Dermatitis during COVID-19: Hand washing and face coverings
The government guidance for reducing the spread of coronavirus is to wash hands regularly with soap and water, use a face covering when in enclosed spaces and keep your distance from others. For those living with atopic eczema, the increased handwashing and wearing a face covering can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
Follow our tips below to help manage your eczema and prevent your skin becoming dry and cracked.
Tips for preventing dermatitis of the hands
- Unfortunately, emollient based soap substitutes are not effective against COVID 19 –
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Rinse well to remove soap particles
- Immediately apply an emollient to your hands to prevent irritation occurring
- Pat dry hands after washing to prevent friction and further damage to the skin
- Minimise contact with any known allergens or irritants
- Use an emollient or moisturising cream on your hands daily, especially before going to bed at night
- Minimise contact with irritants - protect your hands by wearing gloves when washing up, using cleaning products or handling irritants
- Remember to remove your gloves as soon as possible after completing the task, as sweating can irritate the hands – if protective gloves need to be worn for long periods, a thin material liner glove should be used to minimise the risk of irritation
- Contact your pharmacist or GP if your hand dermatitis becomes persistent or troublesome
Follow our tips below to prevent dermatitis of the face.
- Apply moisturiser before putting on your facemask this will help act as a barrier to sensitive skin
- Choose a cotton mask, as this is a breathable fabric and less likely to irritate sensitive skin than other synthetic materials.
- Choose the right fitting mask, not too tight that it causes marking or irritation, but not so loose that it slips down or does not create a seal between the nose and skin. Consider a mask that ties at the back of the head as opposed to ear loops if the ear area is sensitive.
- If possible, take a break from wearing your mask at regular intervals during the day
- Wash your hands and face in lukewarm water when you take your mask off to help remove any irritants from the skin (such as make-up, sweat and pollution), and re-apply your moisturiser afterwards