Coronavirus, Compromise and Contact Allergies

Let’s just be 100% honest here, the threat of a large scale outbreak of any kind is scary. I walked into Target over the weekend to see Bleach and Clorox on a huge front display, half of which was wiped out. As a person who is highly allergic to many of these products due to contact allergies and severe sensitivities I felt a little hopeless. I’ve spent the last few days deep diving into articles about the effectiveness of hand sanitizers (commercial and DIY) and hand washing through the lens of a possible pandemic. I ended up making a plan of compromise for myself that keeps my skin from peeling off and also keeps me safe. This is a four part plan.

Part One: 

BYOS (Bring Your Own Soap) 

Part Two:

S%$! someone coughed

Part Three:

“This isn’t ideal but I like rubbing my eye without the fear of death”

Part Four:

“I don’t want my hands to look like tree stumps” 

 

Part One: 

BYOS (Bring Your Own Soap) 

I am allergic to almost all public restroom soaps. I have long carried Good JuJu Herbal Soap in my purse, in my car, etc. etc.  I have a few tips for you. 

Cut the bar soap into fourths. I either carry it in a tiny reusable container OR a soap pouch.  It dries the soap much quicker and you don’t have to worry about the soap staying wet. You also can cut the 1/4 bar into tiny little pieces and use each piece as a single wash.

My plan is to wash my hands with Good JuJu soap in almost all situations still.

Hot water and 20 seconds of high friction hand washing is the best practice. 

Part Two:

S%$! someone coughed

Something that I can not tolerate and have a full body reaction to is Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer. Which feels wrong because how can a tiny pink bottle with a sparkle holder and smells of ~*pink sand coconuts*~ be public enemy #1 for me? Nevertheless Laureth 4 and Laureth 23 (along with a long list of chemicals and fragrance blends) send my body into panic mode. If you have to choose between all commercial sanitizers I encourage you to at least ditch the fragranced ones but that’s another blog for another day.   

It’s pretty easy to make your own hand sanitizer but it’s important to note two things, even though it’s DIY/natural doesn’t mean it’s not going to be drying. This is where part of the compromise comes in. For all my customers with hand eczema, I see you and I'm so sorry there isn’t some magic version of hand sanitizers that works and isn’t very drying. Making your own does give you a little more flexibility on this because you are able to add in aloe, vitamin E or glycerin but to actually work the sanitizer HAS TO BE at least 60% alcohol in order to be an effective disinfectant. Here is the recipe I like with the origin site linked so you can read more if you like.

DIY Handsanitizer

Combine in a bowl:

⅔-cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol)

⅓-cup aloe vera gel.

Stir and fill into bottle.

*You can add a few drops of essential oils for scent along with vitamin E oil or glycerin to make it less drying.


I plan on using my hand sanitizer 2-3 times when i’m out and about running errands.

Part Three:

“This isn’t ideal but I like rubbing my eye without the fear of death, so for good measure, here goes nothing.”:

I’ve done a deep dive many many times into studies of anti-bacterial soaps with triclosan and regular bar soap. Here are some basics:

Anti-bacterial soaps can create super-bugs. 

Anti-bacterial soaps contain  triclosan or triclocarban, which are shown to be problematic to our overall health with long term repeated use. 

As sited here in a Harvard study it really comes down to HOW you wash your hands vs what soap you use. 

“In the biggest study of its kind, researchers recruited about 240 households in upper Manhattan to participate in a "real-world" hand washing study. Half were randomized to use 0.2% triclosan soap; half, to plain bar soap. After a year, the researchers tested the hands of the primary caregivers in the households. The result: no statistically significant difference between antibacterial and plain-soap households.”

Basically, the effectiveness and safety is the same between natural bar soap and commercial liquid soap, so why not choose the one that’s more eco friendly and better your health/skin?

If you feel like once-twice a day during this outbreak you want to really really scrub with an anti-bacterial commercial soap, I say go for it. You should not feel bad about implementing what makes you or your family feel protected during this scary time. I have decided if the outbreak gets worse I will start chopping up Benadryl (#allergylife I have a system for this as well) and giving my hands one good precautionary cleaning a day on top of using Good JuJu and hand sanitizer.

Part Four:

“I don’t want my hands to look like tree stumps” 

aka RECOVERY:

All of these extra things will be tough on your hands. Not only is it drying it will also put you at risk for a dermatitis flare which can then leave you in a downward spiral of broken skin leaving you at a high risk for all things. I recommend applying the Essential Salve  on your hands at night or throughout the day. I also suggest if you are having a particularly hard time to buy a small jar of organic shea butter and double up on application. The Essential Slave has organic shea butter in it but it never hurts to add in a layer of plain shea butter first.

I would apply shea butter on the skin and then the Essential Slave on top to seal in the moisture. Shea butter is going to deeply hydrate, perilla seed oil is going to restore the skin barrier and beeswax is going to provide a breathable barrier. If you can stand it my last suggestion would be to try and sleep in gloves for some extra protection.

 

I know things are scary right now and the extra pressure of caring for your skin’s health on top can feel like a lot but if you have any questions concerning your skin please email me at Judith@goodjujuherbal.com, I’m always happy to help.
Big hugs, 
Judith

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