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Skincare advice for nurses during COVID-19 pandemic

Guidance on dealing with the ravages of extra handwashing and PPE use


Picture: Alamy

Advice for nurses on how to protect their skin during the coronavirus pandemic has been published.

The RCN's Skin Health resource is designed to help nurses counter the effects of extra handwashing and personal protective equipment (PPE) use.

It carries advice on:

  • Maintaining skin health when using PPE.
  • Work-related dermatitis.
  • Guidance on glove use.
  • Raising concerns if employers fail to do skin checks.

Skincare recommendations for nurses

The resource suggests nursing staff apply moisturiser at least 30 minutes before donning PPE. And if they notice signs of redness or skin breaks, they should inform the person responsible for skin checks.  

Nurses are also advised to relieve the pressure of face masks every two hours, when it is safe to do so.


Rose Gallagher Picture: David Gee

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control, Rose Gallagher, said nurses must look after their skin health while wearing PPE.

‘Failing to look after our hands may mean we can’t look after our patients – and ultimately risks long-term, or even lifelong, damage to our skin,’ she said.

RCN skin health survey findings

A survey of RCN members last year found 93% of 2,074 participants had experienced some form of skin condition, including cracking, scaling or pain in the previous 12 months. 

More than half (58%) said they had not had any training on protecting their hands at work.


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