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How to prevent dry hands and face mask acne

Dr. David Braddy says there are simple steps we can take to protect our skin while protecting ourselves from the virus.

GILBERT, S.C. — Our new normal includes a lot of soap, water and masks. 

While washing your hands and wearing a mask are two of the best ways to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, it can take a toll on a person's skin.

 "We're definitely seeing some skin irritation, dermatitis from more frequent hand-washing. Don't let that deter you. Keep washing those hands, especially if you are in public," said Dr. David Braddy, a physician at Lexington Family Practice in Gilbert.

He says there are simple steps we can take to protect our skin while protecting ourselves from the virus. 

"Preventing it is the first key," Dr. Braddy said. "So when you are doing the cleaning at home and using disinfectants and just washing the dishes, I would encourage people to wear gloves."

He said moisturizing is critical in battling dry skin and cracked cuticles. 

If you're looking for a brand to try out, he suggests Cerave. 

"If you are experiencing those dry skin symptoms, while your skin is still wet go ahead and put on that moisturizer and it helps kind of trap some of that moisture in after hand-washing," said Dr. Braddy. 

Health officials say if you are using hand sanitizer, you need to wait until your hands are dry before putting lotion on. 

Speaking of hand sanitizer, that might be a better alternative to soap for some people. 

"Hand washing can take away some of the natural oils from the skin," said Dr. Braddy. "If you are noticing you are getting more irritation from the hand-washing, then try switching to the hand sanitizer."

For hands that are suffering from severe dryness, Dr. Braddy suggests using Vaseline ointment. To really help trap in the moisture, he says put gloves on and leave the ointment on overnight. 

Mask acne is another issue that people are experiencing. 

"We are seeing a lot of acne and skin irritation. We are seeing some skin breaking out, especially on the bridge of the nose and behind the ears as contact points for the mask," said Dr. Braddy.

He recommends using a barrier cream like Desitin or Vaseline before you put your mask on. 

Dr. Braddy also said, "If you are going to wash your face mask, I would encourage you to do it with a fragrance free laundry detergent. That may help with some of the irritation that people may get with the mask itself."

If you're breaking out, he suggests washing your face with a gentle soap and moisturizing with a fragrance-free lotion. 

Dr. Braddy stressed that everyone continue to take health safety precautions saying, "I think it is important that we deal with these inconveniences to really protect the others around us by wearing a mask. That's what we are doing. We are protecting other people from getting anything we may have and may not know yet."

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