8 Things You Didn’t Know About Hand Sanitizer

open hands breaking through texturedThere are a number of interesting facts, myths, and misconceptions about hand sanitizers. Since many people wonder about the true effectiveness of these products, it is definitely worthwhile to learn about some of these surprising facts. After all, everyone wants to stay healthy and ensure that they fight against germs and infections.

hand sanitizer

  1. Hand Sanitizers Do Not Create Super BacteriaAn interesting myth that many people now believe is that hand sanitizers can actually create drug resistant super bacteria. This is simply not true, as long as alcohol is the main ingredient in the product. The Honest Company, for example, makes sure to use at least the standard 60 percent alcohol formulations and sells hand sanitizers that are excellent in terms of maintaining personal hygiene; moreover, they adhere to the highest standards set forth by health authorities and organizations. There is no evidence that bacteria is able to develop a resistance to alcohol. In fact, alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been shown to kill drug-resistant bacteria. Of course, you still need to be careful with natural and non-alcohol based hand sanitizers so be sure to check the label carefully.
  2. Both Dosage and Ingredients Matter Speaking of ingredients used in hand sanitizers, what’s in your preferred product isn’t the only thing that matters. Of course, as mentioned you do want to have a sanitizer comprised of at least 60 percent alcohol. Anything less that this will not be effective and may actually encourage the growth of bacteria, according to Parents Magazine. However, you also need to pay attention to how much you’re using. The proper dose is about a quarter to half-dollar sized dollop. This should be enough to fully cover your entire hands. It is also helpful to get a little bit under your nails.
  3. Hand Sanitizers Are Safe for Babies Babies have skin that’s very thin and delicate, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from hand sanitizers. While the chance for alcohol absorption is fairly high, there are rarely any major effects from exposure in babies and even young children under the age of 6. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it. Make sure to use smaller amounts of hand sanitizer, and your children should be just fine.
  4. Hand Sanitizers Help Protect Against Flu Of course, hand sanitizers can kill a large amount of the flu virus on your hands and even reduce the transmission of gastrointestinal diseases, according to the Consumer Search website. But there are some limits. Since the flu virus is airborne, hand sanitizers offer good, but not total, protection. While using a hand sanitizer to kill germs and viruses should certainly be part of your health conscious daily routine, make sure that it’s not the only thing you do. Germs are everywhere; protection needs to be multi-faceted and cover not only the hands but also the face and other areas on the body.
  5. Soap and Water Doesn’t Eliminate More Germs Should you wash your hands or sanitize them? That’s a question you may be wondering. If your hands are visibly dirty, then soap and water is clearly the best option. Hand sanitizers do nothing for actual dirt. The beauty of hand sanitizers is the fact that they work to eliminate germs that are unseen. There have actually been more than 20 studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control which show that alcohol-based hand sanitizers do indeed eliminate more germs than soap and water.
  6. Hand Sanitizers Do Not Irritate Skin The truth is that skin reactions to hand sanitizers are quite rare, even though they do contain alcohol. The inclusion of a number of additional ingredients like emollients actually soothe and protect the skin. Experts also seem to agree on the fact that sanitizers are even gentler on skin than soap and water. Compared to only soap and water, using a hand sanitizer seems to put back more moisture into the skin. This is certainly not a replacement for any other skin treatment currently being used, but it is nice to know that they can help as well.
  7. Big Difference Between Homemade and Store Brands Many people are under the misconception that they can make their own hand sanitizer quite easily. This is not true, at least not a blend or formulation that would be considered effective. Once again, a hand sanitizer needs to have at least a 60 percent alcohol content. It is very difficult to be able to achieve this with a homemade product. If you want the best results, stay away from something homemade.
  8. Hand Sanitizer as Deodorant Just in case you ever forget your deodorant, hand sanitizer can be used as a replacement. The alcohol in the sanitizer kills the bacteria under the arm that causes odor. Plus, the alcohol dries up quickly, so there is no fear of wetness remaining. The alcohol smell also dissipates rather quickly. Just don’t do this every day, since it could dry out the underarm skin and/or cause irritation.

Staying updated and informed about these interesting and unbelievable facts or misconceptions regarding hand sanitizers should help you stay healthier. Just make sure to still wash your hands regularly and follow other standard procedures to keep yourself and your family safe from unwanted germs.