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Hand washing

Nursem is the hand cream brand that gives back to the NHS


TextAlex Peters

The nurse-developed cream is specially formulated for people who wash their hands constantly

Nurses in the UK wash their hands on average between 50-60 times per day. This constant hand washing strips the hands of their natural moisture causing excessive dryness. As a result of this around 87 per cent of nurses and wider healthcare staff during their career will suffer from some form of contact dermatitis which causes the skin on the hands to crack and bleed. When paediatric nurse Antonia Philip had to take two weeks off work in order to let her hands heal, she decided she was going to do something about it. “I knew this was a widespread problem that needed addressing, as a lot of my nursing friends also suffered from the same problem – and so the idea for Nursem was born!” she says.

With no effective alternative to hand-washing, Philip knew that the solution would have to be a cream that was deeply hydrating but that wouldn’t undermine hand-washing. Together with her husband Jonny, she started working on a formula that was natural, effective, and free from petrolatum, mineral oils, silicones, or parabens. “The skincare products that were available in the shops just weren’t effective enough,” she says. “I needed a hand cream that was super fast-absorbing, as well as being non-greasy and full of actives that would protect and replenish the natural oils lost through excessive hand washing, whilst being deeply moisturising.”

Over the last seven years, the two have worked with nurses, laboratories, and Newcastle Science City to create a range of products specifically developed to protect hands from excessive washing as well as any other labour-intensive activity that leaves skin dry and vulnerable. The result is a hand cream, hand wash and an intensive “hand fix” – a mask designed for persistently dry, irritated, and sore hands.

In order to give back to the nurse community even further, Nursem also gives a month’s worth of free hand cream to a healthcare professional for every product sold. Thus far, the brand has helped over 20,000 healthcare staff through this initiative with the aim to reach every healthcare centre or ward across the UK by 2025. They call it the Nursem Promise. “I really wanted to help the people who give so much to so many people. It’s our little way of saying thank you for the incredible job that they do every single day,” says Philip. 

“Healthcare staff need their hands to care, they’re the most important tools for their job. The Nursem Promise creates direct appreciation from a customer towards healthcare staff – we all know how valued they are, and this is a powerful way of directly showing that.”

Nursem is available from Couverture & The Garbstore now.

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