Frequent use of sanitisers, soaps may cause dermatitis

Salalah: There has already been debate on the use of sanitisers, handwash and gloves as defence against the COVID-19. Everyone is talking about the standards of this stuff as a foolproof measure against the highly contagious virus.

Most of the experts agree on more than 60 per cent alcohol base for a standard sanitiser, whereas some standard is being discussed about the quality of gloves and handwashes available in the market.

A section of dermatologists, however, is talking about sanitisers and handwashes, which according to them, may cause skin irritation or hand eczema if used too frequently. The issue is all over the Internet with lots of advice on how to manage skincare while keeping safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Faiza Ahmed Alraaie, Senior Dermatology Consultant at the Ministry of Health, agreed with the assumption that frequent use of soaps and sanitisers can lead to eczema especially among those who are prone to it and have family history.

“But you cannot live without sanitisers and handwashes in this time of the pandemic. You have to be careful about your skin at the same time. If there is any sign of irritation, dryness, or etching you have to immediately identify the reason – whether it is the sanitiser or the soap that is irritating the skin. In such cases, it is advisable to stop regular sanitisers and soaps and switch to hypoallergenic, which are specific types made for people who are easily allergic to most chemicals and ingredients found in regular hand cleaning products.”

Mostly the producers of hand hygiene products take care of this aspect of skincare, but in some individuals, the skin is either too sensitive or prone to skin problems. “They have to be careful because once the skin disorder settles it takes time to go away in some cases. It depends on the type and level of skin infection.”

She suggested baby soaps as an alternative for those who have sensitive skin.

Dr Faiza warned against the use of latex gloves for those who are prone to any kind of eczema. “If at all a person prone to eczema has to wear gloves, he should put plastic or cloth gloves and above that latex gloves can be used,” she said and added that latex gloves are known factors of aggravating dermatitis among those who are prone to it.