Hesperian Health Guides

Skin Problems

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HealthWiki > A Community Guide to Environmental Health > Chapter 16: Harm from Toxic Chemicals > Skin Problems

A man scratches a rash on his arm.

The most common cause of skin problems and skin disease is from chemicals in the workplace. People also get rashes, blisters, and serious chemical burns from exposure to toxics in polluted air or water from industrial or agricultural chemicals and wastes.

Prevention and treatment

Protect yourself from chemicals by reducing exposure and wearing protective equipment. When exposed to chemicals, wash the skin right away with cool water and soap. Avoid warm water because it opens the pores. If your skin has been damaged or made very sensitive from chemical exposures, avoid sunlight. If you must be in the sun, keep your head and body covered as much as possible.

Some skin creams can reduce pain and soreness, but reducing contact with the poison is the only way to stop the problem.