Hand Hygiene Handwashing and Clean Hands Saves Lives

Skin Care

Why you need to use lotion or hand cream

Lotions are used to ease dryness and irritation caused by frequent handwashing and glove donning. Healthy skin is your primary barrier to microorganisms and regular lotion use minimizes broken skin from appearing.

Importance of maintaining good skin care

It not uncommon for nurses to experience irritation on their hands in their professional lifetime. Nurses can go through over 50 pairs of exam gloves daily and handwashing is required before/after donning. Prolonged hand washing and donning of gloves damage the skin and it is inevitable for nurses to develop dermatitis symptoms. Damaged skin can make washing hands quite painful or uncomfortable. For this reason, poor skin condition is an indirect cause of poor hand hygiene in healthcare facilities.

Contrary to popular belief, water can be quite damaging to skincare. Healthy skin is moisturized, but frequent contact with water will wash away natural oils on the skin that act as a natural barrier and lock in moisture. For this reason, handwashing is only recommending when the hands are visibly dirty or if you come into contact with bodily fluids or blood. In the interim, skincare cream and lotion should be used to help regenerate the skin and provide rehydration.

Lotion vs Skincare Cream. If you are in the market for a skin moisturizing solution, you will quickly see a plethora of products available in the market. Rather than provide a direct recommendation of products, we'll recommend the features to look for. In today's skincare market, both lotions and creams are available to the public. In general, creams are preferable because they contain less water content making each application per volume more effective than their lotion counterparts. Choosing the best skincare cream is easy, just try until you find the best one you like! A couple things to keep in mind: choose a product with minimal grease and minimal fragrance to ensure patients will not be inconvenienced. After all, the goal of hand hygiene is to improve patient care.

Proper technique for applying moisturing lotion or hand cream

Applying Skincare Cream: Step 1
Applying Skincare Cream: Step 2
Step 1: Apply lotion on the back of your hand and distribute evenly on both hands. Step 2: Rub the product over the back of your hands being sure to interlock your fingers so you cover the entire hand.
Applying Skincare Cream: Step 3
Applying Skincare Cream: Step 4
Step 3: Rub the lotion on the fingertips and cover your cuticles since they have a tendancy to crack. Step 4: Completely massage the lotion all over your hands and be sure to cover your wrists.
Apply product and massage into your hands until lotion (skincare cream) is evenly distributed.
Skin Care References
  • Hannuksela M. Moisturizers in the prevention of contact dermatitis. Current Problems of Dermatology. 1996;25:214-20.
  • Zimakoff J, Kjelsberg AB, Larsen SO, Holstein B. A multicenter questionnaire investigation of attitudes toward hand hygiene, assessed by the staff in fifteen hospitals in Denmark and Norway. American Journal of Infection Control. 1992;20:58-64.
  • Larson E, Killien M. Factors influencing handwashing behavior of patient care personnel. American Journal of Infection Control. 1982;10:93-9.
  • Kampf G, Ennen J. Regular use of a hand cream can attenuate skin dryness and roughness caused by frequent hand washing. BioMed Central Dermatology. 2006 Feb 13;6:1.