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Hand Care with Hand Sanitizers – Feature Article

Dr Koh Hong Yi was interviewed by LianHe Zaobao (the mainstream Chinese newspaper in Singapore) on 9th March 2020, for his views on skin care in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. He has seen more patients presenting with hand eczema (dermatitis) due to increased frequency of hand washing or use of hand sanitizers. This is more common in patients who already have sensitive skin.

Dr Koh provided some hand care tips:

  • Wash your hands as frequently as needed, but do not go overboard or rub aggressively.
  • Choose a mild non-alkaline hand cleanser with moisturisers. Do not use dish-soap or hot water.
  • Dry your skin completely after washing, especially between the fingers.
  • Apply moisturisers to the hands frequently throughout the day.
  • When using hand sanitizers, select those with added moisturisers. If one has sensitive skin, avoid sanitizers with added fragrance which may cause allergy.

Dr Koh shared that our normal skin is actually slightly acidic, so a non-alkaline soap or cleanser is better for our skin. Most hand sanitizers contain alcohol, but one should not use alcohol to wash hands, or wash our hands with water immediately after applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer as this will irritate the skin.

He also advised patients with hand dermatitis to see their GP or Dermatologist, as the inflamed skin actually harbours more bacteria, and micro-breaks in the skin will allow germs to enter.

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