Is Your Hand Sanitiser Actually Protecting You?
As we get out of self-isolation and back into the streets again, there is one additional, critical item that you should have on your person when you do the “phone, wallet, keys” check in 2020—hand sanitiser.
There are now thousands of products marketed as hand sanitiser, but not all are equal. This month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two product recalls because they found hand sanitisers contaminated with methanol.
The problem? People with “substantial” exposure to methanol can experience a host of issues, ranging from nausea and vomiting to blurred vision and headaches.
The chances of the hand sanitiser you buy in your local pharmacy containing methanol are low. Still, among the raft of products available, what’s the best choice for you and your family?
There are subtle yet significant differences between liquid and gel hand sanitisers. There’s also a difference between a medical-grade hand sanitiser and one that isn’t: Sanitisers that contain below 60% alcohol are ineffective.
If this is all news to you, don’t worry. We layout what to look for next time you’re stocking up as well as how to avoid the hand-chapping options that smell like a doctor’s office.
The Key Ingredient in Hand Sanitisers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that when it comes to preventing the spread of coronavirus, “Use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.”
This type of sanitiser not only is more effective at killing germs, but non-alcohol based sanitisers can be harmful and can cause germs to develop resistance to sanitising.
Thankfully, most hand sanitisers contain anywhere from 60% to 95% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol mixed with water and gels like glycol and glycerine to prevent drying out users' skin.
However, there exist sprays with a 30% alcohol content that are virtually useless at killing viruses, mainly if used in the same doses as high-alcohol content sanitisers usually are. Conversely, a 100% alcohol is equally problematic, because water is necessary to make sanitisers effective.
The sweet spot is 70% alcohol. That’s because medical-grade hand sanitisers usually have around 70% alcohol and are tested to show specific pathogen-killing efficacy relevant to hospital settings.
Finally, it’s essential to avoid hand sanitisers that contain triclosan, a synthetic ingredient added to many antibacterial products. The FDA warns that “high doses of triclosan is associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones [and may contribute to] making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”
At Sanity, we're entirely transparent about the ingredients in our medical-grade hand sanitiser. We've put ingredients at the core of our formulations that ensure we are safeguarding skin and providing optimum protection.
The Main Difference Between Liquid, Spray and Gel Hand Sanitiser
You may have already noticed by now that hand sanitisers can come in gel, spray and liquid solutions. So, out of the three options, which is the safest?
Studies have shown that liquid hand sanitiser acts more rapidly (~15 s) and leaves less residual substance on hands. Hand gels, on the other hand, require about 30 seconds to work, and that time loss can reduce effectiveness.
A liquid sanitiser is also more natural to slide around parts of your hand, including between fingers and fingernails. It's why healthcare settings typically opt for this format. One study found that providing doctors with ready access to a liquid alcohol-based hand sanitiser yielded greater compliance with hand hygiene protocols.
Finally, spray hand sanitisers may be somewhat wasteful, as some of the product will miss your hands or be deflected into the air. It’s also harder to administer and may contain less than the required 60% alcohol.
Tying It All Together
To find the right hand sanitiser, the most critical factor is its alcohol content, but the solution it comes in is also a factor in its effectiveness. We recommend using a medical-grade hand sanitiser that contains 70% alcohol and comes in a liquid solution. Above all else, ensure that any product you buy and use is safe and legally registered.
Why Choose Sanity Cares?
Our hand sanitiser products are compliant and registered with relevant EU regulations. They are also both HSE and government approved. For example, our hand sanitiser formulation is compliant with the with BPR, Regulation (EU) 528/2012.
We also understand that your skin is sensitive, which is why we use triethanolamine and glycerine in our formulation. Hand sanitisers shouldn't result in dry or irritated skin to be effective. Instead, you can keep your hands moisturised and protected from harm while protecting yourself from COVID-19.
You can shop our range of products here.