Hand Washing & Eczema

Use lukewarm water with a soap substitute to clean your hands. Always rinse your hands thoroughly and when drying take especial care between the fingers where the skin is more prone to dryness and cracking. Patting dry is better than rubbing dry, which can irritate already irritated skin. Always moisturise the skin after washing.

Emulsifying ointment or aqueous cream for use as a soap substitute can be obtained on prescription if they have to be used in large quantities or over the counter from your pharmacist at a relatively low cost.

Protecting your hands is also important and this can be done with the use of barrier creams or by wearing gloves. It can also be beneficial, if the condition of the skin is severe, to combine both precautions. Avoid wearing gloves for long periods of time (longer than 20 minutes) as this can cause the hands to sweat, causing more irritation and itching.

Some studies have confirmed that hand sanitiser is less risky than frequent, vigorous washing. However, certain hand sanitiser ingredients, such as fragrance and preservatives can cause skin reactions.

Some helpful tips:

  • Try a hand sanitiser for sensitive skin which is quite mild on the hands
  • Use a mild soap free cleanser with a damp face washer or water wipes
  • Try using a moisturiser to wash with if needed which helps offset the damage and dryness from water
  • Use emulsifying ointment or aqueous cream as a soap substitute which can be obtained on prescription
  • Protect your hands with barrier cream and/or gloves
  • Consult your local Pharmacist and always patch test anything new first!

Hand Washing

It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of New Zealand Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment. It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.