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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

Clean Hands without Cracked Skin: Beyond Hand Washing

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Natural Steps: Hand Washing + Moisturizing

We’re all washing our hands a lot these days. 

It’s a must. But it can also leave our skin irritated and dry. In some cases, your skin might even start to crack. Not fun!

As a RN, I have a lot of experience with excessive hand washing. 

In the hospital, we washed our hands many times a day for twenty seconds at a minimum, making sure to scrub every skin surface and under our nails. The soap we used was strong and germicidal. It left my hands irritated, itching, and even cracked. Not only was it painful—it made my skin more vulnerable to infections… meaning I had to wash my hands all the more often!

It was a necessary, but uncomfortable cycle.

Even wearing gloves didn’t offer much relief. Gloves protected my skin from germs, but left my hands broken out and more irritated.

I want to share ways to keep your hands clean, without sacrificing the health and comfort of your skin.

Keeping your hands clean and healthy is about more than just hand washing.

It’s really a two-step process:

    1. Washing your hands often with gentle soap and water
    2. Moisturizing your hands to nurture and protect your skin

Let’s look at effective essential oil recipes for each step!

Step 1: Wash Your Hands!

You don’t need to use hospital-grade germicidal soap to keep your hands clean in your home!

Plain soap and water is very effective! However, even basic store-bought soap can be rough on your hands if you’re washing many times a day.

Making your own foaming hand soaps ARE effective, fun and gentle.

I like foam hand soaps made of liquid castile soap.

Here’s a recipe made in a 50 ml travel-sized foam soap container, so you can take it on the go and wash your hands anytime you need. 

Take it in your car along with a bottle of water—even if you’re just going to the grocery store. When you get out of the store, you can wash your hands right there in the parking lot! Just wet your hands, use your foam soap, and rinse them off. Follow it up with your moisturizer. (You’ll find DIY recipes for that below!)

And remember… don’t touch your face until after thoroughly washing your hands.

Deep Lavender Pine Foam Soap

  • 40 ml Castile soap
  • 5 ml Jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 8 drops Scotch Pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
  • 5 drops Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin)

We’re making this blend in a 50 ml foam soap bottle. The castile soap and jojoba won’t fill it all the way up, which is great—the foam pump is in the top of the bottle, and it takes up a little space.

Simply combine the castile soap and jojoba in the bottle, and add the essential oils. Tighten the lid, and shake gently. Now you have a luscious, all natural foam soap for hand washing anytime, anywhere!

The castile soap I use is a very gentle recipe. (You can find it at Aromatics International.) And adding jojoba makes this soap extra moisturizing and protective. The soap itself does a great job of washing contaminants off your hands, and the essential oils add even more germ-reducing effects, and skin-friendly benefits.

deep lavender pine foam soap

Let’s make a kid-friendly version of this soap too. Little hands like to touch everything, but children’s skin tends to be very sensitive. We don’t want them getting cracked and painful with all that washing!

Kids’ Version

We’ll keep the castile soap and jojoba the same, and simply lower the essential oil drop counts.

  • 40 ml Castile soap
  • 5 ml Jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 3 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 3 drops Scotch Pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
  • 1 drop Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin)

Step 2: Moisturize Your Hands!

Now that we’ve washed our hands fresh and clean, let’s moisturize our skin, so we can stay comfortable and even more protected.

The great thing about making your own moisturizer is, you can customize it! 

Do you like light, silky lotions? Or heavier butters? Or even a thick, firm salve? (Salves are great for cracked knuckles!) Choose what’s right for your skin.

You can also add essential oils for different effects. Add oils to reduce germs even further, to nourish your skin, or to calm your heart during stressful times. Your custom moisturizer can become a good friend during these times!

I’ll give you a recipe here, and then share a few links for different recipes you might have fun with.

This recipe comes from our post, How to Use Myrrh Essential Oil: 3 Therapeutic Ways.

It’s a simple blend of jojoba and Myrrh essential oil. 

Myrrh, like other essential oil distilled from resins, is deeply nourishing and protective of skin, while helping to reduce germs. The aroma of Myrrh combined with warm vanilla is also comforting—like it’s wrapping you in a warm hug!

Myrrh & Vanilla Skin Care Oil

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Vanilla-infused jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 12 drops Myrrh essential oil (Commiphora myrrha)

Make this blend in either a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle, or PET plastic bottle. If you’re going to take your moisturizer on the go, I suggest using PET plastic so you don’t have to worry about the glass shattering if you accidentally drop the bottle. (PET plastic is inert and non-reactive. It won’t leach into your blend!)

Carry your skin care oil with you and use it often. It really helps!

myrhh and vanilla skin care oil

Other Moisturizer Blends You Might Love!

Light, Fast-Absorbing Lotions

These recipes from Aromatics International are light, silky lotions. They absorb quickly, but you may have to use them more often.

Rich, Thick Hand Butters

Prefer a denser hand butter that leaves your hands deeply moisturized for a longer period? Try a luxurious butter!

Firm Hand Salves

When your hands need urgent care, protect the driest, most painful areas with a soothing salve.

There you have it!

Natural recipes to customize your own 2-step hand washing process, so you can keep your hands clean without irritating your skin.

Thank you for seeking out this information. It’s never been more apparent that what we do for ourselves, we do for one another. Keeping your hands clean helps not only you and your family—it helps all of us. 

And we want you to feel comforted and cared for in return.

Free Webinar: How to Use Essential Oils in Your Everyday Life

Karen serves as Co-Director of Education at Aromahead Institute, where she works closely with students and helps them earn aromatherapy certification. Karen’s strong values for healthcare, education, and sustainable practices have guided her entire career, and remain the principles that shape her daily activities at Aromahead. Karen loves sharing her knowledge of essential oils and how they can enhance the beauty of ones’ journey through life and has authored numerous articles and guides on the safe and effective therapeutic uses of essential oils. In Karen’s free time, she can be found hiking amongst nature, reading, and enjoying her family.

Topics: foam soap, foam soap essential oils, moisturizer with essential oils, essential oils for kids, salve for moisturizing, natural skincare, skincare with essential oils, castile soap, hand moisturizer, hand butters, moisturizing lotions

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