Good skin health is vital for infection prevention
22 May 2020
Rachel Stephenson, trade marketing manager at GOJO Industries-Europe provides insight and advice on skin health.
The message that good hand hygiene is a key infection prevention measure has been central to the World Health Organization’s advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears to be having an impact on the British public - a recent YouGov study showed that the number of people in the UK who had reported increasing their personal hygiene levels had gone up by 114% from the start of March 2020.
This is great news, but for many it has brought a different hazard: skin irritation. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that 60–70% of women and 50–60% of men consider themselves to have sensitive skin.
Skin health must be considered when implementing a hand hygiene programme. After all, skin irritation is more than just a discomfort; it can cause cracks in the skin on the hands. Damaged skin is more susceptible to colonisation by transient micro-organisms, which, in turn, increases the risk for transfer of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms – the very opposite of what hand hygiene programmes seek to achieve!
Minimising the risk of skin irritation
To successfully increase compliance and reduce the risk of skin irritation, the correct choice of soap and sanitiser is crucial. Formulations must be also mild and gentle to hardworking hands. Workers should ensure that all soap product is rinsed off and dry their hands thoroughly with paper towels. After all, water is a potential irritant, which may penetrate relatively easily through the outermost layer of the skin. Frequent exposure to water causes swelling and shrinking of this layer, and can lead to hand dermatitis.
Using hygienic hand rubs when hands are not visibly soiled can help those with sensitive skin avoid further irritation whilst maintaining good hand hygiene standards.
In addition to frequent hand hygiene practice, moisturisers should be used regularly to rehydrate and replenish oils in the skin. GOJO HAND MEDIC Professional Skin Conditioner is a water-based product, designed to maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier and help prevent dry, damaged hands. Its silicone-free and unfragranced formula is quickly absorbed into the skin and can vastly improve skin condition.
GOJO is committed to creating products which deliver results that are also kind to the skin. After all, hand hygiene is only an effective infection control measure if everybody in a facility practises it.
For more information, call +44(0)1908 588444, email infouk@GOJO.com or visit www.GOJO.com.