Read this before buying a Hand Sanitizer


What You Should Know: The Pros & Cons of Hand Sanitizer!

The world is currently going crazy over the use of hand sanitizers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales have boosted like never before. For businesses, it’s no more a question of competition against their fellows but rather a competition against time to produce enough sanitizers to meet the needs of their consumers.

Hand sanitizers are antiseptic waterless hand rubs. They are practical and easy to use. However, are they as beneficial as we think they are? Do they have cons in certain circumstances? Can they do more harm than good?

The Benefits of Hand Sanitizers

1. Sanitizers Kill Germs Effectively!

Most hand sanitizers contain a mixture of at least 60% of alcohol and other antimicrobial solvents that can effectively kill germs when used properly.  Germs include bacteria, viruses, and even fungi.

Hand sanitizers work by breaking down the protective lipid-rich wall surrounding coronaviruses. Hand sanitizers do not only protect you from catching COVID-19 but also prevent you from spreading these harmful invisible microorganisms to others.

2. Sanitizers Are Practical: No Handwashing Needed!

You can have clean hands without washing them – sounds great, isn’t it?  Hand sanitizers are practical. They can fit into your pocket, be carried anywhere and used whenever needed.  You don’t need access to clean water, a sink or soap to disinfect your hands.  Another plus point is that it increases compliance with regular handwashing because it makes the process quicker, easier, and immediately accessible.

3. Less Irritating to The Skin: Yes We Love Our Hands

Hand sanitizers are less harsh on the skin than soap. Washing your hands several times a day with soap can strip your skin of its protective layer of natural oils.  Sanitizers, on the other hand, have been specially formulated using emollients like glycerin to prevent the skin from drying out.

The Downside of Hand Sanitizers

1. Not All Sanitizers Work

Not all sanitizers are manufactured in the same way.  The ingredients used, rates of evaporation, concentrations of alcohol, and even the storage capacities differ greatly. Hand sanitizers containing less than 60% of alcohol are less effective at killing the novel coronavirus.

2. Not Effective If Your Hands Are Visibly Dirty

Sanitizers are not effective if your hands are dirty. If you have organic dirt on your hands, for example, oil or grease, you must first wash your hands with soap and water.

3. Some Sanitizers Actually Make Things Worst!

Some hand sanitizers contain triclosan, an antimicrobial agent.  Triclosan has been banned by the FDA for its detrimental effects on the human body. However, they can still be found in some products available on the market.

When exposed to the skin, triclosan is absorbed by the body.  With repeated use, triclosan causes bacterial and antibiotic resistance. Triclosan has also been found to disrupt the normal hormonal balance inside the body.

4. Sanitizers Are Not Effective If You Don’t Know How to Use Them

The improper use of hand sanitizers defeats its whole purpose. To reap all the benefits of sanitizers, it is imperative to apply an adequate amount on one palm and rub it all over both hands without missing out on some surfaces.  Using too little is insufficient to disinfect all surfaces properly.

5. Sanitizers Can Cause Fire Hazards

Alcohol-based sanitizers are flammable and can potentially trigger fire hazards if adequate precautions are not taken. The flashpoint of pure ethanol is 13 °C (55 °F). Sanitizers should be stored in a cool room away from sources of fire such as stoves and cigarettes.

How to Use a Hand Sanitizer Properly?

How to use hand sanitizer

Step 1: Clean your hand from all visible dirt. Press an adequate amount of sanitizer in one palm.  Your hands should be visibly clean before applying the hand sanitizer.

Step 2: Rub the sanitizer all over your hands properly, covering all the surfaces: the whole surface of your palms, fingernails, knuckles, the spaces between your fingers and the back of your hands.

Step 3: Rub until the sanitizer is fully absorbed.

Take Care to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel out of the reach of young children, as it can be very dangerous if swallowed.”

How to Choose the Best Hand Sanitizer?

1. Choose an Alcohol-based Sanitizer

Opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% of ethanol or 70% of isopropanol. Alcohol-based hand rubs are more effective at neutralizing harmful germs as compared to alcohol-free ones.

Caution: Make sure that you are not allergic to alcohol before using it. A patch test is recommended if you have never used alcohol-based substances before.

2. Avoid Sanitizers Containing Harmful Ingredients

Here are some of the ingredients you should avoid:

3. A Good Sanitizer Should Contain an Emollient

You don’t want dry, cracked skin flaking off your hands, don’t you? A good sanitizer never fails to clean the hands while still keeping them hydrated.  Look for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, aloe, Vitamin E, and essential hydrating oils.

Overall, it may be said Hand Sanitizers are:

  • Practical
  • Portable
  • Easy-to-use
  • Effective

The best sanitizer is one that contains at least 60% of alcohol, an emollient and is free of harmful agents like triclosan, phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, and fragrances.

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