For those who work outside, it may seem a long time since the sunnier days of summer. With winter's short and dark days, many have been bracing themselves for this time of year and the cold and wet weather that comes with it. Working outdoors can complicate skin care, and in winter, looking after the skin can be even harder -- but it is more important than ever. With winter weather, the risks to hands are increased, as is the prevalence of work-related skin disorders. For outdoor workers, the hands are essential to carrying out workplace tasks, and so practising effective skin care is vital.
Skin disorders affect a huge number of workers and, according to skin care experts SC Johnson Professional, more awareness should be raised around this issue. Dry, cracked and sore skin may be a common sight for construction workers, but it shouldn't simply be seen as an occupational hazard or 'part of the job' -- it can lead to serious, long-term skin disorders such as eczema or dermatitis.
Skin issues are particularly prevalent during the winter months as the cold and wet weather can be especially harsh on skin. A porous organ, the skin is constantly losing water vapour via evaporation into the surrounding environment. When the air is cooler and the humidity drops, moisture in the skin tends to evaporate more quickly, leaving it drier -- even more so if it is windy. Coupled with the use of car or van heaters during the winter months, the hands and skin can be left in seriously poor condition. Although necessary for keeping warm on the move, heaters can actually end up accelerating the skin's moisture loss.
Whilst handwashing is key for healthy skin, employees should also be aware of using overly hot water in winter. This can also dehydrate skin, as the heat can strip it of protective oils -- potentially exacerbating a skin disorder even further.
Good skin care in winter is therefore essential. When protecting skin on the hands, the skin care experts at SC Johnson Professional recommend a three-step approach; protection, cleansing and restoring:
A protection cream is always recommended at the start of the working day. Products such as SC Johnson Professional's multi-functional protection creams are effective against a wide range of substances, helping to stop stubborn types of dirt from clinging to the skin. This makes the hands easier to clean and strengthens the skin and is in turn, kinder on the skin in cold weather.
Choose an appropriate hand cleaner. This will help avoid excessive handwashing with soaps that are either too harsh or too mild. SC Johnson Professional's innovative Estesol FX Power Foam has been proven to provide a powerful clean whilst also caring for the skin.
For more ingrained soilings, the Solopol GFX Power Foam should be used. With natural, non-abrasive scrubbers, the gritty foam cleaner powers away heavy industrial soilings such as oil, grease and carbon black.
A moisturising restore cream such as those available from SC Johnson Professional should always be used at the end of the day to help replenish dry or stressed skin. SC Johnson Professional's restore cream is rich in emollients, silicone-free and is clinically-proven to support the restoration of the skin's natural barrier.
A combined approach with all three steps is the best way to protect the skin against harsh winter weather, particularly for those who work outdoors or on the move. An awareness of the risks coupled with the use of effective, caring products can help prevent against work-related skin disorders this season.