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Nurses: Combat dry hands with these 5 tips (& 7 bonus ones)!

If you're a nurse, you know that dry hands are part of the territory. For those who do not know, in a 12-hour shift, a nurse is likely to wash his or her hands a minimum of 50 times. This includes before and after every patient interaction, as well as after coming into contact with any potentially contaminated surfaces. Handwashing is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection, so nurses must maintain good hygiene habits.

medical professional washing hands at sink

Constantly washing your hands can take a toll on your skin, and sometimes it seems like no matter how much lotion you use, your hands just won't retain moisture. But there is hope! Handmade soap and shea butter can help to nourish and protect your skin, even when you have to wash your hands multiple times a day. Here are a few tips for using these products to help your dry hands and a few bonus tips also :

1. Use a gentle handmade soap.

When it comes to handwashing, you don't need anything harsh. Using harsh soap can strip away your natural oils and make your dry hands worse.

Handmade soap is a natural way to cleanse and moisturize your hands. It is also less likely to irritate than commercial, mass-produced soap. When selecting handmade soaps, look for one that contains natural ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Shea butter is also a beneficial and sought-after ingredient that you might find in a charcoal & shea butter soap. These ingredients will help to nourish and protect your hands. As a nurse, you should use handmade soap to wash your hands as it is more gentle and effective in keeping your hands clean, hydrated, and healthy. Having good hand hygiene has become even more important since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need a little pick me up in terms of scent, you may want to select handmade scented soaps. Or if you prefer an all-natural selection, look for a soap with essential oils such as Eucalyptus Tea Tree Handmade Soap.

As you are aware, 20 seconds is the minimum amount of time that you should spend washing your hands with soap and water. It will probably take longer than 20 seconds because you want to make sure to scrub thoroughly all portions of your hand.

2. Don't use hot water.

Hot water can strip the natural oils from your skin, leaving your hands dry and irritated. Over time, this can lead to cracks in the skin that can become infected. In a healthcare setting, it is essential to minimize the risk of infection, so using hot water to wash your hands is not recommended. Instead, use lukewarm water to help to keep your hands from drying out so much.

3. Apply shea butter after washing your hands.

Once you've washed your hands with gentle handmade soap, one of the best ways to protect your hands from the drying effects of repeated handwashing is to use a product with occlusive properties such as shea butter. Shea butter forms a barrier on the skin that helps to lock in moisture and prevent water loss. This natural product comes from the fruit of the shea tree, and it's been used for centuries to moisturize and protect the skin.

Shea butter is especially beneficial for dry hands, as it can help to lock in moisture and keep your skin feeling soft and supple. As a nurse who is constantly washing your hands, shea butter can be a lifesaver! Applying a small amount of shea butter to your hands after washing can help keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness and irritation.

So, after you wash and gently but thoroughly dry your hands, follow up with a layer of shea butter. Pay special attention to the areas between your fingers and around your nails. Make it easy to remember to use it by keeping a small jar of scented shea butter at your station.

If you are not using plain, unrefined shea butter, be sure to look for a whipped scented shea butter that has shea butter as the first ingredient and that also has other skin-loving ingredients such as jojoba oil. Whipped shea butter is a great choice because:

1. Whipped shea butter is easy to use because it is light and airy.

2. It melts quickly and easily into your skin.

3. It doesn't leave a greasy residue.

4. It's easier to rub in than raw unrefined shea butter.

5. You only need a small amount of whipped shea butter to moisturize your hands effectively.

6. You simply massage a small amount into your hands until it's fully absorbed.

7 . it's packed with moisture-replenishing fatty acids and vitamins that keep skin soft and supple.

Apply the shea butter to your hands after washing and throughout the day as needed. Your dry hands will thank you.

jar of whipped shea butter

As a nurse, am I able to use shea butter or my choice of lotion on my hands while I am on the floor?

