With most of us being much more vigilant in handwashing nowadays and the weather beginning to get colder, it might be a struggle to keep your hands from drying out, perhaps even cracking. Handwashing is important to prevent spreading disease, but it’s known to strip moisture and natural oils from our skin as well. This creates another problem of weakening one of our most important barriers to bacteria and viruses, our skin. This occurs because the ingredients in most hand soaps are made to break down the fatty compounds that generally make up the cell membrane or envelope of unwanted bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, our cell membranes are also made of similar fatty compounds as are the natural oils our skin produces as a protective layer.
One of the best ways to help restore your skin and keep it healthy in spite of frequent handwashing is to apply lotion often to replenish the oils that were washed away. There are some very strong moisturizers such as petroleum jelly that lock moisture into your skin. However, these types of moisturizers tend to stay on your skin (rather than being absorbed fully) and be transferred to whatever you touch. There may also be some health concerns regarding long-term use.
MSM lotions provide oils (usually plant-based, as in the case of Griffin Remedy’s lotions) to replenish the oils stripped from the skin as well as the MSM itself to reduce inflammation. Some also use glycerin to help lock in the moisture. MSM is an important ingredient because some ingredients common in hand soaps, such as fragrances, can irritate and inflame your skin. Other irritants you encounter may also have less impact by using MSM topically. MSM may also strengthen keratin, an important protein present in the skin, making your skin stronger overall.
Wishing you a safe fall and winter,
Murcia, J. (2020, March 13). COVID-19: How to care for dry hands after washing them so much. UCLA Health. https://www.uclahealth.org/covid-19-how-to-care-for-dry-hands-after-washing-them-so-much
Kubala, J. (2018, May 21). 8 Science-backed benefits of MSM supplements. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/msm-supplements#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8