Keeping your hands working

We’re always keen to bring you tips from experts, so this [week/month] we’ve spoken to Chris Brooks: a self-confessed science geek and a specialist in skin care at Swarfega. 

Many people do not realise that the skin is the largest organ in the body.  It takes up 10% of our weight and holds 20% of the water in our body.  Despite this, it’s only between 0.5-4mm thick – have a look at your nearest feeler gauge to put that into context!

The skin is a vital part of how the body functions, it senses temperature, pressure, heat and cold.  It also forms a protective barrier against exposure to chemicals, microbes and other contaminants in the body.  It also stops us becoming dried out like a raisin as it stops water loss from the body.

In a workshop environment, technicians and engineers are exposed to lots of irritants and contaminants.  Damage to the skin can cause both mild and life-long severe reactions and for people in the motor industry, anything that could stop them using their hands at work should be a big deal.

Dirty man hand with gear and car wheel

Some Handy Hints

The good news is that over the 70 years since Swarfega first started selling it’s hand cleanser, there have been huge advances in the understanding of the human skin.  Chris has put together his top tips to avoid causing issues with your skin.

Prevention – the best way to keep the skin on your hands in good condition is to prevent contact with contaminant in the first place – ideally avoiding contact, but using gloves where contact is required.

Protection – products such as Swarfega’s Protect cream help to guard the skin against harmful contaminants, they also make it much easier to clean your hands at the end of your shift.

Cleanse – washing your hands regularly will help prevent a build-up of soiling and reduce contact time with contaminants. According to a recent survey, Swarfega found that, on average, a mechanic washes their hands ten times a day.  Chris recommends that you choose the right cleanser for the job – don’t use heavy duty cleanser if you’ve only got light soiling as repeated washing with heavy duty products can also be harmful.  Don’t mention using washing up liquid mixed with sand or sugar to Chris unless you want him to lose the plot!

Restoration – after you’ve washed your hands, applying a restoration cream will help restore the natural oils and moisture to the skin, that you’ve lost during washing.

It sounds like a war on ‘man hands’ but what Chris and Swarfega are most interested in is keeping hands healthy at work!