Let’s face it: We have all had the following question at least once in our mind in the last couple of months:
Are hand sanitizers safe?
I can understand the despair that we all face when trying to find answers about hand sanitizers. Our confusion is certainly justified. We have started using hand sanitizer like water.
However, no one tells us if using sanitizer works and whether it is a safe choice. In this post, I will do it for you. Let’s break a few myths and get started on our conversation about hand sanitizers!
Clean and Hygienic Verus Germs-Killing
People have the common notion that all sanitizers, including sanitizer spray, are alcohol-based. Well, not always. Take for instance the new trend of ‘herbal sanitizers’.
Did you know that these herbal sanitizers do not contain alcohol? That is right. The function of such sanitizers is from minimum to negligible as they cannot kill bacterial germs and viruses. They can only decrease the multiplication of germs.
You might think that a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer is a good option because it gives you the chance to avoid chemicals. But if it cannot serve the primary purpose of killing germs, how useful is it? Plus, these herbal sanitizers do contain chemicals, it is just that their effect is milder.
Alcohol-based sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol by water) like Purell Hand Sanitizer can increase the efficiency of killing germs by 75%-90%.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, only sanitizers that kill germs can use the term “anti-bacterial” to describe their products. “Clean and hygienic” doesn’t always mean the sanitizer can kill germs.
Are Hand Sanitizers Safe?
If you purchase a hand sanitizer or a spray sanitizer, make sure it has more than 60% alcohol. With lesser alcohol, you get limited protection because apparently germs and bacteria become resistant to those sanitizers.
It’s pretty simple: If you apply sanitizer on visibly dirty hands, it only gives you a false sense of safety. In reality, you have as many germs on your hands as before. Wonder why? It is because alcohol does not work against oily or greasy hands. A sanitizer protects you only if you apply it correctly.
It works on the mechanism that alcohol has a low boiling point. That means alcohol needs small heat to evaporate along with germs. If you rub your hands properly with an alcohol-based sanitizer, the friction gives that heat and you kill the germs within seconds!
The Best Alternative
If you feel anxious about using alcohol on your skin constantly, there is a safe alternative for you. The best way out of excessive chemical usage is to wash your hands with soap and water.
Antibacterial soaps not only kills germs but also removes pesticides or heavy metal that might get stuck on the surface of the hand. However, it is also true that you cannot find soap and water at all times.
That brings us to the final point. Keeping a sanitizer with you is not just a matter of choice but also a necessity. In situations of need, it works best to kill germs. But remember to choose a sanitizer that fulfills its purpose.
How To Choose Sanitizers
The correct way to pick a sanitizer is to see if it matches the Current Good Manufacturing Process guidelines. Hand sanitizers such as Purell Hand Sanitizer work best because they have 70% ethyl alcohol. Suave Spray Sanitizer is a good pick because it contains 68% ethyl alcohol.
If your sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by water and does not react with your skin, it is the right pick. As long as you stay hygienic and moisturize your hands every day, safe sanitizers won’t affect you or your skin.
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