Health

These 4 Reasons Will Make You Never Use Hand Sanitizers Ever Again 

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The world is filled with bacteria and viruses. Every corner of your body and every inch of the earth is occupied by these little critters. Heck, even the depths of the earth have magma level heat-resistant bacteria! I know, it’s scary.

While the majority of these microbes remain harmless to us, those that can cause us harm have the ability to destroy the human race. This is why humans have become quite obsessed with sanitation. As if it wasn’t enough to bathe ourselves with scalding hot water every day of our lives, we are constantly filling our hands with sanitizers all day long.

It seemed, at first, that our fight with bacteria was noble and necessary but have we gone too far? Are these sanitizers causing us more harm than good? Read on to find out the truth.

1. A Lot of Sanitizers Have Harmful Chemicals in Them

Do you know what your hand sanitizers are made of? While the most prominent ingredient is alcohol, hand sanitizers can be made up of a variety of chemicals that provide fragrance and balance out the pH values of the solution.

  • Alcohol

Most hand sanitizers will be alcohol based and can be very drying and irritating to the skin. Not only that, ethyl alcohol is used in several cosmetic products to increase absorption of other ingredients through a process called “defatting”. Defatting refers to a process that disrupts the fatty acids in your skin allowing the ingredients in your sanitizers to eventually seep into your skin.

However, even toxic chemicals such as BPAs have been found to be more easily absorbed in the skin after application of hand sanitizers.

  • Phthalates

These compounds are used to make the fragrance in your hand sanitizer last longer. Phthalates, like BPAs are known endocrine disruptors.

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  • Aminomethyl propanol

Another endocrine disruptor, this compound has been given a toxicity level of 3 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This compound is used to alkalize the pH of skin products, such as hand sanitizers.

2. Hand Sanitizers Can Be Harsh On Your Skin

There’s no going around this one, anything that can harm organic matter like bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites can also have slight adverse effects on humans. The only question is if the risk is worth it. Hand sanitizers contain skin drying ethyl alcohol and glycerin. Ethyl alcohol’s skin-drying properties have already been discussed above so let’s focus on glycerin.

Glycerin is made from plant and animal fats and is found in most, if not all, cosmetic products. The problem with glycerin is that it is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water to itself and when there is not enough water, glycerin can leave your skin feeling dry and irritated.

3. It’s Not Even That Effective

Several studies have shown that hand sanitizers are not even nearly as effective as regular old soap and water. So why bother with it and its potentially toxic compounds if it’s not even that effective anyway.

Hand sanitizers that have at least 65% of alcohol content will be effective against germs, but not a lot of those sweet smelling sanitizers even contain that amount of alcohol and if they did they would be too irritating to use on your skin.

What’s more, unlike soap and water, sanitizers are not that good at washing away dirt, grime and organic compounds that bacteria can feed on. So your hands are just going to get dirtier and dirtier.

4. Using Hand Sanitizers Contribute To Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria

This is perhaps the most alarming and most important thing you can take away from this article. Proper hygiene and sanitation have taken us a long way from the plague and cholera but the over zealousness we have developed against bacteria has only made them stronger.

The overuse of anti-bacterial soap, shampoo, sanitizer, wet wipes etc. has mimicked what improper use of antibiotics has done (but in a smaller scale), it has encouraged antibiotic resistance in bacteria. 

This is especially true of sanitizers that contain triclosan. Triclosan is a germicide often present in cosmetic products such as bath soaps and even toothpaste. It has been found that anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents like triclosan can lead to outbreaks of tough-to-kill bacteria.

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