Builders can battle through the cold with TOUGH by Swarfega.
As many professional tradespeople will know, working with common workplace abrasive building materials and contaminants, such as oil and grease can take its toll on the skin. Many in the workplace resort to disposable gloves to protect the hands, but these in turn come with their own problems, and the cold and wet weather we experience during the winter months only increases the risks to the hands. Redness, soreness and even occupational skin disorders (OSDs) such as dermatitis are more prevalent at this time of year and can seriously affect the skin, proving that skin care is a growing issue for those who work with their hands.
If the skin isn’t adequately protected at work, it can seriously hamper productivity, particularly during the winter months. Also, developing an OSD can affect workers’ morale, reduce their earnings and have a negative impact on those around them – including friends and family.
With the recent launch of the TOUGH by Swarfega range to celebrate the skin care expert’s 70th birthday, a new product is now being added to the range to help tackle this problem. TOUGH Gel Moisturiser is designed to be used as an after-work cream for general use, to maintain the skin’s natural barrier function, and prevent skin drying out – which can be a potentially serious health issue when the temperatures drop.
Why winter is harsh on the skin
The winter months in the UK can be particularly cold and wet – last winter’s Beast from the East will be a hard one to forget! Weather such as this can be particularly harsh on the skin – in fact, the skin loses 25 per cent of its ability to hold moisture during winter. As a porous barrier, the skin constantly loses water through evaporation.
When humidity levels drop, the air becomes colder and drier, and moisture in the skin tends to evaporate more quickly. This is what makes the skin feel tight and dry! Windy conditions can also increase water loss, which is bad news for outdoor workers – and all of us reach for the car or van heaters during colder months, but direct heat blowing on to the skin has the same drying effect. And the same goes for hand dryers. Wrapping up with extra layers is necessary for those working outdoors or on the move – but this can also restrict ventilation around the skin.
As a barrier, the skin’s job is to protect the body by keeping out allergens and other germs, but as it becomes drier, it provides a potential opening for bacteria and irritants – a serious problem for tradespeople, who come into contact with such contaminants on a daily basis. All of this means that moisturisers are even more important at this time of year.
How to protect the skin
The new addition of Gel Moisturiser is ideal timing for the winter months; easily absorbed, the gel can be used on the hands as well as the face, which are the most commonly-exposed areas, and replenishes the skin after cleaning. However, the best approach to skin care during winter is a combined one. A 3-step system is recommended; protecting before work, cleansing during work, and restoring after work.
When protecting skin on the hands, the Gel Moisturiser is best used alongside the Protection Cream as the first step, and then a carefully matched hand cleaner. The Protection Cream before work helps to make the skin easier to clean and helps to strengthen the upper layer of the skin, vital when battling the elements. The cream’s quick absorption and non-greasy after-feel also helps with gripping tools, essential when working with the hands.
Protecting the skin before getting to work also means that a gentler hand cleaner is required during a shift, which is in turn kinder on the skin in harsh weather. And don’t be tempted to warm up with hot water when washing the hands – the combination of heat and soaking can end up damaging the surface of the skin further and stripping it of natural oils.
Swarfega recommend an approach where Protection Cream is applied to clean hands before each work period. When using disposable gloves, Protection Cream should be applied before each fresh pair. After washing, apply Gel Moisturiser to effectively hydrate the skin and replenish any lost moisture, keeping skin healthy and allowing it to continue to function as a protective barrier. The combined use of all three products is the best way to protect the skin against harsh winter weather.