You are out with your friends and having a good chat. Suddenly one of your friends takes a small bottle out of his pocket and dabs something on his hand. He rubs it for a few seconds before re-engaging in the conversation. Felt strange? Or have you witnessed this scenario many times in your daily routine? This is one of the latest fads among the people – The usage of hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizers are undoubtedly beneficial in reducing the germ build up in your skin. They are efficient, neat and maintain the overall hygiene of your hand. However, is it extremely safe as they are being marketed in the market? The answer is, unfortunately, a big no. While they can be used as an alternative to soap and water, they can never replace the cleanliness that is got when you use soap and water for washing your hands. It is also really important to limit the usage of them. They are not advisable for regular use and they have to be used only when you do not have access to water and soap nearby. There are also several reasons as to why they should not be used frequently. Let us look at a few of them.
Reasons To Limit The Usage Of Hand Sanitizer:
1. Presence of Triclosan
Triclosan is known for its good antibacterial properties and is a common ingredient in many hand sanitizers. However, the chemical can cause more harm than good in some cases. In some rare scenarios, the chemical can turn as a public health risk and is known to be associated with multiple drug resistance. It is a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment and humans alike. Triclosan is also known to induce muscle spasms and they can weaken your muscles. Nowadays modern hand sanitizers have stopped using this product in their formulas. It is better to avoid sanitizers that have triclosan in them.
2. Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol is one more common ingredient that hand sanitizers use in their structure. They are used as an antimicrobial ingredient to kill bacteria. A normal sanitizer would have about 65% to 70% of ethyl alcohol in it. However, ethyl alcohol can be harmful to your health if digested intentionally or unintentionally. They are known to cause immune dysfunction and in some cases can lead to asthma attacks. There is a minuscule percentage of the population that may be even allergic to ethyl alcohol. Always consult a doctor if you have such symptoms.
3. Limit Of Dirt-Germ Removal
In case you are under the impression that using hand sanitizer can eliminate all the germs from your hands, then think again. In reality, if your hands are too dirty sanitizers may not work effectively. Wipes and such sanitizers are made to clean the basic surface of your hands and they do not work on all the types of bacterium. True – they give out hygiene but they are less effective in certain ways and whenever possible your hands must be washed only with soap and water.
4. Causes Dry Skin
Hand sanitizers are not made of natural products and they are made of harsh chemicals. As a reason, they can be a bad bet for your hands and they can be harmful to your skin if used regularly. The high alcohol content can strip the outer soft layer of your skin. This can lead to dryness and roughness of your skin. Sometimes it can cause even a burning sensation and redness on your skin. It is a strict no for small children.
5. Chemicals For Added Fragrance
While we know that fragrance essential oils are safe and cause an inducing smell naturally, many hand sanitizers prefer the usage of unkind chemicals for inducing the aroma. It is mandatory that the hand sanitizers should have a pleasant smell, but the usage of synthetic fragrances should be avoided at all cost. They are known to be one of the causes of a spike in allergic levels and have been linked to the disruption of hormone generation. Go for the hand sanitizers only if their fragrances have been derived from essential oils. Avoid other sanitizers altogether.
6. Allergic Reactions
Try to discourage your child from using hand sanitizers frequently as they increase the chances of allergy levels. Sometimes your kid’s immune system develops naturally only through bacteria and the hand sanitizers when eliminating these bacteria puts a limit on your kid’s antibody generation. Thus they can be susceptible to many diseases for which their immune system would have been ill-equipped. They also increase the risk of allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases in your kids.
7. Flammable Products
Hand Sanitizers have high alcohol content in them. Naturally, they are flammable due to this presence. Also, they might cause a burning sensation in your hands if used frequently and you might have to be careful when you touch a hot object or while cooking. To minimize any incident always ensure that you rub your hands properly with the sanitizer gel and ensure that it completely evaporates before you carry out your work. It is always better to be safe.
Though hand sanitizers are a quick means to prevent infections and to keep your hand clean, they should be used only in the cases where you have no access to soap and water. It can be used while traveling or while going to a water contaminated place. However, at home try to limit its usage and stick with the ever faithful soap and water wash.