Most technicians invest in the best tools and take care to keep them in good condition all year round. What people often forget is that their hands are the most important tool for the job they do and often fail to look after them – until it’s too late.
As we all know, winter can be tough; cold weather makes for harsh working conditions. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than your hands, where low temperatures can cause chapping and painful cracks in the skin. It only becomes tougher on your skin when water is thrown into the mix, as it leaches the natural protective oils and acids, leaving your skin even more prone to damage.
This can result in some pretty painful problems, with rashes and irritated skin being the most basic. A more extreme problem might be an allergic reaction to a contaminant, causing potentially life-long and debilitating issues.
How the skin works
It’s a little-known fact, but your skin is the largest single organ in your body. It takes up around 10% of your weight and holds 20% of the water in your body. Despite this, it’s only 0.5-4mm thick. It is a vital part of how your body functions; sensing pressure and temperature. It also forms a protective barrier against chemicals, microbes and other contaminants trying to enter your body. Not only is it your first layer of defence, it also stops you becoming dried out as it prevents water loss from your body.
In a tough environment, technicians are exposed to all sorts of irritants and contaminants. Stopping damage to the skin should be a big concern in the automotive aftermarket, as anything that can stop technicians using their hands at work is a big deal.
Some handy hints
The good news is: over the 70 years since Swarfega first started selling its hand cleanser, there have been huge advances in the understanding of the human skin. This year, Swarfega launched the TOUGH by Swarfega range, taking scientifically proven formulations, developed over decades, to make a group of products that’ll give you the best chance of keeping your skin in good nick. We caught up with one Swarfega’s technical specialists to get some top tips to keep your skin in tip top condition this winter:
- Prevention – the best way to keep the skin on your hands in good condition is to prevent contact with contaminants in the first place – ideally avoiding contact, but using gloves when contact is required.
- Protection – products such as Swarfega’s Tough Protection cream help to guard the skin against harmful contaminants, also making it much easier to clean your hands. Designed for people working with their hands, this product tightens and strengthens your skin and has the added benefit of improving your grip.
- Cleanse – washing your hands regularly will help prevent a build-up of soiling and reduce contact time with contaminants. Choosing the right cleanser for the job is important; don’t use heavy duty cleanser if you’ve only got light soiling, as repeated washing with heavy duty products can also be harmful. Tough hand cleaner is a hard-working formulation that’ll remove dirt from your hands. Used in combination with the Tough Protect cream, it will provide a balanced method of keeping your hands in good condition.
- Restoration – after you’ve washed your hands, applying Tough’s Gel Moisturiser will help restore the natural oils and moisture that you’ve lost during washing.