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Skin care experts on how to heal dry hands from washing them so much

By Kristin Larson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Spring is almost here, leaving moisture-zapping winter and its wrath of dull and dry skin behind. Adding to this, we are all washing and sanitizing our hands a thousand times a day to prevent the spread of germs due to the coronavirus - and this excessive washing with soap and water, which experts say is more effective than hand sanitizer at killing a broader range of bacteria, can make dry skin worse.

"Hand soaps can all be harsh when used excessively, so it's best to apply a moisturizing cream, rather than a lotion, after you wash your hands to replenish the natural skin barrier," says Dr. Michael Sotiriou, a board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology + Aesthetics in Chicago, who recommends hand moisturizing creams like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream and Eucerin Eczema Relief Hand Cream.

"Really hot water could contribute to dry and irritated skin," says Sotiriou. "The key is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, making sure to scrub between your fingers and around your nails as well - after contact with surfaces like doorknobs and elevator buttons and prior to eating or touching your face."

Just like you would your closet, analyze your skin care products with a Marie Kondo-like strategy. "Toss your expired, old products and get rid of products that aren't working for you anymore," says Erin Adams, esthetician and owner of Le Remede Waxing & French Skincare Boutique in Chicago's Ukranian Village neighborhood.

From what treatments to splurge on to what products to maintain your skin at home, here are eight tips from two skin care experts on how to reveal glowing, revitalized skin for spring.

Tip: Switch up your cleanser


Skin may be parched and dry from winter, so experts advise against harsh cleansers, which may further strip the skin of moisture and natural oils.

"A gentle face wash, such as CeraVe, is a hydrating cleanser that's available at any store," says Dr. Michael Sotiriou. "I like it because it's fragrance free, it's mild and it won't over dry your skin but it will clean it. I recommend this year-round."

Tip: Exfoliate

For some, getting skin in spring shape means sloughing away dead skin cells. But before you grab a gritty exfoliating scrub, think again. Dermatologists like Sotiriou do not recommend physical exfoliators, like face scrubs, because they can irritate and damage the skin.


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