It kills germs, gets rid of dirt and protects the health of those you serve. But that doesn’t mean it’s great for your skin.\n
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We all hate dry skin, but some of us are at higher risk than others. Could your job be drying your
skin out while you work?
How often do you find yourself suffering from dry skin? Depending on your occupation, it might
be a lot more than it should be. Most of us keep a bottle of lotion handy, but rarely think about
how our job affects our skin or how to change that. Here are four ways your job might be
contributing to dry or flaky skin—and solutions for each one:
Working outside. For many people, working outside is a dream come true: you get all the
sunshine and fresh air you want, plus in many cases the beauty of nature, and you get to be
physically active throughout the day. However, whether you are a traffic cop or a gardener,
working outside can be rough on your skin. This is especially true in winter, when cooler
temperatures and lower humidity levels mean that the air effectively sucks the moisture out of
your skin. But even on balmy days, the sun can still dry out and damage your skin. The best
solution is to make sure you have adequate sun protection, wear gloves whenever possible, and
moisturize daily during dry seasons.
Too much hand washing. Whether you are a waitress or a heart surgeon, hand washing is
essential to many jobs. It kills germs, gets rid of dirt and protects the health of those you serve.
But that doesn’t mean it’s great for your skin. Repeated hand washing, especially with thorough
scrubbing, can damage the epidermis and lead to dry and cracked skin. In general, use water
that is warm rather than hot, scrub gently, and use a soap that is gentle on the skin. If your job
allows, moisturize after washing your hands.
Extreme heat/cold. Outdoors isn’t the only place where temperatures can be rough on your
skin. If you sit directly below the heat/AC register, or if your office is particularly toasty or
chilly, you will likely experience dry skin. See if you can adjust the thermometer to a more
moderate temperature, or reposition yourself away from the direct flow of air.
Not enough water. Often, what we consider “dry” skin is actually dehydrated skin. Most people
do not drink enough water and their skin is more vulnerable as a result. Drink water—not soda
or coffee—throughout the day, roughly a glass an hour to protect your skin and your health.
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