If you’re in the market for the perfect moisturizing hand sanitizer, there are some things you need to be aware of before you make that final purchase. Here are a few tips to finding a sanitizer that you can use to keep you and your loved ones safe while keeping your skin (and those cuticles) looking and feeling its best.
Check the ingredients
If you check the list of ingredients on any sanitizer, alcohol should be listed first on the active ingredients in hand sanitizer. In the era of COVID-19, you probably know that you need to be looking for an alcohol-based product in terms of sanitizers. While there are alternatives available that don’t contain any alcohol, they are going to be less effective at fighting bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
That said, not all alcohols are the same. But they all do the job of killing unwanted microbes…if used in the correct concentrations. The two main alcohols you want to look for are isopropyl alcohol and ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol). Both are effective, but isopropyl alcohol is a manmade product and nonnatural. So, if you’re looking for something that occurs in nature and still kills off the bad guys, I suggest looking for an ethyl alcohol or ethanol hand sanitizer. But you still need to be aware of sanitizers that contain other harmful ingredients. For example, another type of alcohol called methanol has been making an appearance in sanitizers being marketed for consumers. But unlike isopropyl alcohol and ethanol, which safe to put on our bodies, methanol is toxic when used on the skin. So check the ingredients carefully before you buy to ensure you’re getting the best natural hand sanitizer. You can learn more about which sanitizer products to stay away from here.
Check the alcohol concentration
I lot of people wonder “Can’t I DIY it and make my own sanitizer?” The answer is YES…but only if you can get the concentration of alcohol just right. The first hard part is getting your hands on alcohol with a high enough alcohol content that, when diluted, the alcohol is still at least 60%, which is what the CDC and the WHO deem as effective against microbes. That goes for using either isopropyl alcohol, which you can buy at your local store, or ethanol.
I was a chemistry nerd in high school and college. So, for anyone who is not familiar with the term ethanol, everyone has at least heard of vodka. Because that’s what vodka is: ethanol diluted with water. And it occurs in nature. In fact, it’s not uncommon for birds, insects, and some mammals to overindulge on rotting fruit, which ferments and produces alcohol. Yeah, animals can get drunk.
However, to make an effective natural sanitizer hand sanitizer spray using ethanol, no one can go out and buy a bottle of their favorite vodka and mix a sanitizer together. To be effective, the sanitizer has to be made with almost pure ethanol (I don’t recommend drinking that).
That’s because to be effective, the main alcohol used needs to be in a high enough concentration to be diluted with other ingredients, like fragrances and moisturizing agents. If a sanitizer needs to be at least 60% alcohol, right off the bat, your off-the-shelf vodkas won’t work. They’re already 40% alcohol and well below the recommendation. I recommend checking that your chosen sanitizer brand uses at least 90% alcohol, because you’re far more likely to receive a safe and disinfecting product once it’s diluted with other ingredients. Unless you’re just looking for a room spray that smells nice, avoid those products that use 70% alcohol or less as the base ingredient, because they won’t be effective at battling invisible bad guys.
Check for moisturizing ingredients...
Cuz alcohol is drying….
Look for moisturizers like aloe, panthenol, vitamin e and natural oils. These kinds of ingredients will help combat the drying affects of alcohol and ensure you get the best moisturizing hand sanitizer to fit your needs. That way your cuticles will keep looking their best and your hands won’t dry out so much. As rejuvenating for you skin as these ingredients are, you still want to make sure that your sanitizer has at least 60% alcohol in the product. If you can’t tell, it might be best to leave that product on the shelf.