The Truth about Hand Sanitizer
The Truth about Hand Sanitizer: 5 Myths Debunked
Hand sanitizer is one of the most important products in healthcare today. Designed to kill 99% of germs and bacteria on your hands, it has now become an essential part of daily hygiene routines in schools and educational establishments as well as healthcare facilities and a host of other public places.
Hand sanitizer is highly recommended by doctors, healthcare workers, and parents alike because of its effectiveness in preventing the spread of illness. However, there are several myths associated with hand sanitizing that are not true, and in this post, we will debunk five of the most common hand sanitizing myths that tend to circulate today.
Myth #1 – Hand Sanitizer is Bad for Your Skin
Facts: Hand sanitizers contain alcohol which can dry the skin, but it does not cause any harm if used as per manufacturers’ instructions.
Not all hand sanitizers are created equal, but many good sanitizers contain an emollient which actually helps to moisturize your skin while killing germs. This makes them extremely effective for use on a daily basis without causing damage or drying of the hands.
Myth #2: Hand Sanitizing Gels Damage the Environment
Facts: Hand sanitizing gels do not cause any environmental damage because they are designed to break down in the environment and biodegrade. Hand sanitizing gels come under a broad category of personal care products which include cosmetics, soaps, detergents, and toothpaste among others. All these products go through rigorous testing before being made available for consumer use.
Myth #3: Hand Sanitizer Creates Superbugs
Facts: Bacteria and fungi that have become resistant to the drugs meant to destroy them are known as ‘superbugs’. Although there has been some concern around superbugs and hand sanitizing – the issue is actually related to ‘Triclosan’ which is a chemical found in many antibacterial products such as soaps and hand cleansers. Most hand sanitizers however, do not contain Triclosan and therefore do not contribute to the creation of superbugs.
In addition, many CDC studies have found no evidence supporting the claim that hand sanitizer causes superbugs or increased risk of infection when used properly.
Myth #4 – Hand Sanitizer Can Cause Antibiotic Resistance
Facts: Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean your hands does not cause antibiotic resistance – the alcohol in hand sanitizers kills germs swiftly, and is not left behind on your skin to allow the germs to become resistant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the primary cause of antibiotic resistance is the repeated and improper use of antibiotics.
Myth #5 – Hand Sanitizer Removes the Good Germs As Well as the Bad
Facts: Transient organisms – the harmful ones – occupy the skin’s outer layers and are removed by the use of hand sanitizer. Indeed, there are also good germs – resident organisms that are part of the skin’s natural microflora – but many of these are located throughout the skin’s various layers and therefore are not typically harmed. Although any good germs present on the skin’s surface are by hand sanitizer, these germs repopulate quickly, so it is not necessary to worry about the effects on your skin’s ecosystem.
Hand sanitizer is proven to be safe and effective when used properly. Hand sanitizing is not a replacement for good hand hygiene, which includes proper handwashing with soap and water, but it can help prevent the spread of bacteria in public places and other environments where hands may come into contact with germs. Hand sanitizers are intended to supplement handwashing, not replace it.
If you have any questions about these or any other hand sanitizer myths or would like more information about our products, feel free to contact us – we’ll be happy to help.