COVID-19 has increased PPE usage (personal protective equipment), and there is a developing concern of PPE-related skin problems.

Skin injuries related to PPE  

Pressure injuries, contact dermatitis, hives, itching, and moisture-related skin damage are examples of PPE-related skin injuries.

The usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for an extended period of time causes skin irritation and damage.

Areas of Exposure for PPE-related skin injuries 

The nasal bridge, forehead, cheeks, and hands are all vulnerable to damage. Long-term glove wearing causes moisture imbalance, which can lead to irritation and dermatitis when paired with frequent hand washing. To avoid skin damage, apply hand cream between handwashing and the application of PPE.

Mild skin irritation caused by PPE is frequently underestimated and ignored. On the other hand, minor skin discomfort frequently leads to employees unintentionally touching their faces when not wearing PPE.

Risks of PPE-related skin conditions 

Infectious pathogens can enter the body through another channel, such as skin failure occurs because of PPE.

PPE-related skin diseases such as dermatitis and eczema, and infections raise the risk of irritation and premature PPE removal. It also causes a drop in productivity and time away from work.

Key recommendations to avoid PPE-Related Skin Injuries:  

  1. Maintain proper hygiene before and after using PPE.

Apply a barrier or normal moisturizer to places where PPE is used often. Consider using a longer-lasting acrylate polymer or dimethicone-based cream. The COVID virus passes from one person to another through contact. Therefore, proper hygiene will help to reduce the rates of infection. 

  1. Keep your hands moisturized on a regular basis.

Before putting on gloves, make sure your hands are totally clean and dry. Allow time for the moisturizer to absorb into the skin before putting on the gloves. A minimum of 70% fat should be present in hand cream. The hands being the busiest body part it should always be moisturized. 

  1. Material for dressing

In regions of adhesion, pressure, or friction, use dressing material as a contact between PPE and the skin. This must be done under the supervision of an occupational health professional to ensure that the dressing does not obstruct the mask’s fit and seal.

  1. Release the Strain

PPE should be removed every four hours to relieve pressure on skin contact areas. If PPE becomes wet or dirty, remove it immediately. The pressure on the skin makes the skin soft, thus making it easier for the pathogens to pass into the skin. 

  1. Proper cleansing and hydration of the skin

Cleaning and hydration of the Skin After removing PPE, the skin should be examined and properly cleaned with soap and water. To minimize further injury, do not apply pressure to the skin region. Apply a moisturizer to the skin once it has been dried. A dressing may be necessary if there is a skin injury.

Skin integrity and wound prevention can be improved with daily skincare that includes hydration and protection. Other essential aspects of skin health include proper diet and bodily hydration.