Look After Your Skin

It is easy to forget that your skin is one of your bodya��s organs and that it is important to look after it.

Dermatitis develops when your skin has been injured, and the medical description is a�?irritant contact dermatitisa��.A� Signs of dermatitis include redness of the skin, blisters, scales or crusts.A�Dermatitis can develop within hours if your skin has been in contact with a strong chemical, or it can develop over months if the irritant substance is only mild. However, the point to remember is that even mild substances can cause skin problems.

If your hands are in contact with substances in your workplace then your manager should ensure that there are safe practices to follow to ensure that your skin remains healthy.A� It is not a safe work practice for there to be gloves and hand creams in a cupboard, and the workers help themselves to the gloves and hand creams whenever they have time.A�The safety laws, such as the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, place strict obligations on companies to, for example, provide information and instructions to staff on how to properly use hand creams and gloves.A�Also, the skin care products should be properly looked after to avoid contamination and the risk of cross infection.

It is important to adequately protect your hands in the first place to avoid the situation of a vicious circle developing because once you have sore hands you are at more risk of contracting infections, or the dermatitis becoming chronic.A� If you have sore dry hands then this is a disincentive to use antiseptics or soaps or barrier creams to try and avoid your sore skin being more painful.A�However, bacteria will enter the broken skin that is at an increased risk of infection and the dermatitis may become more severe.

People who come into contact with chemicals are most at risk of developing dermatitis, and people whose occupation involves wet work where there hands are frequently being washed and repeatedly in contact with substances.A�For example, nurses, healthcare workers, cleaners, kitchen assistants, bakers, factory workers, food processing operatives, hairdressers and beauty therapists. Dermatitis is a significant occupational health problem throughout Europe, and, for instance, a study of trainee hairdressers in Germany found that 36% of the trainees developed sore hands during their apprenticeships.