In the past year and half, we have experienced various changes and upheavals in our lives and businesses, needing to make adjustments to everything we do. While hand hygiene has always been the cornerstone of what we do in salons, the addition of extra hand washing and the use of alcohol and sanitising gels has taken its toll, leading to various issues ranging from severe dryness through to contact dermatitis conditions.
The skin’s matrix
The skin acts as a barrier between the body and the external environment, enabling healthy function by maintaining levels of vital lipids and preventing excessive water loss through the epidermis, while also defending against attacks from foreign substances and pathogens.
Crucial for skin barrier function is the extracellular lipid matrix found within the stratum corneum, likened to a brick wall structure. Our skin cells act as the bricks, whereas the lipid matrix acts as the mortar, helping to give cohesion to the bricks together. The composition of a healthy lipid matrix is controlled by three types of lipids: ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, which are tightly organised to give skin its protection defence and waterproof seal.
This protection is robust enough to withstand regular hand hygiene; however, when the skin is subjected to excessive hand washing, in addition to the consistent use of drying alcohol or sanitising gels, the oils and lipids within the protective matrix are broken down to the extent that cracks develop, creating direct pathways for allergens and irritants to permeate the deeper skin layers and provoke an immune response.
This matrix disruption is one of the main causes of skin dryness, irritation, itching, cracking and, in extreme cases, bleeding. This array of symptoms is referred to as irritant contact dermatitis and can be debilitating for therapists who depend on their hands for treatments, especially when working with various product formulations that can further exacerbate the condition and put the therapist out of action for the short to medium term.
While these issues may seem daunting, there are various options that can help you adapt your treatments to help alleviate these negative issues.
Create a barrier
Some therapists may simply choose to wear gloves when performing treatments, providing a barrier from the products. Opting for nitrile or non-latex gloves is advisable to ensure comfort for anyone with a potential latex allergy. When choosing gloves, ensure they are a suitable fit for you – tight enough to not feel restrictive but loose enough to feel comfortable.
For some therapists, the thought of wearing gloves certainly goes against the grain, so for those who wish to maintain pure hand-on-skin contact without a barrier, there are other options available.
Adapt your technique
Eve Taylor London offers various professional techniques and tools to its therapists, which can be used to adapt the way you perform treatments, limiting contact between products and your hands. These luxury specialist techniques maintain the sensorial and relaxing elements of the facial or body treatment that clients love while also ensuring the therapist’s wellbeing.
Eve Taylor’s ultra-soft yet workable fan masque brushes can be used to apply products ranging from cleansers and cream exfoliants right through to masques and moisturisers, using the specialist double-brush application technique, which focuses on inducing deep relaxation with its long, slow rhythmical brush strokes.
The best-selling facial cleansing brush can also be incorporated into the treatment to facilitate cleansing and exfoliation. Its soft, rubber bristles follow the contours of the face without dragging and offer another sensorial experience when used with the double-brush cleanse technique, boosting the effects of cleanser or exfoliant while vastly reducing your skin contact with product.
When offering massage treatments, if you’re finding aromatic massage oils are irritating your damaged hands then temporarily avoid using them and in place use a gently pre-warmed carrier oil such as borage seed to massage with. This will not only feel luxurious for your client but will also strengthen your skin barrier with its high gamma linoleic acid content. For clients who like aromatic massage, a diffuser may be placed near the treatment couch to infuse the senses with aromatherapy bliss.
Nourish, nurture and moisturise
To help with skin barrier impairment, Eve Taylor London’s Ultra Soothing range is the ideal solution. Essential oil and fragrance free, this range includes Ultra Soothing Cleanser and Ultra Soothing Moisture Cream. These highly effective formulations are bursting with skin-nurturing botanicals and soothing extracts, which collectively strengthen the skin and support the barrier function. This versatile range is ideal for use anywhere on the body.
The top-selling Ultra Soothing Cleanser is a rich, creamy cleanser formulated with colloidal oatmeal, which is renowned for its soothing, barrier-repairing actions, camelia oil for its anti-inflammatory benefits and sunflower oil, excellent for imparting its fatty acid content.
This cleanser can be used to thoroughly cleanse hands without disrupting the delicate barrier, leaving them nourished and soft. Ultra Soothing Moisture Cream is a readily absorbed medium-weight moisturiser, excellent for helping to restore and support stressed skin.
Rich in borage seed oil and abundant in gamma linoleic acid and omega 6, this super ingredient has been used by Eve Taylor OBE herself for decades due to its impressive actions on damaged skin, helping to reduce sensitivity.
It is formulated with comfrey extract, well regarded for its healing benefits, while the emollient properties of dimethicone act as a second skin.
To learn more about becoming part of the Eve Taylor London success story, visit eve-taylor.com or call 01733 260161