If you read our International Nurses Day feature in May detailing seven things you didn't know about nursing, you'll know that excessive hand-washing is one of the biggest challenges nurses face. They may wear gloves for a lot of their work, but they still end up washing their hands an average of 55 times per shift.

The Nursem range

The Nursem range

Unfortunately, while nurses do their best to avoid the dangers of cross-contamination, they often end up with a number of dermatological conditions along the way. Inflammation, irritation, dryness and cracking are just a few of the effects from constant hand-washing, and it can make life very difficult for a number of reasons.

Female First spoke to full-time palliative care nurse Jayne, who has been in the healthcare sector for 13 years and knows all too well the physical demands of her career.

"I have had a range of issues with my hands, caused by excessive hand-washing", she said. "This year, my workplace changed the hand wash, so now every time I wash my hands at work, they react, itch and dry out. This contact dermatitis has also caused swelling to my fingers, which regularly crack and bleed. I also experience cracks on the pads of my fingers and thumbs, which can cause pain when doing simple tasks at work, such as popping a tablet from a blister pack or administering injections."

Such complications may seem like an inevitable sacrifice for most nurses, but we reckon they shouldn't just have to put up with it. A new skincare brand called Nursem have released a range of products including a hand cream, a hand wash and a hand fix specifically designed to target the issues that nurses suffer because of hand-washing.

It can be embarrassing when your hands are visibly cracked, sore or red, especially when it is caused from doing your job.


"Our aim is to make every working day better for hard-working hands, so we've developed a range of products that are formulated to care for, hydrate and replenish your skin's natural defences", said Nursem founder Jonny Philp, husband of a paediatric nurse.

The Caring Hand Cream promised to "immediately soothe, hydrate and reduce the risk of further on-going discomfort" with its Omega 3, 6 and 9, medical grade Manuka honey and White Willow extract, while the Caring Hand Fix was described as "intensive, targeted relief for persistently dry, irritated and sore hands". The Caring Hand Wash is a mild, soap-free formula designed to minimise the removal of the skin's natural barrier.

But these assurances weren't good enough for us at Female First. We wanted to test out Nursem for ourselves by inviting a nurse we knew very well to test the product, and the results speak for themselves.

Lindsey found that the Caring Hand Cream was pleasantly non-greasy with a fast and long-lasting absorbancy. It smelled rather glorious too; a refreshing blend of fruity scents like grapefruit, passion flower, orange leaf and bergamot.

As a highly experienced RGN in a nursing home, cracked and dry skin was nothing new for Lindsey, but after just two weeks of use, she found her hands did indeed feel hydrated and moisturised for longer.

But it was the fragrance-free Caring Hand Fix that was the most effective. Containing hyaluronic acid which helps to lock in moisture, allantoin which heals, smooths and regenerates skin, and colloidal oatmeal which is a natural solution for treating inflammation, the product targeted the dryest areas of the skin with remarkable results.

One of the biggest issues our tester faced was brittle nails. Lindsey has always lamented the effects her job has had on her nails over the last 41 years, and vows that the first thing she's going to do when she retires is get her nails done professionally.

However, applied on the nail areas, the Caring Hand Fix seemed to dramatically reduce nail breakage within a week after using it just once daily. It may not seem like a big deal to everyone, not having hands and nails that look beautifully pampered and manicured all the time, but the truth is it can have dramatic effects on self-esteem.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

"It can be embarrassing when your hands are visibly cracked, sore or red, especially when it is caused from doing your job", Jayne admits. "My hands look older than they should, and us nurses will joke all the time about the state of our hands, and how they're 'not pretty'."

While Nursem by no means marks the end of dermatological issues for nurses, it's certainly a very good friend to have with you at all times. What's more, the brand are pledging to give a month's worth of products free to an NHS nurse or midwife with every sale.

"To help give back to the most deserving sufferers of hand conditions, we're on a mission to provide free hand cream to every NHS nurse and midwife by 2025", Jonny explains. "For every product we sell, we will give free hand care to an NHS nurse or midwife."

It's great to see the people who look after us and our loved ones finally getting looked after themselves. After all, everyone deserves to have the best quality of life they possibly can, both at work and at home.

"I love the Nursem Promise! It's like a little thank you for all our hard work and who doesn't love a freebie?" Says Jayne. "It's also nice to be offered something like this to offer natural, intensive hand care that keeps our hands looking healthy and helps combat the effects of relentless hand-washing."

Tips and tricks for staying moisturised

1. Moisturise even when you're not at work

Buying a batch of Nursem products is one thing but you need to be sure to use them as often as you need to. To allow your hands the best chance of recovery, continue your treatment while you're doing everyday things at home.

"I try and leave a tube of intensive and natural hand cream, such as Nursem in lots of locations at home to prompt me", says Jayne. "Next to my bed, in the bathroom and in the kitchen. I also try to have some in my bag or car too, so I can use it on the go."

2. Wear gloves at night

You can buy special gloves designed for use with hand cream that will ensure your hands will stay fully moisturised. Even just 20 to 30 minutes of wear a day can have wonderfully hydrating effects.

"If I'm in need of more intensive treatment, I like to apply hand cream liberally before bed and wear cotton gloves over-night for maximum recovery", Jayne adds.

3. Use a gentle hand wash

Often it's the type of hand wash that you are using at work or at home that can cause the most damage, so make sure you have access at all times to a hand wash such as Nursem that will give your hands the best chance of recovery. Nursem Caring Hand Wash contains Pro Vitamin B5, glycerin and plant-derived oils which are all effective in keeping your hands clean while avoiding increased soreness.

4. Drink plenty of water

Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water a day - more if you're doing a lot of physical work. Honestly, water is good for everything; it aids digestion, circulation and pretty much all bodily functions, and it's an important component in keeping your skin healthy.

5. Maintain a healthy diet

Like drinking water, it's what goes into our bodies that's going to have the best effect on our physical appearance. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables will not only allow you to stay in shape, but it will aid your immune system, reduce signs of ageing, and, of course, keep your skin glowing.

You can purchase the Nursem range from Boots stores and online, with prices from £9.99.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk

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