Wherever you go, hand sanitizers are virtually everywhere around you. They are in stores, outside school classrooms, and even in bathrooms, where, according to research, you should spend most time washing your hands. In case you’re an ardent user of hand sanitizer, there are numerous sound reasons why you should fall out of this habit.
WHAT HAND SANITIZERS DO
What hand sanitizers do is clean your hands of germs, remove excess moisture and replace soap and hot water due to its 60% content of alcohol. It evaporates quickly after being scrubbed into your hands, apparently leaving them clean and free of bacteria.
REASONS TO STOP USING CONVENTIONAL HAND SANITIZERS
However, hand sanitizer is far from the miracle solution many hold it for. If you fall into the group of people who regularly use hand sanitizer instead of soap and hot water, you’d better learn what it does to your hands and why you should replace it:
- Resistance to antibiotics is likely to occur. Numerous hand sanitizers contain triclosan, an antibiotic that theoretically destroys 99% of the bacteria living on your hands. However, bacteria are adaptable, so when you use antibiotics unnecessarily, they simply adjust and become more resilient. Consequently antibiotics become ineffective when you really need them.
- Your hormonal levels are adversely affected. Triclosan’s effect on hormonal levels is a major cause of concern. Research shows that triclosan disrupts hormone levels, predominantly in children and young adults, which can have lifelong consequences.
- Hand sanitizer poses a serious danger to young children as they put everything in their mouths so with a few pumps of hand sanitizer equalling several shots of alcohol, it’s easy for children or pets to get alcohol poisoning by accident.
- Triclosan may have an adverse effect on your immune system as well. Because of their speed and convenience hand sanitizers are often used at hospitals. Research shows that those who regularly depend on sanitizer rather than soap are at a higher risk for serious illness.
- Sanitizers leave you exposed to germs and bacteria. As mentioned before, the main component of hand sanitizer is alcohol. Using this on your hands on regular basis can be extremely drying. This can cause the skin on your hands crack, thus giving bacteria direct access to your body.
A NATURAL SOLUTION
Luckily, you can make your own hand sanitizer that uses healthy, safe ingredients in case you want to sanitize your hands without having to turn to triclosan-laden mixtures. Obtain a four ounce spray bottle, half-fill it with water then add these ingredients:
- 30 drops of lemon, lime, lavender, or melaleuca oils; mix and match for a total of 30 drops
- 8 to 10 drops of vitamin E oil
- 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel
Shake up well before use. This sanitizer will render your hands smooth and soft rather than dried out and cracked because of its oil content. As the essential oils in this sanitizer are powerful anti-germ treatment, they will provide the same protection as the conventional pharmaceutical mixtures.