How to Protect Hands from Washing Dishes

Lauren asked: How do I protect my hands while washing dishes? I got a supplemental part time job in the school kitchen, and I was dishes a lot. Although I use rubber gloves, mu hands are very cracked. How can I protect them? I even tried using some Vaseline before I put on the gloves, but it does not help. Mu hands are burning. Thank you for your information.

Hot water and frequent washings can cause painful cracking and raw skin on hands. Hand washing may be unavoidable, but you can take a few steps to prevent the worst effects of repeated hot water exposure if you keep these tips in mind. The key is to treat skin all day long, not just before or after dish washing.

You Will Need:

  • Fragrance Free Moisturizer
  • Long, heavy duty dish gloves

Steps to Protect Hands:

  1. Use a fragrance-free moisturizer as soon as you wake up in the morning. Wait about five minutes after your initial application and reapply. Dry hands absorb moisture remarkably fast.
  2. When you wash your hands, dry thoroughly and reapply moisturizer.
  3. When washing dishes, use long, heavy duty dish gloves. Thicker, longer gloves reduce the opportunity for water to find a way into the gloves and irritate skin.
  4. If possible, avoid exposure to extremely hot water.
  5. For extra moisturizing, apply a thick layer of lotion and wear gloves overnight. Use breathable knit gloves so your hands will not sweat, as moisture from sweating can further irritate skin.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If redness and cracking do not improve within a few days, you might need to see a physician. Dry, cracked skin is prone to infection.
  • Avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol in them. The alcohol is more drying than washing with soap and water.
  • Use a moisturizing soap for hand washing.

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