Learning to recognize contagious and non-contagious skin disorders is part of self care for everyone who interacts with the public, but it is especially concerning to massage therapists.
It is also important to learn about skin conditions and diseases that can cause rash, blisters, sores and discoloration of the skin.
If you are a massage therapist or spa owner, leave enough light in your massage room that you can clearly see any skin issues on your client.
Make it a habit to ask people you work with if they have any sores, abrasions or open wounds that you should be aware of.
Psoriasis is a condition that causes big areas of red, raised skin, flaky dry skin, and scaled skin. It has no cure, and cannot be contracted with skin to skin contact.
Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation. It is a chronic condition for many people. It is most common among infants, many of whom outgrow it before school age.
Rosacea is a very common acne-like facial skin condition which has red or pink patches, broken blood vessels, small red bumps, and pink eyes. It is found in people with very fair skin.
Found mostly in children, this highly contagious skin condition often happens after a recent upper respiratory infection. Impetigo begins as itchy, red sores that blister, produce fluid, and eventually become covered with a tight crust.
Ringworm (Tinea) is a common skin disorder.
There are multiple forms of ringworm, which affect the skin on the body (tinea corporis), the scalp (tinea capitis), the feet with athlete's foot (tinea pedis), or the groin with jock itch (tinea cruris).
Tinea Versicolor - Tinea Versicolor is thought to be the most commonly occurring type of fungal skin infection and can affect adults, although it's most prevalent in adolescents.
Often found on oily parts of the body, like chest or back, it causes many small, flat spots on the skin. The spots can be flaky or itchy. Many small spots may also blend together into larger patches.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. Blistery bumps often appear. Scabies is often found between the fingers, in the armpits, around the waist, on the inside of the wrist, on the inner elbow, on the knees, and on the buttocks, but can be in other locations.
Basically, use extreme caution and avoid skin issues that have blisters, itchy or dry patches, open wounds, or ring-like sores. The best self care advice....ask your client about questionable areas and avoid anything that looks suspicious.
Here's a site with great info on skin conditions and natural skin care. They offer suggestions on preventions (to avoid skin issues in the first place) common causes of issues concerning skin, as well as natural treatments.
Goodheart's Photoguide to Common Skin Disorders teaches about skin issues and has hundreds of pictures that actually shows what each condition looks like, and how it is commonly treated. This guide helps you identify what is contagious and what is not contagious.
Anyone who works with the public should learn how to identify common skin disorders, to protect themselves and their families.