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Alcohol-Based Vs Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are the new fad in parenting town. Most moms and a good number of dad’s have started opting for hand sanitizers to maintain hand hygiene. As a matter of fact it’s the hospitals and maternity clinics that have made the trend go viral amongst parents. As a matter of rule most hospitals insist on parents and visitors using hand sanitizers before handling the baby. Most parents seem to be bringing the habit home with their babies. While parents have taken to using hand sanitizers on a regular basis, they haven’t spent much time on educating themselves about these bottles of instant sanitization.

To start off with, there are basically two types of hand sanitizers.

  1. Alcohol based hand sanitizers: These contain more than 60 % alcohol content. The alcohol content in the sanitizer is what kills off the germs when used. Any sanitizer containing less than 60% alcohol is pretty much useless and as good as not used. The alcohol content in the sanitizers destroys the cells by permeating through the cell membrane. The modulus operandi is such that it does not let the germs become resistant to it since it doesn’t interfere with their biochemistry. Alcohol based sanitizers are the ones that come highly recommended by the scientific community due to ease of use and high effectiveness.

  2. Non Alcohol based hand sanitizers: These hand sanitizers usually have anti microbial components like sodium benzalkonium and the likes that work pretty much like antibiotics when killing germs. And similar to antibiotics, there are chances of the germs becoming resistant to the active ingredient of the sanitizers. These do not come as highly recommended by the doctors.

While both these types of hand sanitizers have their individual pro’s and con’s they do share some common drawbacks that one needs to be aware of when using hand sanitizers. Some of them are as follows

  1. Not a substitute for hand washing: There are no two ways about the fact that a hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing with good old soap and water. Sanitizers are surface reactants and are incapable of destroying germs under layers of dirt and soil. Sanitizers cannot penetrate the dirt on your hands to destroy the germs underneath only adequate washing can.

  2. Skin drying: Both these types of sanitizers tend to dry out the skin after use. Especially when used regularly over a long period of time. When buying a hand sanitizer make sure it comes laden with adequate moisturizers. Dry skin tends to provide a weak skin barrier making it easy for germs to enter the body.

  3. Hazardous when ingested: Both these can cause poisoning when ingested in sizeable quantities. Kids in particularly tend to ingest these due to the sweet fragrances added to these for covering the strong chemical and alcohol smell. As a matter of fact its best to wipe hands with a clean tissue paper after using a sanitizer to clear of any possible residue that remains on the skin.

Whether or not to use a sanitizer and which one to use is an informed call that one must take for themself. 

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