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Doctors Reveal the Risks of Using Hand Sanitizers

December 01, 2020

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Image of a woman putting hand sanitizer in a child handIn an article by Eat This, Not That!, medical professionals outline some important side effects that the constant use of hand sanitizers may trigger on the human body. With the worldwide spread of COVID-19, hand sanitizers are now essential items that people use several times a day to keep the virus at bay. While acknowledging their effectiveness in the fight against the virus, the article titled "9 Side Effects of Using Hand Sanitizer, According to Doctors" has tackled how too much hand sanitizer can affect your body's inner workings, which you can click to learn more.

When it comes to hand sanitizers, alcohol-based formulas are the most common, but some alternatives use triclosan/triclocarban to grant sanitizers their antiseptic properties. Most of the health problems listed below derive from those two ingredients, with triclosan standing out as a major health hazard.
  1. Eczema: Also known as hand dermatitis, this skin condition can be triggered by constant exposure to the irritants and allergens in hand sanitizers. Symptoms range from redness and dryness to blisters on the fingers and/or palms.

  2. Skin Irritation: Related to the point above, some skin types get dry and irritated because of the high concentrations of alcohol in hand sanitizers. Alcohol is what makes hand sanitizers effective disinfectants, so it's an active ingredient in most formulas. Dermatologists recommend switching to soap and water whenever possible and using moisturizers to prevent skin damage.

  3. Fertility Issues: Non-alcohol-based formulas containing triclosan carry long-lasting effects on fertility and fetal development, so experts discourage its usage in hand sanitizers and other household products.

  4. Antibiotic Resistance: Repeated use of triclosan will make bacteria impervious to the properties of regular antibiotics.

  5. Hormone Problems: Because of its antibiotic-resistant effect, triclosan can also impede hormonal activity and affect endocrine systems on a large scale.

  6. Immunological Problems: Yet another consequence of formulas containing triclosan. Unchecked hand sanitizing formulas will gradually weaken the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

  7. Developmental Problems: The fragrances in hand sanitizers often come from aggressive chemicals like phthalates and parabens. While phthalates hinder human development and reproduction, parabens make way for hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and reproductive conditions.

  8. Skin Disorders: Too much hand sanitizer winds up killing benign bacteria on the skin and increasing the risks of infection.

  9. Alcohol Poisoning: According to doctors, incidents involving alcohol poisoning are a fairly common occurrence among children and teenagers. Parental supervision is important, as well as proper education concerning hygiene habits.

  10. While hand sanitizers can be a quick solution to many real-life situations, health officials agree that washing the hands with soap and water is still the best form of protection. As stated by the medical professionals featured in the article, washing our hands the traditional way not only disinfects the skin from germs, viruses, and bacteria, but it also removes dirt and chemical residue much more effectively.

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