THREE TIPS TO PICK THE BEST HAND SANITIZER
Updated: Aug 5
Hand sanitizing (disinfecting) gels have become a staple in everyone's home since covid-19 began to spread. Antiseptics are intended for use when soap and water aren't available, but for many they're more than just a convenience. They help keep us safe from germs and viruses, but can also leave our hands dry, cracked, sensitive and even painful at times which is why it's important to look for the following three characteristics:
#1 IT HAS TO KILL GERMS, NOT YOUR HANDS!
The CDC guidelines state that a concentration of 60% alcohol or more works well (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html). Some brands carry alcohol in excess of 70% which may be excessive and lead to higher skin drying and irritation. Make sure to buy brands that only include the types of alcohol that are recommended by the FDA and CDC. Brands containing methanol are banned. Ethyl alcohol is the FDA's recommended form along with Isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol evaporates quicker at higher concentrations, giving it less time to be in contact with the skin and the germs it needs to kill. Gels formulated with 65% alcohol and a thick base to provide longer-lasting contact with the skin without over-drying it.
#2 IT SHOULDN'T SMELL LIKE PURE RUBBING ALCOHOL
Nothing will work as intended if you don't use it. Sanitizers have high amounts of alcohol by any standard, which is drying and carries a strong odor. The inactive ingredients, or carrier base, can help mask the scent of alcohol and add moisturizing or protective properties. Look for sanitizers with natural essential oils such as citrus or lavender, to cover up the smell of the alcohol better than Vitamin E or Aloe. Lavender and other essential oils also help moisturize and protect the skin from drying, which is a direct consequence of using hand sanitizers frequently.
#3 IT HAS TO BE AVAILABLE WHEN AND WHERE I NEED IT
Pick a sanitizer that meets your needs. Individualized bottles are best to avoid sharing bottles and avoiding cross-contamination. A bottle has to be small enough to fit in a purse or pocket and yet large enough to last at least with daily use. A gallon of hand sanitizer will serve my needs in one room for a year, but that's not practical for most people. And, pouring gels from one bottle to another without spilling most of it is difficult at any age. For most people, a 4 OZ bottle that's easy to carry is ideal for any situation.