The rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide brought on the need to disinfect and practice proper hand hygiene regularly. This also led to the sudden spike in the demand for household cleaning products, disinfectants, multipurpose cleaners, soap, and other cleaning products meant to remove viruses from the hands and promote the best COVID prevention method.
One product that continues to be in great demand nowadays is hand sanitizer. Now, the question is, are hand sanitizers, especially alcohol-based ones, really safe? Are there negative side effects to the constant use of it? The answer is yes, especially for those who tend to overuse this product.
Yes, a hand sanitizer is a handy bacteria and virus cleaner, but it also contains harmful chemicals and ingredients that may trigger some problems when used excessively.
“To date, most of the effective hand sanitizer products are alcohol-based formulations containing 62%-95% of alcohol as it can denature the proteins of microbes and the ability to inactivate viruses.”
That is a fact published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) about hand sanitizers. The problem is that this alcohol content may also be harmful, especially for kids. You should make it a point not to overuse hand sanitizers as it may cause you to experience side effects from chemicals and alcohols, including but not limited to the following:
Skin problems, like eczema
To prevent coronavirus, one recommendation of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is to do regular handwashing using water and soap for twenty seconds or more. Use hand sanitizers only if water and soap are unavailable. The reason is that constant and increased exposure to allergens and irritants (in some people, alcohol) can make them more prone to developing skin issues and dermatitis.
This means that even if hand disinfection is possible through alcohol-based sanitizers, there are still side effects to overuse on the skin, leading to cracks, dryness, and redness. There are even instances wherein it can trigger blisters accompanied by pain and itchiness. The best way to avoid this from happening is to avoid overdoing hand sanitizers and put on a good moisturizer after each use.
High risk of toxicity
Hand rubbing using alcohol-based sanitizers may also expose you to toxicity hazards when you accidentally ingest the product. As you can observe, the majority of hand sanitizing dispensing machines nowadays can be easily opened. You can see them being strategically placed in accessible spots, which is actually a way to remind the public to make hand cleansing and decontamination a habit.
With the prevalent use of alcohol-based hand rub and sanitizers nowadays, it is advisable to exercise caution whenever you or your kids share a similar environment with toxic chemicals. Keep in mind that the high alcohol concentration in this product may lead to acute poisoning in both kids and adults in case of accidental consumption.
Leads to antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics are designed to prevent bacteria from growing in your body. The problem is that your body may start becoming resistant to these antibiotics or develop bacteria that can resist them. Those are actually possible scenarios with the overuse of alcohol-based sanitizers.
This also happens because of triclosan, which is an active ingredient in the product that may encourage the growth and development of bacteria capable of resisting or fighting antibiotics. With that said, instead of helping you protect hands from COVID, bacteria, and viruses, hand sanitizers may function otherwise. There is a chance for them to kill good bacteria supposed to be helpful in the fight against diseases. The result would be lower resistance against infections and diseases.
One important fact about the human’s immune system is that it is automatically tuned to deal with diseases. Your immune system can be expected to react actively against various illnesses that are plaguing you, especially when viruses and bacteria causing health issues attack your body.
If your immune system is in a state wherein its entire environment is extremely clean, then it won’t be able to perform its main function of fighting something harmful. The problem with this is that it can make its performance weaker. As a matter of fact, people who are exposed to extremely clean environments during the early stages of their life tend to develop a weaker immunity as they grow older.
Since alcohol-based sanitizers aim to give you extremely clean surroundings, it is also highly likely that they can weaken your immunity with overuse and overexposure. Some even say that the triclosan present in the sanitizer causes kids and teens to develop allergies and hay fever.
Other Potential Side Effects
- Hormonal problems
- Skin irritation
- Premature signs of aging on the skin, including cracks, wrinkles, callouses, and flakes
- Asthma and other respiratory conditions
- Eye irritation with constant and prolonged exposure
Are there Safe Hand Sanitizers?
Yes, there are. You just have to look for an alcohol-free hand sanitizer. Getting a hand sanitizer that is alcohol-free can actually help you prevent the negative side effects of alcohol. A famous product known for being all-natural, non-toxic, and harmless because it has zero alcohol is the It’s Nanoed 8-hour Hand Sanitizer.
It is a good hand sanitizer, especially if you want something that can last for a long time. With the use of the It’s Nanoed Technology, you will surely have 8-hour protection whenever you apply it on your hands. Moreover, it can provide up to 30-day bacteria and virus protection whenever you use it on surfaces where these viruses often stay. With the help of this harmless It’s Nanoed hand sanitizer, you will surely be able to protect hands from coronavirus without worrying too much about harsh side effects.