In recent decades, eczema is becoming more and more of a problem affecting people of all ages, even infants. At the very least, it’s annoying and unsightly, but at its worst, it can be intolerably painful and even disruptive to a normal lifestyle.
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Eczema on hands is also become increasingly common because our hands come into contact with the most variety of surfaces throughout the day. In order to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, we’re also encouraged to wash our hands with handwash as frequently as possible.
Nobody likes dealing with cracked, itchy, or painful hands all day long. These are some ways you can manage the eczema on your hands.
1. Don’t touch chemicals
Before you start saying that you don’t touch chemicals, think about the kind of handwash, body gel, shampoo, detergents, and dishwashing liquid you use many times a day, every day.
If you have eczema on your hands, you need to make sure that the stuff you’re coating your hands with isn’t making things worse. All of the above can contain very harsh chemicals which can dry out your hands even further, making them even more prone to injury, itchiness, and pain.
Avoid any products that contain sulphates, especially sodium laureth sulphate (SLS). Unfortunately, SLS is very common component of most hygiene products on the market, but cutting it out of your routine will help tremendously for the eczema on your hands.
With detergents and dishwashing liquids, they have to utilise these strong chemicals in order to do its job. When you are using them, use some form of gloves to protect the skin on your hands from these chemicals.
You may be concerned about gloves making your daily chores more difficult because of how slippery they can be, but there are now non-slip gloves on the market that can make things a little easier. Just remember: the eczema is only going to get worse if you keep coming into contact with these chemicals!
2. Get a SLS-free handwash
If you want to combat eczema on your hands, then you need to start removing the things in your life that is making it worse. One of them is handwash.
For frequent hand-washers, the type of handwash you use can actually contribute significantly to the state of your eczema. It might be difficult to find a handwash without SLS, but we guarantee that you will feel a difference immediately.
Here are two SLS-free handwashes you can get in Singapore:
Human Nature Natural Hand Soap in Refreshing Apple retails for SGD16.90 on RedMart.
Idocare Garden Fresh Moisturizing Hand Soap retails for SGD7.90 on RedMart.
3. Carry a fragrance-free hand cream with you at all times
You may be able to change the hand wash at home, but we get that it’s difficult to control the kind of soap that you come into contact with everywhere else, like your office or in shopping malls.
That’s why it’s also important to bring a hand cream around with you so you can immediately provide some moisture to your parched hands after a hand wash.
For those with eczema on hands, the most important thing to look out for in a hand cream is the absence of fragrances. Fragrance and perfumes are chemicals too, and they can be irritating to sensitive skin. Get a good, fragrance-free formulation that is of a consistency and texture that you like.
You may be wondering: should you be worrying about silicones in your hand creams? (Yes, most hand creams would contain silicones.) The short answer is: it probably doesn’t matter.
Silicones have gotten a bad rep for its presence in hair care and skincare products for reasons that wouldn’t apply so much to your hands, such as its tendency to weigh down hair and make it look limp and lifeless, or the potential for it to cause acne. Those aren’t a problem for your hands. In fact, silicones can form a layer on top of the skin that might even protect your hands against the drying effects of your hand soap.
4. Try an overnight hand therapy
If you have eczema on your hands and sleep in air-conditioning, you are probably familiar with that feeling of uncomfortably taut and chapped skin after waking up. While we pile on our moisturisers during our nightly skincare routine, we often neglect to do anything with our hands.
There are overnight hand therapies available out there that act almost like a “sleeping mask” for your hands, and it’s definitely worth a try if you suffer from chronically dry hands or eczema.
You may think that the Overnight Hand Therapy from Crabtree & Evelyn would feel like you just dipped your hands into a tub of moisturiser, but it’s actually a lot more comfortable than that. The Overnight Hand Therapy absorbs in quickly, and leaves your hands feeling comfortably moisturised as you go to bed.
Crabtree & Evelyn Overnight Hand Therapy retails for SGD38 at all Crabtree & Evelyn stores and is available in six scents.
5. Get medication if necessary
Eczema on your hands can be very stubborn, and may require some legit medication from a healthcare professional.
If it’s an acute flare-up that’s really bothering you, go to the pharmacy and ask for medicated hand creams that would be able to help with the itch short-term. If your eczema is the chronic kind that never goes away, you’re probably better off consulting a doctor to get oral as well as topical medication.