Chronic contact eczema afflicts many people. Many of them have no idea that eczema is behind their skin problems. They think that dry and red hands can only be caused by insufficient hydration.
Yet, it is a manifestation of damaged and weakened skin. This type of eczema is not a congenital disease. It is the result of frequent and repeated disturbance of the skin. Paradoxically, for example, frequent washing does not hydrate the skin, but dries it out. By using hot chlorinated water and alkaline soaps, we wash away the natural oily protective microfilm. By scrubbing with brushes or using salves, we disrupt the structure of the skin. Rubbing the skin with a towel contributes to the formation of micro-cracks in the skin.All this leads to the loss of the skin's defence mechanisms. At work, the skin is then subjected to additional stress in the form of various chemicals, dust and dirt, or is strained by the mechanical repetition of a task. As a result, the skin is dry, tight, red, scaly and may itch. Chronic contact eczema is most often found on the backs of the hands, palms, fingers, but it can also appear on the face. It is usually the result of daily use of make-up and cosmetics.
The skin manifestations are very similar to other dermatitis such as contact allergic or atopic eczema.
Treatment of chronic contact eczema takes about a month. This is how long it takes for the skin to recover and with it its protective barrier. However, even after successful healing, there remains a need to care for the skin so that it is not repeatedly broken. How to do it?
We must keep our hands as if they were in cotton wool. Protective gloves must be worn when working. If we have to use latex gloves, it is a good idea to wear cotton gloves underneath them to avoid maceration of the skin. Alternatives are barrier creams, such as Dermaguard.
We try to take a sensible approach to washing and not to wash our hands every half hour. If it is possible to use non-chlorinated water for washing, e.g. baby or mineral water, so much the better. We use lukewarm water, not hot. We use soaps and gels without fragrances and dyes, with a PH of 5.5, which is the natural acidity of the skin. They should also contain moisturising ingredients such as oils or urea. Dry the skin with a mop or gentle tap. Rub a non-perfumed moisturiser, e.g. with paraffin, glycerol or lanolin, into the dried hands. Pay attention to the choice of cream, some people may not like some of the ingredients. Repeat the moisturising process every time the skin feels dry and always after washing.
We can also use Dermaguard, a 2-in-1 barrier cream. The cream has two functions: it protects the skin from aggressive and allergenic substances for 4-6 hours and it also effectively moisturises for the same period of time. No further application is necessary after washing.
"DermaGuard skin protector has been the answer to my prayers.
Please don't stop selling this product; it certainly
does work where others have failed." E.M.F. Staffordshire More