By Pamela Dillon, Atlantic Safety Products
Hand protection has become a must in the automotive industry. While workers understand the need for wearing gloves, many cannot get past the constant problem of hand irritation. One of the main reasons that workers are not following proper gloving procedures is that their skin is dried out, cracked and chapped and they feel that putting on disposable gloves just exacerbates the irritation.
And guess what? It did…until now.
“Technology has advanced into such a direction that disposable hand protection has gone from something that could irritate your skin into products that can actually help and heal it,” said Jay Wilson, dealer developer for Atlantic Safety Products.
There are many features and additives that are available now to glove manufacturers that weren’t available even two to three years ago. The advent of this technology means that we can make hand protection products more comfortable to wear than ever before.
This is especially important in the automotive industry, because of the large number of chemicals and hazards used. Shop owners need their employees to follow OSHA standards for hand protection, and by providing their workers with gloves that are comfortable yet durable, they can ensure that their workers’ needs are met while meeting their safety guidelines.
Here are just a couple of the newest and most innovative glove features available.
Aloe is a natural moisturizer that hydrates and soothes your skin. It’s known to help heal dry, chapped skin.
One of the newest manufacturing processes applies a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the inside surface of a glove, then dries it. When the user puts the glove on, the aloe is re-hydrated, gradually bathing the hands in a natural moisturizer without any slick or sticky feeling.
In fact, a Northwestern University study published in the American Journal of Infection Control concluded: “Dry-coated AV (aloe vera) gloves that provide for gradual delivery of aloe vera gel to the skin produced a uniformly positive outcome of improved skin integrity, decreased appearance of fine wrinkling, and decreased erythema (inflammation) in the management of occupational dry skin and irritant contact dermatitis.”
5.5 pH Technology
If you can recall high school chemistry class, you can remember the lecture on pH levels. In chemistry, pH is a measure of the strength of an acid or a base. A neutral solution has a pH of 7; acids have a pH between 0 and 7 and bases have a pH from 7 to 14.
Normal skin pH is somewhat acidic and in the range of 4.2 to 5.6. It varies from one part of the body to another and, in general, the pH of a man’s skin is lower (more acidic) than a woman’s. Maintaining this healthy pH level is very important in healing irritated skin. The compounds that help maintain the acidic environment of the skin surface are known as the natural moisturizing factors. In fact, the acid pH of skin is so important in skin protection that it has been termed the “acid mantle.” The acid mantle is a combination of sebum (oily fats) and perspiration that is constantly secreted to cover the skin’s surface and maintain a proper skin pH. It inhibits bacterial growth on the skin. Disruptions in the acid mantle contribute to hand irritations.
When your skin pH is too high, it means your skin will be less able to fight off bacterial infections. When your skin pH is too low, your skin will appear dull, aged and un-elastic. In the skin, there are two layers: the outer layer called the epidermis layer, and the inner layer called the dermal layer. One is responsible for fighting off bacteria (epidermis layer) and the other responsible for making your skin appear more elastic and youthful (dermal layer). It is important that you maintain your skin pH around the 5.5 range because the epidermis layer functions better in acidic conditions.
Gloves with incompatible pH levels may cause disruptions in the acid mantle and change the natural pH level of the skin. When the skin’s pH level is altered, irritation and excess perspiration can develop.
Most gloves are manufactured with a pH level not equal to healthy skin. They tend to have higher pH levels. Look for a glove that is designed to help maintain skin pH at 5.5. The benefits to the user are abundant. A 5.5 pH glove promotes hand health and less contact irritation and bacteria growth because it maintains the skin’s natural protective acid mantle. It also provides the user with a much more soothing glove to wear. Excess perspiration is controlled, and the gloves can be worn for long periods of time with greater comfort.
Technology is always advancing. Glove technology is no different. What once used to be a measure of discomfort can now actually be a source of healing.
For more information, visit www.AtlanticSafetyProducts.com.