9 Side Effects of Using Hand Sanitizer, According to Doctors

Raise your hand if you're lucky enough to have a bottle (or 40) of hand sanitizer. Only one problem: there's a good chance the hand is dry and cracked. Hand sanitizer has certain side effects that can affect your skin and more. They are an essential tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, but not without problems of their own. We asked the top professionals how they can minimize the pain so you can keep using hand sanitizer without any problems. Read on and don't miss these safe signs you've already had with coronavirus to ensure your health and the health of others.
Hand sanitizer can increase your risk of eczema
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Man with sick hands
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommends washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if not available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. It is important to follow this advice, but "increased exposure to irritants and allergens can increase the risk of hand dermatitis or" eczema. "This often manifests itself on the skin with redness, dryness, cracks, and even blisters that cause itching or pain "Caroline Nelson, dermatologist and instructor at Yale School of Medicine at Yale Medicine, told Eat This, Not That! Health.
The Rx: "It's important not to overdo the disinfectant and keep it hydrated after each use," advises dermatologist Peterson Pierre, M.D., of the Pierre Skin Care Institute.
"Using a moisturizer, ideally containing mineral oil or petrolatum, can help prevent hand dermatitis. While the moisturizer should be used immediately after hand washing, using a hand sanitizer does not. Individuals should keep their hands around 15-30 Rub against each other for seconds, cover all surfaces with hand sanitizer until your hands are dry, and then apply a moisturizer, "says Dr. Nelson.
Hand sanitizer can irritate your skin
Young woman scratches the itch on her hands with redness rash.
"Hand sanitisers are antiseptic products - they were developed to disinfect the skin," says Vanessa Thomas, cosmetic chemist and founder of Freelance Formulations. "The primary disinfectant ingredient in hand sanitizer formulas is ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. They are formulated along with thickeners, plasticizers, and sometimes fragrances to help curb the strong odor of alcohol. Frequent use can cause skin irritation or dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, the effects can be worse. The dehydration is caused by alcohol. "
The Rx: "Washing your hands with warm water and soap is the best way to kill germs, but sometimes you don't have access to a sink and soap," says Thomas. "If you can't minimize the use of hand sanitizer, it's a good idea to use a moisturizing regime. Dry skin is caused by a lack of water in the skin. A moisturizer with humectants and occlusive agents is best suited to film over the skin, to hold in moisture, and humectants (hyaluronic acid is an example of this) help draw water to the skin. "
Some formulations can affect fertility
Black man holds belly of his pregnant wife who makes heart
"Some hand sanitizers consist of alcohol such as ethyl alcohol as an active ingredient that acts as an antiseptic," says Dr. Chris Norris, Licensed Physiotherapist and Neurologist and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of California from sleepstandards.com. "However, there are some alcohol-based hand sanitisers that are made up of an antibiotic called triclosan or triclocarban. Several research studies have reported that triclosan poses a health risk because of its negative effects on fertility, fetal development and the rate of asthma, "
The Rx: "It is always recommended to wash your hands with soap and water to completely eradicate the germs. Only use disinfectants when soap and water are not available," says Dr. Norris. Avoid those with triclosan or triclocarban. A full list of dangerous hand sanitizers that the FDA recommends never to buy can be found here.
Some could cause resistance to antibiotics
Pharmacist holds medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore.
"Exposure to triclosan increases the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance to antibiotics," says Dr. Norris. Again, find one without triclosan.
RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID Doctors Say
Some can cause hormonal problems
After long periods of wear, take off uncomfortable glasses and massage the bridge of your nose
"According to the FDA, triclosan in a hand sanitizer also causes hormonal problems. This allows the bacteria to adapt to their antimicrobial properties, creating antibiotic-resistant strains," says Dr. Norris.
Some affect your immune system
Man with allergy or infection sneezing
"Triclosan also weakens the human immune function. The weakened immune system makes people more susceptible to allergies," says Dr. Norris.
RELATED: If You Are Feeling This You May Have Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci
Some can affect your physical development
Woman wearing protective mask reading label on bottle while buying hand soap in supermarket during virus epidemic
"A hand sanitizer with too much fragrance could be loaded with toxic chemicals such as phthalates and parabens. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that can affect the development and reproduction of the human body. Parabens are chemicals that negatively affect hormone function, fertility and birth outcomes and reproductive development, "says Dr. Norris.
The Rx: Find a hand sanitizer free from phthalates and parabens.
You could get a skin condition
Women scratch itchy arm with hand.
"Excessive use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers to protect against germs and infectious pathogens could inversely increase the risk of infection from skin diseases. Overdoing it can remove benign bacteria on the skin that are not good," says Dr. Norris.
The Rx: "Unlike hand sanitizer, soap and water can effectively remove dirt and debris and pesticides and other chemical residues that are left on your hands," says Dr. Norris.
Hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning
Child hand with antibacterial antiseptic hand disinfectant gel
Because many hand sanitizers are high in alcohol, doctors see cases of alcohol poisoning when ingested. "Because hand sanitizer is readily available, there have been many cases around the world where adolescents have been hospitalized with alcohol poisoning for hand sanitiser use," said Dr. Norris.
The Rx: Don't drink it! Keep it away from your kids and train your teens. Call 911 immediately if you swallow hand sanitizer.
Doctors final thoughts
Girl washing her hands under running water in a black vanity
"Hand sanitisers are a good alternative to reduce the potentially infectious microbial load on the hands or skin - such as viruses, bacteria, fungi - when soap and water are not immediately available," says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, FAAD, certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, in private practice at SkinSafe Dermatology. But remember, "They do not remove physical dirt / grime / slime and so are not intended to be physically washed with your hands."
"Hand sanitizer isn't as good as soap," warns Dr. Norris. "Relying on hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean may not be your best strategy." And for the healthiest way to weather this pandemic, don't miss these 35 places that are most likely to catch COVID.

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