Are hand sanitizers all they’re cracked up to be?
Germ free hands, on-the-go, in seconds, anywhere, anytime. What could be better? Seemed like a perfect solution to ward off germs.
Suddenly we are hearing hand sanitizers are really unhealthy for us and bad for our skin.
Repeated use over time will even accelerate the appearance of aging on our hands, that most of us are trying to reduce!
Here are some reasons why we should avoid them –
1. Triclosan – The chemical ingredient added to prevent bacterial growth. Sounds good, until we know that studies have shown it to disrupt hormone function in animals. It is also connected to antibiotic resistance.
2. Parabens – These are nasty endocrine disruptors, immunotoxins, skin irritants and more.
3. Chemical Fragrances – Manufacturers are not required to list fragrance ingredients on the label, so you have no idea what you are being exposed to. Many can be irritating, cause allergic reactions and disrupt hormones.
4. Immune System – We think we are helping our immune system by applying (chemical-laden) hand sanitizers, but we could actually be doing just the opposite. They increase our risk for developing treatment-resistent bacteria and strip skin of its own natural defenses.
5. Dry Skin – The high alcohol content, usually above 50%, strips skin of natural oils and dehydrates cells. Over time, this creates dry, cracked, wrinkled skin.
6. Not So Effective – Currently the FDA has stated that there is no evidence antibacterial sanitizers/soaps are any more effective in killing germs than thorough, regular hand washing with warm soapy water.
What to do –
I have not found too many natural options that are not mostly alcohol.
Young Living offers Thieves, a therapeutic-grade essential oil blend. It is a plant based hand purifier that is safe and effective for staving off harmful germs and bacteria. The alcohol in it is denatured with peppermint oil rather than harsh chemicals. This is my favorite, and I love the clean, earthy aroma.
A DIY option is to purchase just the Thieves oil, add 3 drops to 3 oz of distilled water to a glass spray bottle.
Lavender, Tea Tree oil, Rosemary and Witch Hazel work well too.
Experiment and have fun making your own –
By Debbie Pirrone, CHHC
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