We need to wash our hands often. It's critical to help keep each of us healthy. As contagious as COVID-19 is, we have a fighting chance if we practice social distancing, effectively clean our surfaces, wash our hands and don’t touch our faces.
All of this washing is ravaging our poor hands. Social media is full of people posting about their dry, cracked, stinging, un-comfortable hands! The reality is – bar soap is certainly better than nothing. Many people in the world do not have access to soap of any kind, or clean water, or a safe place to isolate themselves and their families – and will struggle to stay healthy during this outbreak.
So, if bar soap is what you have, use it and be grateful you have it. If you are lucky enough to have a choice between different kinds of soap, then here are some things to consider.
Firstly, bar soap tends to be more alkaline, typically with a pH of 9 or 10. Skin is more acidic at a pH of closer to 5. Skin's acidity helps it to combat bacteria - so alkalinity can disrupt skin's microbiome negatively. If you are prone to skin issues like eczema, alkalinity could exacerbate flare-ups, which in turn could make your skin more vulnerable to bacteria and germs entering the body through the skin.
Secondly, bar soap is typically formulated with harsh detergents that can strip skin lipids and dry skin out. The most ideal cleanser is one that has a skin-similar pH, and is free of skin-stripping sulfates, harsh detergents and irritating fragrance. Liquid soap is also more hygienic, which is important when we are doing our utmost to avoid any transmission of this virus.
If you can, use a fragrance free, hydrating hand cream after cleansing to soothe, nourish and protect skin. Our favorite hand health duo is Eczema+ Foaming Oil Body Wash and Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream.
Founder & Total Skin Nerd