Looking After Your Grooming Hands
Do you suffer from your hands being dry, rough, cracked or irritated? As a dog groomer, your hands can take a beating from regular exposure to water and frequent contact with shampoo. In this blog, we will share with you the ways you can reduce strain on your hands wherever possible.
Many groomers suffer from dermatitis, which is a general term used to describe inflammation of the skin. This could be due to various reasons listed below;
- Exposure to water can directly remove skin lipids, which are the natural surface oils on your skin that help keep moisture in. Removal of lipids can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier and allow moisture to leak out of the skin, causing your hands to become dry and cracked.
- Frequent contact with pet shampoo can be irritating to your skin. Dog shampoo is specifically designed to remove dirt and oil from dog’s coats and is designed to match the pH of dog’s skin, rather than human’s skin. Generally, it is assumed that dog shampoo won’t be on human’s skin for very long, however as a dog groomer, you will have a higher exposure compared to the average consumer, which can significantly increase possible irritation and dry out your hands.
- Contact with pet hair can cause hair splinters and irritations. Sharp, freshly cut hair can penetrate your skin or get under your finger nails causing hair splinters. Hair splinters can be irritating, difficult to remove and opens up your skin to infections.
- Risk of equipment injuries is something every groomer has been exposed to. Grooming with sharp equipment, such as scissors, is part of the job. It is also important to be aware of the heat that clippers and dryers can generate when they are being used for long periods of time, to avoid burning your hands.
- Animal bites or scratches from claws can cause damage to the skin, leaving open wounds that can get infectious.
Here are some top tips to help care for your all important hands;
- As soon as you’ve finished bathing the dog, rinse your hands out to reduce prolonged exposure.
- Whenever possible, dry your hands thoroughly throughout the day in between dogs.
- Use dog shampoo specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Mutneys Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo contains no irritants or colourants and is completely fragrance free. It is mild and gentle on the dogs’ skin and coat and helps keep your hands safe.
- Avoid wearing jewellery, as water and shampoo can get trapped under rings that can cause irritation.
- Have a fully stocked first aid kit in your salon with antibacterial gel and antiseptic cream, so you can treat any open wounds as quickly as possible.
- To avoid repetitive strain on your hands, warm up your hand muscles at the start of every day. Watch this quick top tips video for warming up your hands!
- Protect your hands from over exposure to water and pet shampoos by wearing gloves, such as dishwashing rubber or latex gloves, when washing the dogs.
- Apply a hand cream whenever you can, particularly at the end of the day. Hand creams that are developed for hard working hands to protect and restore the natural skin’s barrier and to prevent moisture loss in your hands are recommended.
- Severely dry hands can benefit from overnight treatments. Consider over-the-counter hand creams to reduce cracks that occur.
Dry and irritated hands is a common struggle for dog groomers, however there are solutions that can help care for your hands including moisturiser, wearing gloves etc. Your hands are the most valuable tool you have as a groomer so why wouldn’t you take care of them?