Latex gloves drying out your hands? Try these tricks

Nurse Using Hands Sanitizer

Are your hands drying out because you wash, sanitize, and wear latex gloves all day?

As healthcare professionals, your frequent hand washing and use of latex gloves are might leave your hands dryer than usual. To retain moisture while hand washing, wash with cool water, avoid alcohol-based soaps, be gentle when washing your hands, and use heavy-duty lotion i.e. Burt Bees or Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream; after every wash and during your shift.

Now that we’ve solved the “dry hands because of washing” issue, what about the latex gloves? Here are some tricks to try when latex gloves dry your hands:

Soak in Oatmeal 

Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory, and perfect for dry hands. Whether you bath in it or soak your hands in them, oatmeal can repair damages to your hands by latex gloves. Oatmeal helps moisturize and soften skin. 

How to soak your hands in Oatmeal

  •  1 cup rolled oats, powdered in blender or food processor
  • Fill your sink, bowl, or basin with lukewarm water
  • Soak your hands in the water-filled oats for 10 minutes

Another trick is adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the mix. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer with vitamin E, essential fatty acids, which allows your hands to stay soft, protects open skin or cracks from infections, and retains moisture. It also helps to remove dead and dry skin and protects your hands from infections. 

Moisturize With Aloe Vera

Moisturizing is important for hand care, So how do you let hands stay moisturized between shifts, hand washing, and glove-wearing? 

Aloe Vera! Found in many skin products, aloe vera has many anti-inflammatory and antibiotics properties.  You can apply it after washing your hands and before wearing latex gloves. Make sure your hands are dry when you apply the aloe vera and let it do all the work. It repairs, smoothes, and keeps your hands cool while you wear latex gloves. Remember to apply after every wash or before wearing your latex gloves.

Tip 1:  Avoid using a hot dryer to dry your hands. The heat tends to overdry the hands, so it’s best to use a paper towel to wipe hands before applying aloe vera.

Tip 2:  Avoid rubbing your dry hands together to soften them, instead, apply aloe vera on hands when hands are dry.

Overnight Hand Treatment

There are other things to do to keep the dry away, treating your hands with care at night. You can apply lots of lotions or vaseline i.e Vaseline Intensive Care on your hand and cover them with socks, cotton gloves, or mittens. The covering helps moisturize your hands and allows your skin to absorb it overnight.  Remember to thoroughly and gently massage your hands with the lotion before covering.

Wear Gloves Under Gloves

The trick to keeping your hands from drying out is to wear gloves, but not as often. That is difficult for healthcare professionals because it’s part of your job and protecting your hands from bodily fluids and infections saves yours and your patient’s lives.  

So how can health professionals keep their gloves on and keep their hands moisturized? By adding an extra layer of protection. Wearing gloves under your work gloves might not sound like the greatest idea, but it is. There are gloves that prevent dryness when wearing latex gloves. Wearing very thin cotton or demetris gloves under your latex gloves protects your hands from the latex gloves power.

Although adding another layer might be great for some, others may find it uncomfortable or impossible to wear double coverings. Here is an alternative:

Alternative: Using a liquid bandage to prevent further damage to your skin. Use water-resistant or liquid bandages on wounds or areas where you usually have blisters. Also, using ointments i.e triple ointment before bandages protect hands from drying out underneath gloves. Ointments kill bacteria, prevent infections, and smoothen the skin underneath. Using ointments and wearing liquid bandages are added protection that can prevent infections and dryness while you wear latex gloves.

Hand care is important because many healthcare professionals use their hands to care for patients. As latex glove wearers, you may be prone to dryness, cuts, and more. Whether you doubled glove it, soak your hands in oats, or moisturize with aloe vera, these tricks can help you care for your hands and stop dryness while care for patients.

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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