Three ways to hygienically protect your hands amid coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Since the first case of the coronavirus outbreak was confirmed in South Africa earlier this year the health department has urged all South Africans to double up on hygiene.

We’ve compiled three ways to keep your hands hygienically clean while protecting them too.

Keep them clean

Not only do dirty hands and nails look terrible, they transfer germs. Making sure they’re clean is the first step in caring for their wellbeing. 

Sanitisers VS Handwashes

You should wash your hands at least six times a day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises. But which is better – hand sanitiser or a traditional soap-and-water wash?

  • Sanitiser is great when you don’t have access to water or if you live in a drought-prone area. It’s convenient to carry in your handbag and is ideal for wiping away germs and bacteria, but if your hands are extremely grubby, it won’t be as effective. 
  • Another drawback is that because sanitiser consists of between 60% and 95% alcohol it can dry out your skin. So make sure you moisturise after using.
  • Traditional handwashes that use water are gentler on the skin and many have moisturising properties as well so they won’t dry out your hands as much as sanitisers. But they’re not as convenient as you need water for them to clean effectively.
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Moisture, protection & anti-ageing

Hands are among the first places to show signs of ageing, and it’s no wonder. They work hard, are often exposed to the sun and even washing them can cause your skin, nails and cuticles to become dry.

  • Get into the habit of moisturising your hands every time after washing them. Carry a hand moisturiser in your bag and keep a tube handy in the kitchen and bathroom. Keep a rich product next to your bed and apply it at bedtime as it’s more likely to stay on while you sleep.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen. Our clothing rarely covers our hands and they’re often exposed to harmful UV rays. Look for hand moisturisers with added SPF and reapply every two hours if you’re exposed to the sun, for example while driving long distances, playing sport or gardening.

Nails & cuticles

Painted nails look cool, but you shouldn’t wear polish all the time. Nail polishes aren’t bad for your nails, but just like skin and hair, nails need to breathe, so take a break in between applications.

  • Cuticles are the thin layers of dead skin at the base of your nail. They protect nails and the skin around them from bacteria and germs. If the cuticle is cut, it’s easier for these nasties to get in and cause infection, so at your next manicure ask your technician not to cut them.
  • Keep cuticles moisturised by massaging a drop of cuticle oil into each nail daily.