Can Massage Therapists Develop Skin Disorders and Itchy Hands Because Of Frequent Exposure To Massage Oil, Massage Powder and Soap?

The degree of physical contact between the massage therapists and their clients is greater than in any other field. The amount of contact between the skin of the clients and therapists means there is a great risk of skin diseases and infections being transferred between the two; if a disease exists to begin with.

This is why a great deal of caution needs to be exercised and it is one of the reasons why massage therapists are advised to check the medical history of the people who come in for massages. If you find that there is a risk of any skin-related infection, you can respectfully turn that client down.

While you can ensure that you don’t massage any clients that are at risk of skin disorders, there is another inherent risk massage therapists face. You have to use different types of products when performing the massages and you don’t always know what’s in these products or how they will react with your skin.

You have to keep both your and their hands clean, and also lubricate the bodies of your clients before a massage. For this, you will have to use massage lotion or oil, massage powder, soap and also water. Depending on the number of massages you perform in a day, you could come into contact with these materials numerous times.

The question here is ‘do massage therapists develop skin disorders and itchy hands because of frequent exposure to these products?’ The answer to this, unfortunately, is sometimes a ‘yes’. Skin experts have stated that overexposure to any substance sometimes is bad for the skin.

Since your hands come into contact with different products throughout the day, there is no doubt that you will be affected by them somehow. The interesting and alarming thing to note here is that overexposure to even water can result in skin issues. You should consult your dermatologist if you feel anything different about your hands.

Real Life Case Study of a Massage Therapist Developing Skin Disease

There have been some instances in which massage therapists developed skin conditions even after exercising caution and care while using oils, soaps and water. In one case, a massage therapist reported that she developed contact dermatitis even though she had used the best-quality products when performing massages.

The products were hypoallergenic and considered to be the best in their range. Moreover, she replaced them after every few months to ensure that they didn’t expire. This goes to show that the risk of skin disorders isn’t alleviated even if you take good care of your hands. This is something you need to be wary of.

There is a risk of contact dermatitis even if your hands are exposed to water frequently. Your hands will start itching and there might be some lesions and lumps that appear on the surface of the skin.
It could be extremely crippling for a massage therapist to develop skin conditions on their hands.

Your hands are the main tools that you use for performing massages. Hence, if your hands are not in top shape, it would mean you cannot work.

Skin disorders of all types can be caused by massage therapy. An example of this is a massage therapist who had to quit the field because the cuticles on his fingers got disfigured.

Due to the pressure placed on the fingers when performing the massage, the cuticles cracked and got bloody. They would often bleed if the hands were used excessively. There was nothing for the massage therapist to do besides quitting his job, which he ultimately did.

Perhaps the most ignored aspect of massage therapy is the effort the massage therapists have to put into each massage. Some massage therapists have to perform six to eight massages in a day. This requires them to be on their feet for hours together.

Moreover, a great deal of movement and effort is required for the massages to be performed properly. This results in excessive perspiration and sweating. Often, massage therapists wear tight fitting clothes which further increase the level of perspiration.

It was because of sweat that a massage therapist developed dermatitis under her breasts. When working, the sweat would accumulate under the breasts which eventually led to dermatitis. Eventually, a nasty fungus appeared under her breasts as well. Due to this, she had to quit the business.

Even after bidding goodbye to massage therapy, her condition did not heal completely. She had to place sanitary napkins in her bra to soak up the sweat which accumulates there. This was important for preventing fungus build up.

Such incidents are common but can be reduced by taking proper precautions. To help you in this regard given below are some methods which could help prevent skin disorders that are common among massage therapists.

How to Prevent Skin Disorders and Itchy Skin?

It is important for you to understand the different ways in which you can prevent skin disorders and itchy skin. There is no way you can get around coming into contact with the skin of your clients.

Nor is there any way you can avoid using the products necessary for performing the massage. This is why there are some precautionary steps that you should keep in mind.

  • First and foremost, research into the best products to use for massage therapy. You can use the internet for this purpose. Pay attention to the ingredients of the products to ensure you don’t use anything that can cause skin problems.
  • As mentioned above, using the best products does not guarantee skin safety. This is why it is a good idea to get in touch with a skin specialist when in doubt or whenever you first notice something irregular about your skin. Talk to them about the massage products you use. If the dermatologist advises you to avoid using a particular product, pay heed to this advice. Only use products that are recommended by the dermatologist.
  • Wear airy clothing while at work. Make sure your body gets plenty of air while performing massages. This ensures that sweat doesn’t buildup in the folds and joints of the body.
  • Ask massage therapists who have been in the industry for many years about the measures they take to avoid skin disorders and itchy skin. They might be able to provide you some tips you may not find elsewhere. Nothing trumps practical knowledge from first-hand experience.

These are some of the tips you can follow to help prevent skin disorders on your hands and other parts of your body. Follow them to ensure that you don’t face any problems while working as a massage therapist so that you don’t have to give up your career prematurely.

There are thousands of massage therapists all over the world that are thriving in their successful careers. This article is not meant to scare or discourage you. In fact, it is meant to educate you so that you are aware of what you need to do to prevent skin disorders and march on to a successful career of your own.

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Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Career Considerations
4 comments on “Can Massage Therapists Develop Skin Disorders and Itchy Hands Because Of Frequent Exposure To Massage Oil, Massage Powder and Soap?
  1. jill says:

    has anyone ever encountered peeling skin on the finger tips?

  2. jill says:

    I am using bon vital cream. its the strangest thing… it is happening all the time now wear as before it would only be if I took time off.

    • Neal Lyons says:

      Jill – sounds like there are ingredients that don’t suit you well. why don’t you try at least two other brands / mixtures and observe whether you are still experiencing the same issues.

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