How to make protecting your skin a priority in your practice

January 28, 2014

Using Dental Creation’s Wondersoft Aloe Vera Lotion is a great way to protect your skin while keeping you and your patients safe from infection.

Using Dental Creation’s Wondersoft Aloe Vera Lotion is a great way to protect your skin while keeping you and your patients safe from infection.

Your skin is an amazing organ that functions to defend you from infection. Because it plays such a vital role in keeping us healthy, we should protect and take care of our skin. Good skin care habits represent a proactive approach to maintaining health and wellness.

It’s no secret that dental professionals cleanse their hands many times over the course of the clinical workday. Hands are decontaminated before and after gloving, before eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing, after contact with anything contaminated, and the list goes on. A conscientious hand hygiene routine keeps you and your patients safe.

How you might be damaging your skin

So how could this important infection control protocol possibly interfere with our goal to reduce cross contamination? The constant cleansing of hands via handwashing, surgical scrubbing, or alcohol based hand rubs may damage the skin.

The exposure to detergents and chemicals increases the risk of dry, cracked, itchy, and painful skin. Once the skin becomes compromised, the broken skin provides an easy pathway for germs to enter the body, which could make you ill or spread disease.  

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings, “factors that can contribute to dermatitis associated with frequent handwashing include using hot water for handwashing, low relative humidity (most common in winter months), failure to use supplementary hand lotion or cream, and the quality of paper towels (254,255).”

To help reduce your risk, I suggest:1. Always wet hands with cool to lukewarm water to prevent dryness. Never use hot water to wash and rinse your hands. Hot water can open the skin pores and hasten the removal of natural oils faster than tepid water and it increases the risk of dermatitis.

2. Use a humidifier during dry winter months to add moisture to the air.

3. Apply a non-petroleum based hand lotion like Wondersoft Aloe Vera Lotion from Dental Creations  Ltd. frequently to maintain the dermal integrity of your hands. It is compatible with all gloves and its non-greasy formula distinguishes this product from others.

4. Dry hands thoroughly (all surface backs, palms and between fingers) after washing with an absorbent, single-use, disposable paper towel.

How Wondersoft can help

Health care professionals can manage the skin’s integrity and keep it soft and pliable by applying hand lotion regularly throughout the day. This can be accomplished with Wondersoft Lotion. Its main ingredient, “aloe,” is known for its soothing qualities and its ability to moisturize and relieve dry skin disorders like dermatitis.

Preventing occupationally related contact dermatitis is key to protecting yourself and the patients you serve. Healthy, intact skin is the body’s natural barrier against infection. Don’t put yourself at risk. Taking care of your skin, particularly your hands with lotions like Wondersoft, is one of the primary ways to protect yourself from infection.

Ellen Gambardella, CDA, M.Ed., is an award-winning educator and speaker. She was selected as the “Most Effective Dental Assistant Educator in the United States” and won the “Teacher of the Year” Award in Massachusetts. Reach her at ellengambardella@gmail.com.