Cold weather, dry skin - expert weighs in on hand sanitizer vs. soap

In Health Works, "baby it's cold outside,"  it's warm inside, but all the air everywhere, is dry. 

All of which can wreak havoc with your skin, especially your hands, that's why one doctor says you might need to stop with soap.

Doctor's orders are to wash your hands for 20 seconds, soap and water to kill all the germs. But guess what - if your hands are dry, this is a bad idea. 

"The worst thing you can do to your hands to dry them out, is use tap water and bar soap," said Dr. Anthony Youn. "Bar soap, some of them have actual products in them that purposely get rid of the oil in your skin and make them drier.

"If you have a job that you have to wash your hands a lot during the day - if you are a nurse, a doctor, if you do hair,  have the soap will make them dryer.  if you have a job that requires you to wash your hands 

the best thing to do, when you can, is to use a hand sanitizer." 

Youn, a plastic surgeon, knows skin and he knows what you're thinking. 

"People say, 'Hand sanitizers, don't they have alcohol in them,'" Youn said. "Yes they do, but believe it or not, hand sanitizers will disrupt and get rid of less of the skin oils that keep your skin moist, then will washing with soap and water."

When it comes to getting rid of all the germs, soap and water is a very good option, and some feel  moisturizing soap replenishes some lost oils. But you might want to trade off between soap and hand sanitizer. 

"So the worst thing you can do is hot water with bar soap," Youn said. "Use a hand sanitizer instead unless you're changing diapers, they're not poop worthy."

If your hands are cracked, Youn said use an occlusive  moisturizer like olive oil, bees wax that traps the moisture in. Sleep with gloves over that moisturizer on overnight and that will make your hands feel better.
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