Coronavirus Concerns: A Dermatopathologist Answers Beauty & Skin-Care Questions Associated With the Coronavirus Pandemic by Dr. Gretchen Frieling

Skin Care
4 years ago

Coronavirus Concerns: A Dermatopathologist Answers Beauty & Skin-Care Questions Associated With the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has made us think about things we normally don't worry about, even in regards to beauty. Here are some questions that skin-care experts are addressing during the virus outbreak:

Q. How can you keep your hands moisturized when using hand sanitizer frequently?

Some doctors wash their hands as much as 100 times a day on a “normal day” and not all of them have dry hands. Surprisingly, alcohol-based hand sanitizers irritate hands less than soap. After you have washed your hands for the CDC recommended 20 seconds (count the happy birthday song) pat your hands dry. Don’t rub, this can irritate the skin. Leave your skin just slightly damp and then apply a moisturizer that is free of ingredients than can dry the skin. During this time when the goal is strictly moisture and not anti-aging avoid retinol or other anti-aging serums, fragrances or allergens. After washing hands, oil-based creams are more effective.

Since you will be washing your hands numerous times a day until the coronavirus is under control, nighttime is your best time to restore your hands for the most number of consecutive hours. Use Vaseline, which is extremely nourishing and seals in moisture. Just be sure to wash it off in the morning.

Q. Is it safe to try on makeup at a store like Sephora?

In a word: no. Just two days ago one Ulta Beauty employee told the media outlet Insider she finds it "astonishing" how many people are willing to use product testers in the store she works at. A number of beauty retailers don’t seem to be removing testers from their displays or eliminating mini-makeovers where the same brushes and products are being used on the same customers.

Costco has revoked handing out food samples, which is much less risky than sampling a lipstick that 50 other people have already dipped into that same day! The only item that is safe to try are fragrances that are sprayed from a sealed bottle. Roll-on fragrances, or any other kind that involves skin-to-skin contact, are not safe. Just because a beauty retailer offers samples does not make it safe and they are not safe during this time.

Q. What nail length is most sanitary?

Longer nails during an outbreak are not the ideal. Longer nails will collect more germs and bacteria. Many people have heard about the 20-second rule for hand washing, but if you have long nails, more time would have to be allotted to cleaning the underside. A healthy and reasonable nail length would be above the fingertips where you would be able to clean them but keep them from gathering excessive amounts of germs.

Q. Does washing your face more frequently help to ward off germs from the virus?

Unlike your hands, which you should be washing frequently during the coronavirus pandemic, we don’t touch surfaces with our faces. The risk comes when we don’t wash our hands and we touch our hands to our face.

Unless you are exposed to someone sneezing and coughing directly into your face (which you should not be) then washing your face twice a day should suffice. If you wish your face to excess, it can lead to too much oil production (acne) or irritation. Bottom line: Only touch clean hands to your face. 

The information on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

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Great info. Short nails for me!
Elisa Schmitz
This is so helpful. I have noticed my hands are so much dryer now, between all the hand washing and hand sanitizer. Thank you for these really helpful tips, Dr. Gretchen Frieling !

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