What Does Protective Hand Cream Mean?
Protective hand cream, also called barrier cream, is a topical application designed to preserve the structural integrity of the skin against chemical substances, cleaning liquids, corrosive agents, and general dryness from regular handling and use. The skin barrier is the outer surface layer of skin where keratin and corneocytes (dead skin cells) represent a cellular composition of lipids to neutralize antigens absorbed through the skin coupled with bolstering water retention in the hands.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Protective Hand Cream
Protective hand creams fall into two categories: occlusive (insoluble in water) and humectant (moisturizer) containing distinct ingredients that act as a medicinal balm, ointment, or salve against skin inflammation, irritation, and palmar dehydration. Many industrial and occupational environments carry health implications where safety precautions against chemical base solutions, human waste, and repeated water exposure are inherent factors related to a job position. Protective hand creams can help minimize or prevent epidermal abrasions, dryness, and dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) consistent with a line of work that is tough on the skin barrier.
A generous application of any protective hand cream can facilitate the removal of chemical compounds (i.e., paints, glue) and withstand light rinsing of water for several hours. However, individuals with hypersensitive skin or a weak immune system can experience persistent burning and itching sensations or have allergic flare-ups. Moreover, report studies indicate conflicting evidence that protective hand creams are not a viable substitute for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recognize protective hand creams as a definitive measure to combat hand eczema or irritant contact dermatitis. A dermatologist can recommend protective hand creams that are suitable for their patients based on their physiological tolerance of the product. Doctors may prescribe a shielding lotion, a hypoallergenic alternative with moisturizing properties and maintenance of the skin barrier.