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PSA: Why You Need To Remove Your Rings Before Washing Your Hands

Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Hand with rings
Image by Lyuba Burakova / Stocksy
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File this under the slew of hand-washing tips we've stockpiled in the last year alone. There are myriad reasons your hands may look patchy and itchy of late—too-harsh hand sanitizers, skipping moisturizer, scalding water, and more—but while we're here, let's add another to the docket. If your itchy, scaly hands still won't let up, despite your best efforts, try removing your jewelry before stepping up to the sink.

Here, board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., shares her counsel over TikTok.

Why you should remove your rings before washing up. 

Perhaps you already know to shed your jewelry before washing your face; after all, as holistic esthetician Kimberly Yap Tan once demonstrated in a video with mbg, those accessories can drag and pull at your delicate skin, face and hands alike. You also don't want to scrub your hands with bejeweled fingers—albeit for a slightly different reason. 

As Park explains in her video, those with dyshidrotic eczema may be experiencing their fair share of itchy flare-ups. "This is a very irritating rash that can occur when your hands or your feet are exposed to water a lot," she notes. While other allergens can surely trigger a reaction, "water is the major irritant." Lo and behold, your hands are likely exposed to more water than usual, as you find yourself washing your hands frequently. That said, Park recommends drying your hands completely after scrubbing to make sure water doesn't linger on your skin and cause irritation.

Here's where your jewelry comes in: When you wear rings, water can become trapped under the metal (which happens to be another irritant, according to the National Eczema Association), linger in those crevices, and exacerbate the flare. So if your fingers are itchier and scalier than usual (particularly under those rings), Park suggests removing the jewels, making sure your skin is completely toweled off, and applying a hand cream immediately after washing. 

The takeaway. 

It's no secret you're washing your hands more than ever—so it's important to mind the little intricacies that come with frequent faucet runs. We've discussed at length the many ways to save your scaly paws, so feel free to add this little tip to the handbook. 

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Jamie Schneider author page.
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.