Hand sanitisers have become an essential part of our daily lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are an effective way to kill germs and prevent the spread of infections, including COVID-19. However, not all hand sanitisers are created equal. In this guide, we will explore what to look for and what to avoid when you buy hand sanitisers.
What to Look for in Hand Sanitizers
1. Alcohol content
The most important factor to consider when buying a hand sanitiser is its alcohol content. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand sanitiser should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective in killing germs. Therefore, make sure to check the alcohol content on the label before buying any hand sanitiser.
2. Type of alcohol
The type of alcohol used in hand sanitisers is also essential. The two most common types of alcohol used in hand sanitisers are ethanol and isopropanol. Both are effective in killing germs, but ethanol is gentler on the skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, look for a hand sanitiser that contains ethanol.
3. Other ingredients
Apart from alcohol, hand sanitisers may contain other ingredients, such as moisturizers, fragrances, and preservatives. Moisturizers are added to prevent the skin from drying out, fragrances are added for a pleasant smell, and preservatives are added to prolong the shelf life of the product. However, some of these ingredients may be harmful or irritating to the skin. Therefore, read the label carefully and avoid hand sanitisers that contain ingredients that you are allergic to or that may cause skin irritation.
The packaging of hand sanitiser is also important. Look for a hand sanitiser that comes in a small, portable bottle that you can easily carry in your purse or pocket when you buy hand sanitiser. This way, you can use it whenever you need to, especially when you don’t have access to soap and water. Additionally, make sure that the bottle is leak-proof and has a secure cap to prevent spills.
What to Avoid in Hand Sanitizers
1. Low alcohol content
As mentioned earlier, hand sanitiser should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Therefore, avoid hand sanitisers that contain less than 60% alcohol, as they may not be able to kill germs effectively.
2. Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Some hand sanitisers are marketed as non-alcohol-based, using ingredients like benzalkonium chloride instead. However, the CDC recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitisers as they are more effective in killing germs. Therefore, avoid hand sanitisers that do not contain alcohol.
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that is sometimes added to hand sanitisers as a substitute for ethanol or isopropanol. However, it can be absorbed through the skin and cause serious health problems, including blindness and death. Therefore, make sure to read the label carefully and avoid hand sanitisers that contain methanol.
4. Harmful ingredients
As mentioned earlier, some hand sanitisers may contain harmful ingredients such as triclosan, parabens, and phthalates. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that may contribute to antibiotic resistance, parabens are preservatives that may disrupt hormones, and phthalates are plasticizers that may interfere with the endocrine system. Therefore, read the label carefully and avoid hand sanitisers that contain these ingredients.
Hand sanitisers are a convenient and effective way to kill germs and prevent the spread of infections, but not all hand sanitisers are created equal. When buying a hand sanitiser, make sure to check the alcohol content, type of alcohol, other ingredients, and packaging.
Avoid buying hand sanitiser that contains low alcohol content, non-alcohol-based ingredients, methanol, and harmful ingredients like triclosan, parabens, and phthalates.