By Joanne Laucius, Postmedia News March 22, 2012
About a quarter of Canadian children and 15 per cent of adults suffer from eczema. It shows up most often on the hands in the winter, but can also make an appearance on the arms and legs, and on the faces of children, says dermatologist Dr. Lori Shapiro.
And skin that is irritated is more likely to be broken, which makes it is more permeable to bacteria.
Hand sanitizers strip the skin of its lipid barrier, as does soap and water. But she doesn’t recommend forgoing cleansers. She suggests trying a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air and applying hand cream before and after wash-ing. After a shower, pat the skin dry and apply a thin layer of moisturizer. Here are some properties to look for:
– Humectants are “water magnets” that draw water from the air to the skin.
– Occlusives create a barrier on the skin, reducing water loss. Petroleum jelly and dimethicone are a good example of an occlusive.
– Emollients replenish the lipid barrier on the skin and make the skin feel supple.