The world’s use of hand sanitizer has skyrocketed to the degree that shortages and rationing are a normal part of our daily experience. In combination with wearing masks, plexiglass dividers, and social distancing, hand sanitizer has become a key component of protecting ourselves against the spread of COVID. If you’ve ever wondered how many people in the US are using hand sanitizer at the moment, prepare to be astounded. A whopping 77% of all Americans have made hand sanitizer use a part of their daily routine. Even more disturbing is how many of them haven’t accounted for the harsh effects this can have on their skin.
How Using Hand Sanitizer Can Affect Your Dermatological Health
It doesn’t take much careful deduction to realize that using hand sanitizer on your hands every day has got to come with some consequences. You just have to remember how much alcohol is generally contained in it and how drying that can be to your skin. This is just one of the concerns you have to keep in mind; find out more below:
- Drying – We already mentioned that alcohol could dry your skin, but it gets worse. When our hands get really dry, the skin can start to crack, making us more susceptible to viruses in our environment. If you guessed this includes COVID, congratulations.
- Good Bacteria Suffer Too – Many people forget (or never knew) that our skin is home to more than just us. Every part of our body is crawling with bacteria, with much of it serves an important role in protecting us. Alcohol doesn’t discriminate in these cases; it kills it all. This can make us even more susceptible to illness.
- Alcohol-Free Isn’t A Free Ride – Thinking you’re safe because there’s no alcohol in your hand sanitizer? The bad news is even triclosan, the alternative, wipes out healthy bacteria. It’s also known for stimulating the growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
- Triclosan Sensitivity – As another potential drawback to alcohol alternatives, some people are sensitive to triclosan and may experience health problems while using products containing it. One such effect is impairing your immune system, making you more vulnerable to sickness.
All of these effects mean that the skin of your hands is more susceptible to conditions that can cause rashes, illness, or just irritation. One last note about hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based sanitizers are flammable immediately after application, so be sure to keep your hands away from open flames until it dries.
How To Protect Your Hands While Using Hand Sanitizer
Once hand sanitizer dries, it’s no longer effective at stopping bacteria, so it’s safe to apply moisturizer to your hands at this point. Keeping a vial of ointment on hand is a good way to ensure you prevent concerns related to dry skin. If you’re still suffering from aftereffects, speak to your dermatologist for more advanced solutions, such as medicated ointments.