Products and services

Linking consumer research with wellbeing and skin care

For many manual or maintenance workers, physical health is often closely monitored when it comes to health and safety. Mental health and wellbeing however is an important issue and something that should be taken seriously by both employers and employees. Factors such as job insecurity, isolation, demanding hours and a poor work-life balance are all identified as potentially contributing to poor wellbeing. Shockingly, it was reported last year for example that the risk of suicide is 1.6 times higher than the UK average for those in the construction sector, according to the Office of National Statistics. 

When it comes to self-care, simple changes can make huge differences. SC Johnson Professional recently interviewed manual workers with experience of occupational skin disorders (OSDs). 65-year-old printer Geoff explained how one simple change could make a huge impact on his mental health: "It was so severe that I couldn’t grip. Not being able to make a cup of tea. Not being able to use a knife and fork properly. All these things affect the mental state of someone."

Perhaps a familiar sight for manual or maintenance workers – sore, cracked, itchy or swollen hands. Continued contact with unpleasant contaminants, the use of disposable gloves and tough work in damp or outdoor conditions mean that skin disorders can be particularly common.

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, OSDs are the second most-common work-related health problem in Europe. Frequent handwashing with heavy duty products or inappropriate formulations can lead to OSDs that can, according to the latest research in Contact Dermatitis, cost employers £6,000 per case reported. A very serious, but often unseen issue that can impact both the individual, physically and mentally, but also the success of a business as a whole. In a worst-case scenario, a serious skin disorder could even necessitate a change of career.


Geoff added: "It affects you mentally. It’s very demoralising." It goes without saying that physical and mental health are connected for these workers.

In their series of interviews, SC Johnson Professional found that more information about skin care was needed. Jason, a 41-year-old labourer said: "There’s a lot more that could be done. There’s not a lot of information out there."

Exemplifying how poor skin condition can affect work rate, 54-year-old warehouse worker Michael commented: "If your hands are sore it does affect your grip on a box – you try to hold it in a different way, where you won’t feel any pain.

"If you have infections on your hand you have to be very careful – you can’t give a baby a dummy."

Whilst skin care may initially seem like a relatively minor issue when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, it is clear that small but regular improvements of skin condition can have significant impacts. As Jason said, more information is needed when it comes to good quality skin care, and Lee added ‘it’s not until later in life, that you find out that these things can actually be pretty detrimental’.

These employees face a unique skin care challenge, therefore skin care can in turn be a complicated issue; working conditions mean they’re exposed to a wide range of dirt levels. Skin care experts SC Johnson Professional carried out further research to look into this, and found that many workers were using outdated skin care products that were not fit for purpose in their working environment – leading to the innovation and launch of the new Power Foams range, a ground-breaking product range in terms of modern industrial skin care.

The only hand cleaners proven to give workers ‘Xxtra Power’ and ’Xxtra Care’, Power Foams are unique in providing a suitable skin care solution for workers so often affected by poor skin condition. One small change that could have a huge impact on wellbeing.

For more information head to the SC Johnson Professional website here.


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