Hand Sanitizers have become an indispensable part of our lives. They are this liquid or gel-based substances which come is easy to carry bottles and are instrumental in keeping our hands germ free. It has become an important part of our personal hygiene. When you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is the best and the most convenient way to keep your hands clean. You can carry it anywhere you want and use whenever you want, be it in office, school, college, while traveling, after a hospital visit, in the gym, park, restaurant, after using public restrooms. You ought to use a hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing. Hand Sanitizers are now available in the form of sprays, wipes, gels and foams and they all are alcohol-based to give maximum protection from germs.
There are generally 2 types of hand sanitizers:
1. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain about 60% or more than 60% of alcohol (ethyl alcohol) as the main ingredient apart from water and glycerin.
2. Non-Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers
Non-alcohol based hand sanitizers have triclosan or triclocarban as the main ingredient which is a powerful antibiotic.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are known to be more effective in killing germs as compared to the non-alcohol version. Alcohol-based sanitizers kill most of the disease-producing germs and bacteria by rupturing the outer membrane of the viruses and bacteria. Thus, making our hands germ free and free of disease-causing bacteria. Initially, hand sanitizers were developed to be used after washing your hand with soap and water. Slowly hand sanitizers became a substitute for soap and water.
Side Effects Of Hand Sanitizers
All the sanitizers that are available in the market are not recommended for habitual use. Always look for the active ingredients mentioned on the label. Some cheaper versions are available which may contain toxic chemicals to give you a pleasant fragrance. If you are going for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer then check the concentration of alcohol, anything less than 60% is not effective in killing germs. The concentration of alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol or isopropyl) in the hand sanitizer should be between 60-95%.
When we talk about the uses of hand sanitizers, we often tend to foresee their flip side. The use of Hand sanitizers can also be disadvantageous. Let’s check and find out more about the side effects of using a hand sanitizer.
1. Presence Of Toxic Chemicals
You may not be aware that your sweet-smelling hand sanitizer is loaded with dozens of harmful chemicals which may be risky for your health. It contains phthalates which are known to interfere with the proper functioning of endocrine glands by mimicking the hormones and could alter genital development. Another harmful ingredient to look out for before buying a hand sanitizer is the parabens, which are commonly found in many skincare products (not so good for your skin)used to extend the shelf life of the products
2. Not Safe For Kids
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain almost 70-95% of alcohol content to kill the bacteria. While using hand sanitizers you should be aware that these are not completely safe for the kids, Due to the high concentration of alcohol, if ingested can lead to alcohol poisoning. You should keep them away from kids.
3. Can Lower The Child’s Immunity
In a recent study, it has been found that using hand sanitizers at a very early age can affect the child’s immunity. The reason being, exposing the child to the ultra-clean environment during the early stages of their life can lead to a weaker immune system. As they grow older, their weak immune system makes them susceptible and vulnerable to various diseases and they tend to fall sick real quick.
4. Its Microbe Killing Property Can Harm Us
Benzalkonium Chloride is the main compound which is commonly found in hand sanitizers. It eradicates the germs by rupturing the outer covering of the cell membranes of virus and bacteria. But this compound is equally harmful to human cells as it irritates the mucosal lining of the cell membranes and induces an allergic reaction in some people.
5. Ineffective In Presence Of Grime Or Residue
If soap and water are accessible, then it is always better to wash your hands with soap instead of using a hand sanitizer. Hand Sanitizers cannot cut through grime, dirt and other residual substances found on your hand, therefore remain ineffective in killing germs. Hence, these residual substances should be washed off properly and only then hand sanitizer should be applied.
6. Dry Out Your Skin
Excessive use of hand sanitizers can damage the skin as it dries out your skin, because of the high alcohol content found in the sanitizer. Alcohol is known to strip your skin off the natural oils making the skin very dry. The acid present in hand sanitizers can dehydrate your skin cells making it prone to cracks and wrinkles. The disease-spreading bacteria can easily enter your bloodstream, by breaking the protective barrier ( i.e skin) of our body.
7. Hormone Disruption
Non-alcoholic hand sanitizers are known to have a high concentration of triclosan which is known for its antibiotic properties. But triclosan is also known to cause hormonal disruptions. Triclosan can cause bacteria to adapt to its antimicrobial environment. This antibiotic-resistant strain is known to cause hormonal fluctuations in the body due to which our body becomes more susceptible to various diseases and infections.
8. Drastically Affects Your Health
Triclosan, which is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, is commonly found in non-alcohol based hand sanitizers. This Triclosan is the main culprit in deteriorating your health. Triclosan is known to cause the formation of strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It quickly enters into the bloodstream through the skin and is responsible for causing various health conditions such as allergic reactions, muscles weakness and drastically affects the hormonal and neurological functioning of the body.
The habit of using a hand sanitizer for maintaining your personal hygiene is a great idea. But it is always better to wash your hands with soap and water and use a hand sanitizer only if both the aforementioned things are not easily accessible.
Therefore personal hygiene, especially hygienic hands are very important for a healthy living.
Hand Sanitizer- Your Defence Against Diseases
Importance Of Isopropyl Alcohol In Hand Sanitizer
MOISTURIZING HAND SANITIZER, 50ML, WITH 70% ALCOHOL, ALOE VERA AND FRENCH LAVENDER
- SANITIZE & MOISTURIZE: All the protection without all the side effects. Sanitize your hands while avoiding the side effects of normal hand sanitizers - dryness, irritation or cracking of the skin.
- USE FOR: Kills 99.99% Germs. Use as a hand sanitizer and to avoid skin problems from normal hand sanitizers. Additionally moisturizes your skin. Use before meals, outdoors, after using public spaces, anytime you need to clean your hand without water.
Written By - Akhila Menon
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