How to Choose and Use Hand Sanitizer
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- Types of hand sanitizers
- What makes our hand sanitizer special?
- How to properly use hand sanitizer
- Final words
Over the past couple of years, hand sanitizer has really taken centre stage.
In early 2020, it was sold out everywhere and you couldn’t even get your hands on it (sorry, I had to). By mid 2020, it seemed that everyone was producing hand sanitizer. Today, you find a big bottle of the stuff by every front door, from public establishment to private residence.
Now the question is: Are all hand sanitizers created equal?
The answer: Unfortunately not.
So today, with COVID-19 cases back on the rise, let’s do a refresher on what to look for in a hand sanitizer.
Types of hand sanitizers
There are two types of hand sanitizers: those formulated without alcohol and those formulated with alcohol.
One of the most common ingredients in alcohol-free hand sanitizers is triclosan. This antimicrobial agent gained major popularity in the late 2000s and, at the time, was found to be in over 90% of liquid, gel and foam soaps.(1) Since then, numerous studies have confirmed concerns about the impact of triclosan on health and the environment.(1) Research also indicates that bacteria can develop a resistance to triclosan.(2)
The most common ingredient in alcohol-based hand sanitizers is ethanol(3) (AKA: ethyl alcohol), although isopropyl alcohol is another popular choice. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers must contain at least 60% alcohol in the finished formulation. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that alcohol-based hand sanitizers also include 3% hydrogen peroxide.(4)
In addition to their effectiveness at rendering many microbes non-functional, there is no evidence that pathogens can develop a resistance to alcohol-based sanitizers.(3) While that’s great news, there are still some issues with alcohol-based formulas.
One of the biggest concerns is the drying effect that so much alcohol has on the skin. With regular use (and who isn’t using the stuff regularly these days?) hands can become dry and even cracked. But not to fear, these concerns are easily addressed by choosing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that includes additional ingredients that benefit the skin. And that’s exactly what we did with our Nourishing Hand Sanitizer!
What makes our hand sanitizer special?
When we developed our hand sanitizer, our top priority was ensuring that the formula was effective and met the guidelines set by WHO. Then, we added some plant-powered goodness to help keep your skin soft, use after use.
In addition to 72% ethyl alcohol and 3% hydrogen peroxide, you’ll also find the following ingredients in our Nourishing Hand Sanitizer:
Sea silt extract: This marine ingredient is extracted from glacial oceanic clay and is rich in minerals that naturally occur in the ocean. Those nourishing minerals help to soothe and hydrate the skin.
Aloe vera: This popular ingredient is well known for its skin soothing and moisturizing properties.
Blueberry extract: Known for its powerful antioxidant properties, this seed extract helps to protect and revitalize the skin.
Calendula: This ingredient is used extensively in dermatology, thanks to its powerful moisturizing properties. It also has anti-irritant properties, which help to calm and soothe irritated skin.
Lavender oil: With high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this ingredient can help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.
After ensuring that our formula would protect against germs and also nourish the skin, we wanted to make sure it didn’t smell like something you’d associate with a hospital. Our Nourishing Hand Sanitizer has a bright and uplifting citrus aroma that comes from essential oil. In addition to providing that classic clean smell, the essential oil also has antibacterial properties.
I’d like to mention that while we formulated our hand sanitizer with skin-nourishing ingredients, the drying effects of the alcohol can’t be completely eliminated.
To help reinforce your skin barrier, I recommend applying a moisturizer after using hand sanitizer. Our All Over Face + Body Lotion is the perfect option! Formulated with olive oil and fast-absorbing jojoba oil, this lightweight lotion moisturizes and hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue.
Having a well formulated hand sanitizer is only the first step in protecting yourself from germs. It’s equally important to use the product properly.
How to properly use hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer can be perfectly formulated but if it’s not used properly, it won’t provide protection against harmful germs. In the interest of keeping everyone healthy, let’s go over the basics of using hand sanitizer.
First, apply the product to the palm of your hand. Ensure that you’ve dispensed enough product to thoroughly cover your hands when distributed. Product packaging might indicate a specific number of pumps (or spritzes) to use; however, if you have large hands, this may not be enough.
Once you’ve dispensed enough product, rub the product over your hands for 30 seconds, making sure to cover the fronts and backs. Allow any excess product to air dry.
Hand sanitizers should be used after coming into contact with a sick person, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, after touching high-touch surfaces, before eating and (of course) after using the bathroom.
If your hands are greasy or visibly dirty, hand sanitizers are not recommended. Soap and water should be used in these situations.
While good old hand washing with soap and water is still the best method for cleaning your hands, it’s not always possible. In those instances, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
To counter the drying effects of the alcohol, choose a hand sanitizer that’s formulated with additional ingredients that benefit the skin, such as aloe vera and calendula. Our Nourishing Hand Sanitizer is the perfect choice!
Dispense enough sanitizer to thoroughly cover your hands and rub for 30 seconds after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, touching high-contact surfaces and using the bathroom.
Choosing a properly formulated hand sanitizer and using it correctly, is one step in keeping our bodies healthy and our hands happy.
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(1) Weatherly, Lisa M, and Julie A Gosse. “Triclosan exposure, transformation, and human health effects.” Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews vol. 20,8 (2017): 447-469. doi:10.1080/10937404.2017.1399306
(2) Yazdankhah, Siamak P et al. “Triclosan and antimicrobial resistance in bacteria: an overview.” Microbial drug resistance (Larchmont, N.Y.) vol. 12,2 (2006): 83-90. doi:10.1089/mdr.2006.12.83
(3) Gold, Nina A., et al. “Alcohol Sanitizer.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 4 November 2021.(4) WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. 12, WHO-recommended handrub formulations.
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