Q. My husband worries about colds because he’s a bank teller. He interacts with hundreds of people a day and handles a lot of germ-laden money. Consequently, he washes his hands a lot and has very dry skin and nails. He also suffers from seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, which is very embarrassing for him.
He buys a lot of hand cream and special dandruff shampoo and complains about how much they cost and how they smell. He can’t seem to find anything he really likes. Any suggestions?
A. Soap and water can dry out skin. He may want to consider an alcohol-based hand cleanser with an effective moisturizer.
For bad dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, Nizoral shampoo (ketoconazole) is very effective. It does not require a prescription as it once did and does not smell like the tar-based dandruff shampoos. You can learn more from our Guide to Hair and Nail Care.
Cost-effective moisturizers and nail conditioners that don’t smell strongly are also available. Almond or olive oil works well to moisturize dry nails. Rubbing the oil in around the cuticles can soften them and even strengthen the nails.
Helping Dry Skin
We are partial to unscented Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream for dry skin, though other brands such as LacHydrin or Aquaphor can also be helpful. Our Guide to Skin Care and Treatment has more details on these and other approaches. Dermatologists usually recommend patting, not rubbing, skin dry after washing and applying moisturizer while the skin is still slightly damp, to seal the moisture in.
If hand washing isn’t quite enough to keep colds away, your husband might also benefit from the tips in our Guide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu on preventing and treating these viral infections.