You’ve heard it time and time again: Wash your hands frequently to fend off nasty bugs and germs, especially if you work in a hospital or other health-care facility. But those squeaky-clean hands can make you more susceptible to an itchy, flaky skin condition known as hand eczema or hand dermatitis, which is especially common among health-care workers. Now a new report from Denmark looks at exactly what practices may be causing the flakiness and redness of eczema.
In the study, over 2,000 health-care workers including doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and clinical technicians answered a questionnaire about their handwashing habits both at home and at work. The researchers found a definite link between frequency of handwashing and eczema: About 50 percent of the respondents who had hand eczema washed their hands more than 10 times a day while at work, compared with 43 percent of those without eczema.