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— Karen  Black —






— Karen  Black —

Why handwashing should be your preferred option over hand sanitizers


February 2, 2021


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A year on since the outbreak of covid-19, there is more awareness of health and hygiene than ever before. We have seen an enormous increase in sanitizers. They come in all forms, shapes, smells, and formulas. From dispensers to wipes, soaps to sprays. This is an exponentially increasing category that is also present in the cosmetic industry. 

Over the years, there has been some intriguing and exciting research on these topics. For instance, in Wiltshire (closed in 1989). A research facility conducted some interesting experiments where they made a fascinating observation when a volunteer was equipped with a tool that simulated a drippy, runny nose. 

The person then socialized and mingled with other volunteers — like a party. Unknown to the volunteers the fluid contained a dye (visible under ultraviolet light), and they were amazed to see that the stain was everywhere. On people’s hands, head, upper body of every volunteer, glasses, doorhandles, furniture and food, you name it. Yuck! 

In 2015 researchers oversaw a study in Australia, concluding that the average person touches their face approximately 24 times per hour! Also, half the time we touch our mouth, eyes, or nose, it’s astonishing we are not sick all the time! But is it really?

The right old way to transfer cold germs is physical, by touch. (Odly, the least effective way is kissing, according to another study 🙃)  

To make your hands clean, you need thorough washing with soap and water for at least a minute. 

When you think of this and the uprising aggravating skin conditions reports, we need to think about what antibacterial hand sanitizers do. Yes, they get rid of the nasty bacteria, etc., but also the good ones. Another study compared our microbes, our habitat as ‘another organ.’ We depend so much on these microscopic residents.

By targeting the versatile and good bacteria, you provoke a defensive mechanism, the immune system. Your good bugs are friendly and are there to keep things in check.

Overuse of hand sanitizers can contribute to antibiotic resistance.  They target a versatile range of bacteria, with a blend of compromising ingredients, creating a formula that compromises the microbiome and weakens the skin barrier.

These products aren’t that clever 😵, because they don’t know the good bacteria from the bad, and as a result, our barrier is stripped from all microbes. Harmful microorganisms can get to the ‘cracks’ (literally) causing quite a bit of havoc and negatively affect the immune system.

Let’s consider the following facts …

  • Our hands are a habitat for all kinds of germs, good ones, and bad ones.
  • The right way to wash hands? Research suggests 1 minute (at least) warm soapy water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Use a paper towel to turn off the tap and open up the door handle of public places. Extreme you may think? It’s pointed out that there are more germs on the fixtures and door handles than in the toilet water bowls …. 
  • Is homemade hand sanitizer ok? The dilemma with creating your own homebrew is that a lot of people amongst us aren’t that savy with maths and cosmetic formulas.  Sometimes instructions are taken lightly if taken at all, resulting in an unusable product if not faulty. 😕😕😕

So is it dangerous to make your own hand sanitizer?

“The Food and Drug Administration regulates hand sanitizers, so the ingredients and the amounts used are accurate and based on good manufacturing. Ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient and OG germ killer in hand sanitizer is the reason they work. But sanitizers are also mixed with emollients — which counteract how harsh the alcohol would otherwise be on our hands. Using the wrong amount of alcohol could make your DIY hand sanitizer ineffective and give you a false sense of security. And using the wrong balance of emollients will leave your skin raw and painfully dry.

Dr. Whyte tells us. 

So what do you do? Your stuck between a rock and a hard place … Not using any hand sanitizer? In my opinion, both have a time and place where they are necessary. As there is not always time and access to soap and water. In these circumstances, sanitizers come in handy

— no pun intended 😉

However, my advice is to minimize sanitizers, aim to use water and soap when you can, and replenish your skin barrier with an excellent nourishing hand cream.  Using cosmetic formulations, skin care ranges that are physiological compatible, and corneotherapeutic. (; minimize touching your face, and clean surfaces like mobiles, keyboards, remotes, handles frequently.

Sanitize and clean, but let’s not forget the GOOD MICROBES that live on us DEPEND ON THE PRODUCTS we use, so think carefully about what we are putting on our skin. 

Love the skin you’re in,

Karen XX

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I'm Karen and I'm so happy you're here. You'll find this is an insight guide about all things skin. Stay a while and say hello!

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