How Hand Sanitizer Could Be Ruining Your Health
For the germaphobes around the world, you’ll find many of them carrying around a bottle of hand sanitizer in tow. While some people go to extreme measures with this, you can still see why people have these in handy now more than ever.
In 2017, a study published in the journal Germs assessed 27 cell phones and found an average of 17,000 bacterial gene copies per phone. Not to mention this year there has been an outburts of pandemic of the COVID-19 aka the coronavirus that is still on the rise today.
But while having hand sanitizer might seem like a smart idea, using it too often could actually do more harm than good for your health. And you can start to see why when you look more into a hand sanitizer.
There Is Triclosan
Hand sanitizer has several ingredients, but the biggest one you need to be familiar with is triclosan.
Also known as TCS, this is the active ingredient in some hand sanitizers. And while this ingredient does a good job at stripping away microbes, a 2018 study found that it was also successful in spurring the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The study found that in 30 days, exposure to even 0.2mg can cause us to build up drug resistance to E. coli.
There Is Ethyl Alcohol
On the note of ingredients, there is also ethyl alcohol. This is another big active ingredient in some hand sanitizers. These are often the most potent hand sanitizers on the market. So much, so that the CDC recommends this as the hand sanitizer to go for.
But this too has its drawbacks. Overusing this sanitizer can lead to chronic irritation, skin breakdown and damage. After all, you are rubbing alcohol on your skin and alcohol on skin is known to cause dryness and cracks in your skin.
On top of that, the alcohol can also suppress the healing process your skin goes through to repair itself.
What’s also worth noting is that not all bacteria is bad. We hear a lot about bad bacteria all the time because they cause a lot of issues. However, bad bacteria is only a small percentage of the bacteria in the world. Most of the bacteria in the world is actually really good for us.
So overthinking the fact that alcohol can kill a lot of beneficial bacteria, you’re essentially beating down your natural defences without realizing it.
Use It As A Final Option
Because of these ingredients and the damage that it can do to your health and skin, the key here is to use hand sanitizers as final resorts. Overuse of these can do more harm than good.
Instead, follow the CDC’s official guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus. If you are out in public, make sure you are washing your hands with water and soap. Make sure that you’re washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. This will remove a lot of debris and allergens that hand sanitizers typically leave behind.
Make a point of staying indoors more as the coronavirus continues to spread. It doesn’t hurt to stock up and self-quarantine for a few weeks as this blows over.