Can Adding Moisturizer to Hand Soaps Help Fight Skin Irritation from Frequent Handwashing?

Soap manufacturers join to discuss what kind of moisturizers can be included in hand soaps.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Handwashing is crucial to preventing germ spread in any healthcare facility. However, frequent washing can lead to dry and irritated skin. To combat this, combining hand soaps with moisturizers can be done to keep the staff’s hands in good condition. In this manufacturer roundtable, Healthcare Facilities Today speaks to leading soap manufacturers about including moisturizers in hand soaps to mend skin irritation for the staff. 

Given how often medical staff have to wash their hands, would including moisturizer in hand soap alleviate skin irritation? 

“For repeated hand washing, soaps that contain natural moisturizing ingredients like aloe or vitamin E or are enhanced with emollients and humectants, are good options. These ingredients help nourish the skin as well as soothe and maintain skin’s natural moisture. Getting into the habit of using a rich, thick cream at the end of the workday will assist with hand dryness as well. Cream containing lanolin and allantoin help condition even the driest skin.” 

— Brandon Jones, vice president of sales and marketing, Kutol Products   

“Choosing a well-formulated soap is foundational to any healthcare facility’s infection control program. Understanding this, as the market leader in healthcare hand hygiene, GOJO led the first real soap formulation innovation since the development of Foam products when we launched the PURELL Brand HEALTHY SOAP with CLEAN RELEASE Technology in 2017. 

Because of the impact that soap formulation can have on the skin, GOJO scientists teamed with a leading dermatologist to identify the most common causes of severe skin irritation – harsh preservatives, antibacterial ingredients, and fragrance – in healthcare hand soaps. Understanding this, GOJO took the opportunity to formulate a new soap designed specifically for dry and sensitive skin and launched our hypoallergenic CLEAN RELEASE technology soap.” 

— Jaimee Rosenthal, director of U.S. healthcare markets, GOJO Industries   

“Not enough emphasis is placed on the skin health of healthcare workers (HCWs), whose hands are their most important tool. Occupational dermatitis is a significant problem, and the SHEA compendium recommends involving all HCW in primary prevention of occupational dermatitis. Healthcare facilities should provide readily accessible, facility-approved lotions/moisturizers that are compatible with other hand hygiene products and gloves. Further, the chosen soap and sanitizer should be of high quality and provide the maximum skin benefit possible.” 

— Megan J. DiGiorgio, senior clinical manager, GOJO Industries 

Jeff Wardon, Jr. Is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

June 2, 2023

Topic Area: Infection Control

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