Early last month when the community threat of COVID-19 became a reality, my patients began asking questions about skin care products to use and my thoughts on the best skin care practices needed to prevent infection and to maintain skin health.
In this blog, I share a few simple tips and observations about how to keep your skin healthy while learning to live with COVID-19. As we all adjust and cope during this uncertain time, it’s more important than ever to stay calm and have ready access to accurate, helpful information.
Below are my recent observations:
- If you have sheltered in place for the past 2 weeks, you are feeling completely healthy, and you do not have a household member at high risk for COVID-19 exposure (such as a healthcare worker, transit or emergency personnel) stop spraying disinfectant everywhere in the house every day. The virus is likely not going to spontaneously generate in your home and I have been seeing and treating many patients with itchy rashes over the face, eyelids and neck due to contact exposure to aerosolized disinfectants such as Lysol. Especially computer keyboards and other digital devices need to be wiped down again with a clean cloth after treating with a disinfectant.
- Handwashing is important, but soap and hand sanitizer can cause raw, itchy hands— especially on the backs (not so much the palms) of the hands. Again, be selective about your cleansers. All soaps are drying and can be irritating on already chapped hands. If you are noticing your hands are dry and chapped, stop what you’re using now. My favorite hand and face cleanser is Toleriane Dermocleanser by LaRoche Posay. It can be used in all skin types and is not irritating. If you already have dry, irritated hands, this is a good alternative to the hand sanitizer and whatever soap you’re using now. Remember the length of time you wash—at least 20 seconds-is just as important. After drying hands, Vaseline (not Aquaphor which contains lanolin and may cause allergy) may be applied to irritated patches as needed.
- While sheltering in place, try to maintain a healthy diet and exercise to keep skin, mind and body well. Acne may flare during times of stress such as this (due to hormonal changes), so keeping a daily routine with an adequate sleep schedule is important.
I hope these few simple skin recommendations will help you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe.
The Menkes Clinic is open to evaluate and treat new and established patients via teledermatology. If you have more questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Menkes, Dr. Soohoo, or Dr. Wang, please call (650) 962-4600 or schedule an appointment online.
– Lillian Soohoo MD, Board Certified Dermatologist