Your skin is, first and foremost, your protective layer from the environment. However, your skin itself needs protecting. Your workplace may, unbeknownst to you, be an unsafe environment for your skin. This can occur in all types of work environments to employees of all ages, and it is up to you to protect your skin at work.
Employees in manufacturing, construction and, food production are particularly susceptible to injuries and unpleasant skin conditions. These workers especially, would be wise to know the names of an expert dermatologist in Washington DC, or whatever their location, such as Dr. Tina West in Washington DC, who performs regular skin cancer screenings. Other employees who commonly experience skin damage and irritation are those involved in
- metal plating
- engine service
- machine tool operation
- leather processing
If you work in these industries, or any industries where you are regularly exposed to chemicals, your employer is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) explaining the risks that come with exposure to each chemical, and the proper procedure if you come into contact with it. Please read this sheet carefully so you may fully understand the risks for allergic reactions, irritations, and skin cancer.
Rashes and Irritations
The most common work-related skin conditions are rashes and irritations, for which you may consult with your Washington DC dermatologist. These irritations commonly occur when workers are in frequent contact with chemicals and water, and soaps, which remove the natural oils from your skin, leaving it dry and chapped. Chapped skin is not only uncomfortable, it can lead to larger wounds and greater injury. Conversely, exposure to oils and greases at work can clog the pores, also irritating the skin or causing acne. There are, luckily, many options for acne treatment and skincare in Washington DC– including DC dermatologist Dr. Steven Rotter– and in most US regions.
Chemical and Temperature Burns
As we have discussed before, chemical burns are another common occupational hazard, which occur when we come into contact with strongly acidic or alkaline (basic) substances. Temperature burns are another common risk.
Skin allergies typically occur for employees working in textiles, as well as those working in health care. As DC skin allergist Dr. Michael Kletz can attest, Latex is a common cause of skin allergies at work, as are textiles, dyes, resins and glues.
Lastly, we must discuss the most severe risk: skin cancer, which is most common among outdoor workers, including farmers and park rangers. It is best, if you work outdoors, to always wear sunscreen, hats and clothing that properly cover your skin. Most importantly, consult with your dermatologist about skin cancer screenings in Washington DC.
Your skin does a lot of important work for you. We hope that you will keep it safe while you are working, and have regular visits with your dermatologist to keep yourself healthy.