Nurses, doctors, paramedics and other professionals who regularly work with the public have to change their gloves and wash their hands dozens of times in the course of one shift. That rapid glove changing also applies to those who use rubber gloves in the home to clean or garden. Multiply frequent glove changing and hand washing by months or even years and you can easily get dry, cracked skin that affects your ability to care for you patients or perform your daily home care tasks. A few changes to your hand care routine can help you balance safety with comfort.
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See your doctor to get evaluated for a latex allergy. Many people can successfully wear rubber gloves for a while before having symptoms. Latex allergy can cause sneezing, watery eyes and other common allergy symptoms, but it can also cause skin irritation, itching, dryness and discomfort. If you do have a latex allergy, you may find changing to nitrile gloves or other latex-free material will solve your problem. Nitrile is a latex-free glove tested to be as effective as latex gloves. They're available in most places traditional rubber gloves are sold.
Wash your hands gently in mild soap after removing your gloves. Choose a very mild soap because harsher soaps can strip your hands of natural oils, which help keep your skin moisturized. Try a soap with moisturizers or cold creams in them.
Pat your hands dry while carefully avoiding rubbing the dry skin. Avoid hot air dryers, according to "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies" because the hot air can further dry out your skin.
Skip the hand sanitizer if your workplace allows it. Hand sanitizers are usually alcohol based. Products high in alcohol dry out your skin and should be avoided if you already have a dry skin problem.
Apply a water-resistant moisturizer to your skin. A waterproof lotion will seep into your skin and its healing properties won't be as affected by repeated hand washing and glove changing as traditional lotions. Use the lotion after each time you wash your hands, even though it's waterproof, to supply your skin with a steady stream of healing moisture.
Use a thick lotion and moisture gloves overnight while you sleep to provide a deep moisturizing treatment. Moisture gloves are available in most stores in the beauty department. The gloves are usually made of thick, soft cotton and are designed to keep your hand lotion from evaporating. They also keep the moisture close to your skin for a longer period of time so that your skin can absorb the maximum amount over a longer period of time.