There is no concrete answer to this question as policies regarding the use of hand lotions by nurses vary from hospital to hospital. Many hospitals allow nurses to use the nurses' choice of lotion or another moisturizer such as shea butter while on the floor or while on duty. Some hospitals may allow usage only during breaks. Other hospitals or practices may only allow the use of hospital-approved lotions. If your hospital does not allow you to use shea butter or your choice of lotion while on the floor after washing your hands, you may check to see whether you are allowed to use your choice of moisturizer while on break. Otherwise, you may always use shea butter at home to help with the process keeping your hands from becoming very dry from all of the handwashing you have to do at work.

Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of infection. However, if your hands are dry and cracked, this can may make it easier for bacteria to enter your body. That's why it's important that if you are a nurse with dry hands you use shea butter at home, even if you can't use it while on shift at work due to your hospital's requirements.

Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that can help to moisturize dry, cracked hands. Using shea butter on your hands will not only help to keep them moisturized, but will also create a barrier between your skin and any potential bacteria.

If you're a nurse with dry hands, don't let hospital restrictions keep you from using shea butter. Be sure to use it at home, and your hands will thank you!

4. Repeat as necessary.

If your hands are still feeling dry after using handmade soap and shea butter, don't hesitate to repeat the process of washing your hands with handmade soap and following up by applying shea butter to your hands as often as necessary. You may see a difference in the condition of your skin within a few days or weeks. Remember, it's better to moisturize your hands too often than not enough!

5. Wear gloves when possible

As a nurse, you already know that you can also help to prevent the spread of infection by wearing gloves. Gloves should be worn when coming into contact with blood, body fluids, or mucous membranes. Gloves should also be worn when cleaning up spills or handling hazardous materials. As you know, you should also remove your gloves before leaving the patient's room and wash your hands after removing your gloves.

nurse putting on gloves

Wearing gloves also helps to protect the hands from being damaged by frequent washing or exposure to harsh cleaning products. One way that you may help keep your hands from getting too dry is by wearing thin cotton gloves under your powdered latex or nitrile gloves if so doing does not interfere with manual dexterity needed for your job as a nurse. Using thin cotton gloves underneath the outer glove layer helps to absorb any sweat and moisture that might build up on the surface of the skin, and prevents the hands from coming into direct contact with harsh chemicals or other irritants. Even if you don't use these two layers of gloves, you will need to go ahead and use your latex or nitrile gloves when possible


As a nurse, you know the importance of cleanliness and preventing the spread of infection. One way to keep your hands clean and moisturized is by using handmade soap and shea butter. Handmade soap is gentle on your skin and will not strip away the natural oils that keep your hands healthy. Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that will keep your hands hydrated and prevent them from drying out. By using these two products and following the tips mentioned, you can keep your hands clean, moisturized, and healthy, despite the constant handwashing. So go ahead and wash your hands as often as you need to, and don't forget to moisturize with shea butter! Your dry hands will thank you.

How can we celebrate the nurses in our lives?

It may be a small gesture, but we all can be part of the solution by helping nurses address the issue they face with their hands drying out from frequent handwashing.

In May, we celebrate National Nurses Month. This is a time to show our appreciation for the hardworking men and women who provide us with vital health care services. Nurses work tirelessly day in and day out, often putting their health at risk to care for others. This May, let's take some time to show our nurses how much we appreciate everything they do for us. One small way to do this is by giving them a gift of scented shea butter to help moisturize their dry hands. Even better, we may choose to do as one State Nurses Association did and give a gift of handmade soap and whipped shea butter. This time of year, many nurses are constantly washing their hands and using sanitizer, which can take a toll on the skin. A little shea butter can go a long way in helping to replenish lost moisture and keep hands soft and healthy. Let's show our nurses some love this May. For that matter, let's show our appreciation any time during the year!


Seven bonus tips for nurses:

1. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water helps to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.

2. Protect hands from the sun.

3. Keep nails short and clean.

4. Don't pick at your cuticles.

5. Avoid contact with irritants

6. If you don't have soap and water to use for washing your hands, use a hand sanitizer whose ingredients consist of a minimum of 60% alcohol.

7. Seek medical attention if necessary if your hands need it.


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