- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
What You Should Know about Hand Sanitizers
Hand Sanitizers - Are they safe to use?
The following points often cross your mind when you use a hand sanitizer-
- What percentage of germs does a hand sanitizer kill?
- Does it kill the germs that cause the sickness?
- Are the hand sanitizers gentle on your skin?
What is a hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizers are also called hand antiseptics. When there is no soap and water available for washing your hands, a hand sanitizer can be used as an alternative.
A hand sanitizer's base ingredient is alcohol. The alcohol is mixed with glycerin or with polyacrylic acid for thickening. The alcohol kills most bacteria, fungi, and some viruses.
The disadvantage is that the alcohol in the hand sanitizer makes the skin dry. Nowadays, some brands of hand sanitizers have started adding essential oils and other natural ingredients to keep the skin from becoming dry after using the hand sanitizer.
The level of alcohol in hand sanitizers is between 60% - 85%. The alcohol is mixed with thickening agents such as polyacrylic acid for alcohol gels and other humectants such as glycerin for moisturizing properties.
Showcasing a few hand sanitizers -
Burt’s Bees Hand Sanitizer
Burt’s Bees hand sanitizer claims to eliminate 99.99% of germs without soap and water. The product ingredients include witch of hazel and aloe vera which helps to soften and soothe the skin.
Frais Hand Sanitizer
Frais hand sanitizer has 66% of sugarcane alcohol. Sugarcane alcohol is environment-friendly. The unique feature is that this product contains an Australian blend of essential oils called Les Huit including ginger, cardamom, basil, lemon, myrtle, orange, niaouli, tangerine and grapefruit.
Dettol Hand Sanitizers
Dettol Hand Sanitizer Chamomile is available with chamomile extract which leaves your hands soft and refreshing.
Dettol Instant Sanitizer is dermatologically tested and leaves the hand refreshed but without chamomile extract.
"Safe Hands" Hand Sanitizer
"Safe Hands" Hand Sanitizer claims that this product is safe for continuous use even for people who have skin conditions and allergies. It is non-inflammable and safe on surfaces including plastic gloves. It is non-toxic and can be used safely by kids. It kills germs effectively.
Surya Hand Sanitizer
Surya moisturizing hand sanitizer is made with plant ingredients from Brazil. The formula includes Aloe for its soothing and healing properties, Jua a cleansing, refreshing fruit, Acai a powerful moisturizing antioxidant rich in protein and vitamin E with a blend of essential oils including Lavender, Peppermint, and Ylang Ylang. This product does not contain alcohol, synthetic fragrances or artificial coloring. It is dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic.
The United States for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities recommend alcohol-based hand sanitizers as an acceptable alternative to soap and water for hand hygiene.
How to use a Hand Sanitizer?
Apply a small coin sized hand sanitizer to your hands.
Rub hands together covering all the surfaces till they are dry.
If your hands are extremely dirty, the best way is to use soap and water.
Precautions to take while using a hand sanitizer:
Hand sanitizers are inflammable and can catch fire. Be sure that your hands are totally dry before going near a stove or any heated appliance. Some of the hand sanitizers available are non-inflammable. Do not eat before the hand sanitizer fully evaporates from your skin.