Safety Precautions to Take for Extra Sensitive Skin at Work

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Does your work bring you into close contact with substances that are harmful to your skin? Well, if so, you’ll know how painful it can be to have dry, sore hands as a result of your 9-5… especially if your skin is extra sensitive! Here are a few safety precautions you can take at work.

Learn to recognise the problem

The first safety precaution to take is to read up on what can happen to your skin so that you recognise the serious problem as soon as it develops. ‘Contact dermatitis’ is a common form of occupational skin disease: the skin becomes inflamed as a result of exposure to things like chemicals, toiletries, detergents and even some natural products such as water, oils, and spices from food. For the most part it affects the hands, though it can affect all parts of your body.

You’ll know if you have contact dermatitis because the skin becomes red, dry and itchy. If it gets worse, it’s not unusual to see that your skin becomes cracked or blistered, and it can also crack or swell and become very painful. If you think you might have contact dermatitis, try to limit your exposure to the products that are harming your skin, or see if you can use a substitute to replace the harmful material with a gentler alternative.

Wear gloves to protect your skin

One of the most effective things to do if you can’t avoid substances is to wear protective gloves such as those found on Unigloves to act as a barrier between the irritant and your skin. For example, if you’re a hairdresser using strong chemicals, or find that your hands are soaked in water too often, wear disposable gloves for each client you’re looking after. High quality, professional-grade disposable gloves are available from suppliers such as Brosch Direct, and they’ll enable you to work with chemicals such as bleach and colourants without burning your skin.

Many professionals in various industries use protective gloves of some sort: builders mixing cement or chefs preparing food may need to wear disposable gloves to guard against the substances that are causing their hands to dry, crack and redden, and gardeners will routinely use gardening gloves to protect their hands and nails from pesticides and fertilisers as well as thorns and rocks. See if you can use gloves in your profession and do some research into which ones would suit you best.

Bring your own soap

Another way to protect your sensitive skin at work is to rinse off harmful substances as soon as you’re able to. Clean your hands promptly after handling anything and dry them thoroughly afterwards. If the soap in your workplace is too strong to use frequently throughout the day, bring a gentler soap of your own or ask your supplier to provide an alternative for you and other colleagues with sensitive skin.

It could also be a good idea to bring some moisturiser with you so that you can add moisture back to your skin after every wash, reducing the severity of dryness, reddening and cracking that’s often associated with dermatitis.

Use sunscreen

Finally, remember that dermatitis isn’t the only problem you could be facing at work. If you have an outdoor job that puts your skin in contact with sunlight for much of the day, or even an office or truck-driving role where you’re sat beside a window, apply sunscreen to prevent your skin from burning. This is extra important if your skin is sensitive or fair – damaged skin or prolonged exposure to sunlight can result in skin cancer, and people with fair, highly sensitive skin are at the greatest risk of all.

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