Germs are everywhere. Nearly every single thing we touch during the course of a regular day is contaminated, from our mobile phone to our computer keyboard, door handles to money.
These germs enter our body through our eyes, nose, and mouth, which we frequently touch without even realizing it.
Once inside our body, the only thing keeping these microbes from infecting us is the strength of our immune system.
But wouldn’t it be great if you could help your immune system out by keeping your hands clean and preventing these harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi from entering your body?
We’ve been taught to regularly wash our hands with soap and water since we were kids, and this remains the most effective method to get rid of contaminants we inevitably pick up along the way.
However, very few people bring soap wherever they go, and a lot of places you visit won’t have them either. So when you’re out and about, a hand sanitizer can quite literally come in handy.
How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?
A hand sanitizer is a liquid, gel, or foam generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands.
Hand sanitizers provide a convenient and effective way to clean your hands if soap and water aren’t available and your hands aren’t covered in visible dirt or grease.
The key ingredient in most hand sanitizers is alcohol. According to a 2014 review published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, alcohol destroys disease-causing agents, or pathogens, by breaking apart proteins, splitting cells into pieces, or messing with a cell’s metabolism.
Solutions with as little as 30% alcohol have some pathogen-killing ability, and the effect increases with increasing alcohol concentration. Studies have shown that alcohol kills a broader variety of bacteria and viruses when the concentration exceeds 60%.
Another strength of alcohol is that the bacteria it kills does not develop a resistance to it, so the alcohol doesn’t lose effectiveness with continued use.
A 2019 ruling by the FDA states that a product can be marketed as a hand sanitizer if it contains ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient.
Ingredients other than these three have shown little to no evidence of being effective at killing germs and have not won the FDA’s approval.
Ingredients to Avoid in Hand Sanitizers:
Triclosan is a synthetic pesticide that’s often added to detergents and soaps and personal care products for its antibacterial properties, but it’s important to note that it does not have the power to kill viruses that cause colds and cases of flu.
In 2016, the FDA banned its use from antibacterial soaps, but the new regulation still permits its use in products outside of antibacterial hand soaps.
Triclosan has been associated with hormone disruption, cancer, liver damage, and the development of super-germs. Avoid anything with triclosan or triclocarban on the label.
2. Fragrance and Phthalates
These two bad guys often go hand-in-hand, as phthalates help fragrances stick around longer.
Across multiple research studies, fragrance ingredients are classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins, and carcinogens.
3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate
SLS and SLES are surfactants, which dissolve surface tension in water to help products like soaps and detergents foam.
Unfortunately, they’re associated with a lot of health risks that range from skin, lung, and eye irritation to organ toxicity, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
Parabens are preservatives and anti-microbial commonly used in cosmetics, personal care products, and, sadly, some foods.
Parabens stop fungus and bacteria from growing in liquids, lotions, and creams and help extend shelf life, but are linked to a multitude of health risks, including cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive interference, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.
Tips on Choosing and Using Hand Sanitizers
1. Be wary of alcohol-free hand sanitizers, as they might not be as effective. These products may not work as well on many germs and might only reduce their growth instead of killing them.
2. When applying hand sanitizer, make sure you use enough to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they’re totally dry.
3. Don’t confuse “antibacterial” products with hand sanitizer. Antibacterial soaps and body washes are no longer allowed by the FDA to be marketed, as these products contain triclosan and triclocarban.
4. Be aware that some hand sanitizers may not be kind to your skin. Look for products that contain moisturizers, which help replace some of the water stripped by the alcohol.
Recommendation: Shaklee Get Clean Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer
Typical hand sanitizers can dry out your skin, and with the amount we’re all washing our hands and using sanitizer these days, our hands are taking a beating
Shaklee’s Get Clean Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99% of germs while being kind to your skin.
This fragrance-free, alcohol-based gel kills germs and bacteria and sanitizes your hands without drying them out. Formulated with plant-based moisturizers so your skin stays soft and protected.
No rinsing or drying with towels needed. Safe for the whole family. For more information or to order online CLICK HERE.
“This product has a very nice mild green, earthy, fresh fragrance. Does not have a strong, overwhelming alcohol smell. It also leaves my hands feeling soft.” – Barbara B.