moisture. Great for dry hands are products with Shea butter. Hand creams and lotions containing antioxidants like green tea, resveratrol, vitamin E or retinol will help brighten, hydrate and restore your skin.

Include an SPF for sun protection. The sun is the number one cause for skin aging. Use a product with at least SPF 15 to prevent dark spots and sun damage.

Bottom line, skin microbiome can be fixed, COVID-19 may not be.

Are you seeing any effects from using hand sanitizer? What have you seen?

Please share and subscribe to email, thank you!

Header Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Mary is the founder of All About Our skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fourteen years.

Disclaimer: 

The listing or mention of an organization, website or product is not meant as an endorsement or promotional purposes of any kind but simply to educate and pass on information.

This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.

If you have a health condition or concern, please consult your doctor.

Researching content:

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-23996/your-skin-microbiome-why-its-essential-for-a-healthy-glow.html           accessed 08/13/2020

https://askthescientists.com/skin-microbiome/      accessed 08/13/2020

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2 thoughts on “Improving Skin Microbiome after Hand Sanitizer to Prevent COVID-19”

    • I appreciate your comment Marisa and I have checked out your link. We are compromising our skin by applying these hand sanitizers and it is leading to other conditions on our hands as well as behind the mask. That is why these areas need special care now. It has been challenging. Hope you are safe and well!

      November 2020 Empties – Marisa Hamilton
      marisahamilton.wordpress.com/2020/12/06/november-…x
      192.0.87.249
      […] so killing them off is counterproductive. Additionally, imbalanced skin biomes can lead to a variety of conditions from psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema, to ulcers, accelerated aging, and even MRSA. Regardless, I […]

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