Groomer's Hands : Parched and Chapped

    Dry, chapped hands, they go hand in hand with our profession.  No matter how much lotion I put on my hands they rarely ever feel moisturized for very long because back to the tub they go to wash another pet, stripping away all of the moisture I just tried to restore.  In the winter it is even worse, they are achy, the skin cracks and splits open, ughh.  Why are our hands destined to be dry?  Because of the product choices that are available.  Almost every single pet shampoo (and people shampoo for that matter) is loaded with sulfates and sulfates dry out our skin.  

     As I sat last night having dinner with my husband at a nice restaurant (he took me out for my birthday), I realized my hands felt better than they have in years.  Why?  Because I have found an amazing new product, Ritzi Pawz by Shades of Grace.  I have been grooming for 20 years, I had a bather a few times but I really prefer bathing and drying my own dogs (and cats) so that I can see up close and personal any and all skin issues that might present themselves so that I could inform the owner, I didn't want to miss anything.  All of these years I have used general shampoos and specialty shampoos that I have run across at grooming industry trade shows, and they have been great cleansers, but the problems is that they have all had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or a variation of SLS, in them and therefore have a drying effect on my hands as well as on the pets.  SLS's job is to strip away oil and dirt and by doing so it also strips away moisture from the skin and can cause inflammation and cracking of the dermal and epidermal tissues.  No wonder groomer's hands across the globe are in such sad shape, the dogs get one or two shampoo-ings in it and we lather up our hands numerous times per day, 5-6 days a week, and an owner's consistant complaint is that their dog scratches a lot, and it's usually those who are bathed a lot.

     Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is an industrial detergent used in everything from baby shampoo to greasy garage floor cleansers.  Doesn't that seem strange? That we would use the same ingredient to clean greasy garage floors as we would to wash our sensitive skinned babies, in our facial cleansers,  and our shampoo's (people and pets).  SLS can penetrate a child's eye and prevent it from developing correctly, wow, it is horrifying that it is even allowed in children's products, it is also a known fact that it can cause cataracts in adults is allowed into the eye, if it does this to humans don't you think it does similar things to the pets that we wash?  I mean I know all of us professionals are super careful around eyes, but sometimes a dog moves wrong and soap gets in the eye by accident or what have you, its dangerous to get this stuff in eyes.

    Not only is it harmful to eyes but it is absorbed into our skin (for bathers that means all day long starting with your own shower in the morning and ending with your last dog of the day or your second shower of the day). Once it is absorbed it is stored in our liver, brain and heart for a long time, and it mimics the natural hormone Oestrogen, wreaking havoc on our hormones. It is also absorbed into the pets skin.  If you visit the SLS page on Environmental Working Group's (EWG) webpage you will find a very long list of health concerns, yet it seems to be present in everything.

     What can you do about it?  Choose a sulfate free shampoo line.  Ritzi Pawz is sulfate and paraben free, it's cleansing agent is oil based rather that salt based, oils cleanse and nourish skin, salts strip and dehydrate skin.  The flax seed oil really hydrates the skin on the pet, their hair and my hands.  The edges around my nails have always been dry and crackly and, as gross as it sounds, I was constantly picking at the skin, sometimes even causing my fingers to bleed.  I have been using Ritzi Pawz for a solid month and I knew my hands felt better but last night I was just like, "Wow, my hands feel normal, like a normal woman's hands would feel, soft, supple and moisturized", and that is big.

     I know what you're thinking, you've tried some sulfate-free products and they just haven't worked well, they leave a film on the coat, etc., well not Ritzi Pawz.  It cleans excellently, the naturals oils dissolve oil and dirt on the coat but also absorb into the skin and hair and the rest rinses clean easily, leaving no residue behind.  Pets dry quickly and beautifully with no residue or silicones from conditioners.  Because there is no SLS it is very low suddsing and that plays mind tricks on some thinking that it can't be working but I promise it does, bubbles are not what makes something clean.  If you are tired of having dry, cracked hands and having owners complaining of pets with itchy skin give Ritzi Pawz a try!

If you are concerned at all for the health of yourself, your bathers, and the pets that you groom then Ritzi Pawz is your best choice!


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     For more info on why never to use products with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate go to