We’re Washing Our Hands More Often. Here Are 5 Tips to Keep Them From Getting Dry.

The co-founder of DC nail salon group Varnish Lane shares her best tips.


Besides the dropping stock market, empty airplanes, and working from home, there’s another side effect of COVID-19: really, really dry hands.

Most folks are washing their hands and using hand sanitizer more frequently, which can leave your hands feeling cracked and rough. You probably already know this, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer in-between washes.

But, while you’re keeping yourself healthy with said hand-washing, what steps can you take to keep your skin healthy, too?

Lauren Dunne, the co-founder and CEO of the DC nail salon group Varnish Lane, has built a business out of dealing with hands. Here, she shares her top five tips for keeping your hands moisturized and healthy as you frequently wash them.

Use gloves when cleaning or washing dishes. 

“Water actually strips your skin of its natural oils and can cause your skin to become waterlogged,” says Dunne. “[This] can prevent your skin from absorbing any moisturizing products.” So glove up when washing dishes and cleaning the house—the chemicals in products like Lysol wipes can also dry out the skin, too, she says.

Use warm water—not hot water—when washing your hands.

“Our skin has a protective barrier to lock in moisture,” says Dunne, “however, using extremely hot water strips your skin of its natural oil protective layer.”

Don’t use hand lotion just after washing your hands—use it after applying hand sanitizer, too. 

Since hand sanitizer is made mostly of alcohol, it can dry out your hands when used repeatedly, says Dunne. Keep a small bottle of hand lotion with you, and get in the habit of applying it after you use hand sanitizer (just wait for the sanitizer to dry first).

Use a cuticle oil. 

It’s not just your hands that will dry out with all this washing—it can affect your nails and cuticles, too, says Dunne. She suggests keeping a cuticle oil on your desk, in your bag, or next to your sink and applying it regularly.

Moisturize your hands before you go to sleep.

Putting lotion or oil on your hands will help them heal overnight, says Dunne. But just be sure to let the product soak in before you touch your sheets, as cotton can absorb the oil off your hands before it’s able to soak into your skin.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.