Avoiding Frequent Handwashing Woes

By SC Johnson Professional

Handwashing is an integral part of reducing the spread of germs. However, increased handwashing coupled with low temperatures and humidity can result in skin dryness, irritation, itching and even cracking or bleeding. These skin reactions are referred to as irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) [1].

ICD can be caused by the repeated use of hand hygiene products such as soaps and other detergents, specifically in healthcare facilities. In industrial settings, ICD is caused by contact with hazardous workplace substances that can be exacerbated by using heavy duty hand cleansers and/or solvents that are harsh to the skin.

Though ICD may be more common in industrial settings, the onset of a global pandemic has brought about an increased awareness around hand hygiene in schools, offices and retail facilities. Hand hygiene is an essential public health measure that is aiding in the fight against the pandemic, along with preventing the spread of other infectious diseases.

So how does one who practices frequent hand hygiene keep their skin from becoming irritated?

Wash (and dry) correctly

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Drying your hands after every wash with a clean towel or disposable paper towel is important to avoid germs latching on to wet hands. After drying, use the disposable paper towel to grab the restroom door handle to avoid transmitting germs onto clean hands.

Choose your product wisely

SC Johnson Professional offers a variety of hand hygiene products that fit institutional, industrial and healthcare facility needs. For example, Refresh™ Clear FOAM is a perfume-free and dye-free soap that is ideal for use in office, education, public facility and food service environments. It’s specially formulated with one of the mildest preservatives to reduce the risk of skin irritation from using this product and is dermatologist tested to verify it has very low allergenic potential and is designed for those with sensitive skin. The included skin moisturizer helps prevent drying and leaves skin feeling smooth after each use.

SC Johnson Professional’s Kindest Kare ® Advanced Antimicrobial Foaming Handwash is a mildly formulated handwash that was designed with healthcare personnel in mind. This fragrance-free, dye-free foaming formula contains .50% Benzalkonium Chloride and is specially formulated with moisturizer to help prevent drying.

Additionally, in industrial environments, products like Solopol® GFX ™ can be used to avoid dry skin and irritation from using the product because it contains cornmeal and olive pit scrubbing agents, a mild formula and preservatives along with moisturizers. The cornmeal and olive pit scrubbing agents are uniquely suspended in the foam to give a deep clean without damaging the skin.

Moisturizing is a Must

Using handwashes, scrubs and sanitizer containing skin conditioners that are designed to moisturize while cleansing are important, but don’t forget the final step in skincare, which is moisturizing. Moisturizing after frequent hand washing is especially important in industrial settings. Lotions with enriched skin conditioning formulas, like the SC Johnson Professional  Stokolan® line and SBS® 40 Skin Conditioning Cream, which contains emollients, conditioners and moisturizers to help the skin retain moisture and flexibility, protect against cracking and improve skin feel. These products are compatible with SC Johnson Professional Dispensers for easy customer and employee access. Consider a touchless dispenser to avoid transmitting germs onto freshly washed hands before applying lotion.

In some settings, the use of pre-work creams that contribute to skin moisturization is just as important as using a traditional moisturizer. For example, products like Stokoderm® Protect has moisturizers and minerals that helps prevent drying and leaves a non-tacky preventative film on the skin. It’s designed help protect skin against light exposure to water and non-water-based contaminants.

As hand hygiene remains a critical step in helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, facilities must provide proper education and products to combat the increased risk of skin issues such as ICD. Offering soaps and creams that are mildly formulated with skin conditioners can help keep employees’, patients’ and customers’ hands as healthy as possible throughout the winter months and beyond.

For more information on SC Johnson Professional products, visit www.scjp.com.