Sadly, I managed to catch another cold this winter season last week. I guess it’s hard to avoid when you’re outnumbered by sniffly, sneezing kids at family holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, the skin can take a beating from the frequent nose blowing, leading to a chafed, red, raw nose and making the cold even more unbearable!
Well, don’t fret, here are some tips to help prevent the Rudolph nose:
1. Use tissue that is soft and lotion infused. No nose blowing with paper towels or rough toilet paper! (Not that you would right?)
2. Protect your skin with petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline ointment) or an ointment like Aveeno healing ointment, Aquaphor Healing ointment, or Vaniply Ointment after blowing your nose or whenever it starts to feel dry and raw. These double as good lip protectants since your lips might get dried out from all that mouth breathing when you’re sick.
3. After washing your face, also protect the affected areas around your nose with the above ointments.
Hang in there! Colds usually go away on their own in 1-2 weeks.
Continuing on the theme of frequent handwashing, we will cover how to use liquid bandage (aka liquid bandaid) over those very pesky fissures and cracks which really likethe fingertips and can result from frequent water contact such as from handwashing. Prevention is key, but if you’ve already developed those cracks, you’re probably looking for something to ease the pain. Liquid bandage is an over the counter product sold at your local pharmacy or supermarket. It’s essentially a super-glue to seal up your cracks.
How do you use liquid bandage?
– First, clean the affected cut/fissure/crack
– Try to press the two sides of normal skin together if possible
– Apply a small amount over the area and let it dry
– You can apply extra coatings for extra sealage
How do you remove liquid bandage?
There are a few different ways. Check the box of your product. For some, you can apply a fresh coating and simply wipe the whole amount off. Otherwise, nail polish remover and oils can also remove the product. You can also just let it fall off on its own.
One frequent complaint I’ve heard from patients is that liquid bandage HURTS and STINGS especially for larger cracks! That’s because it may contain alcohols which really burn on open skin. Once the product dries, it shouldn’t burn. Several physicians have also recommended using superglue in place of liquid bandage but check with your doctor first.
Also, if liquid bandage doesn’t work for you, you can also try vaseline (petrolatum jelly) or petrolatum jelly based ointments.
What is your favorite remedy for cracked and fissured hands and fingers?
The combination of dry weather and frequent handwashing or hand sanitizing can really wreak havoc on your skin. For those of us in the healthcare profession, we’re cleansing our hands before and after seeing each patient in order to prevent the spread of germs from one patient to the next. For those of us who do chores like dishwashing, laundry, cooking, and for those parents who are taking care of kids and pets, we have even more reason to be handwashing.
So what do you do about the dry, irritated, red, cracked skin that can result?
1) If you don’t need to be cleansing your hands, then don’t. This sounds silly, but excess water exposure will dry your skin out. While it’s important to maintain good hand hygiene, if you don’t have a need to be washing your hands, then don’t.
2) Use lukewarm water instead of steaming hot water. A pet peeve of mine are those automatic faucets which pipe out steaming hot water and there’s no way to change the temperature.
3) Pat dry instead of rubbing your skin dry. You needn’t scrub away your skin after handwashing.
4) Follow up your handwashing with a moisturizer. Being a dermatologist, I have little sample-sized hand moisturizers at my desk that I use after washing my hands and whenevermy hands feel dry. (Remember that episode of Grey’s Anatomy where they showed all the dermatologists moisturizing? Well, that’s not all that we do…!)
5) If you suspect you could be having an allergic or irritant reaction to your hand sanitizer, try a hypoallergenic one such as this one from VMV Hypoallergenics. They added moisturizer to their hand sanitizer!
6) Wear gloves if you can to protect your skin while doing chores. I like the really inexpensive clear plastic food handler’s gloves to lightweight chores.
What tips do you have for preventing dry irritated skin on your hands?