Occupational Skin Products

  • Dimitar Antonov
  • Sibylle Schliemann
  • Peter ElsnerEmail author
Reference work entry


The external formulations applied on the skin for the purpose of occupational protection are collectively referred to as occupational skin products. These are part of the three-step program:
  • Pre-exposure, protective (barrier) creams or protective products

  • Cleansing products

  • Skin-care products or postexposure skin care (emollients, moisturizers)

Such formulations may provide protection only against weak irritants and cannot replace the use of other protective means such as gloves.

Studies show that some external products fail to provide the declared anti-irritant efficacy and may actually aggravate irritation.

It is therefore recommended that occupational skin products within the three-step program should be tested experimentally against the relevant irritants from the occupations they are to be used in.

The efficacy of the protective creams is based mainly on skin physiology studies with healthy volunteers; only one RCT demonstrated a benefit in a real occupational setting.

Worker education is needed to provide optimal use and achieve the optimal protection from the three-step program.


Emollients Fluorescence technique Natural moisturizing factor (NMF) Protective creams Repetitive irritation test (RIT) Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) Three-step skin protection concept 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitar Antonov
    • 1
  • Sibylle Schliemann
    • 2
  • Peter Elsner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, University Hospital JenaFriedrich-Schiller-UniversityJenaGermany

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