Should you be using alcoholic sanitizers?

The usage of hand sanitizers has increased substantially in the past 2 years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide a fast and effective way of keeping our hands clean without the need for soap and water. Most hand sanitizers on the market today use a type of alcohol as their primary ingredient. This is because alcohol possesses the ability to destroy foreign proteins present in microbial organisms. While alcohol-based sanitizers are indeed effective, they come with a whole list of concerns and issues.

The chief complaint against alcohol-based sanitizers is that their regular use leads to drying of the skin. This is because in addition to destroying microbes, the alcohol in these sanitizers penetrates into the skin and reduces the ability of the skin to retain water. Alcohol-based sanitizers are also flammable and can be a fire hazard around matches and lighters. Additionally, repeated use of these sanitizers can lead to alcohol poisoning as the alcohol is absorbed into the skin and the bloodstream. The effect of these sanitizers is also temporary, which makes it necessary to re-apply them every few hours. Finally, alcohol-based sanitizers can alter the pH of the skin, making it possible for certain bacteria to remain on the skin and cause skin infections.

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