Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Truth Behind Hand Sanitizer

At the height of flu season, it is important to wash your hands properly and frequently. Most people tend to use antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers because they appear to be a more convenient option. However, these products may not be as beneficial to the skin as we once thought. 

Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have recently come under scrutiny by the FDA, which this month proposed a rule that will require manufacturers to prove their products are safe for long-term use and are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection. According to health officials, there is no evidence that the products are more effective than washing with plain soap and water. In fact, they may cause more harm than good.

Evidence suggests that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products could pose potential health risks. Most antibacterial products contain an ingredient called triclosan. Although triclosan helps kill bacteria, it also helps make the bacteria resistant to antibiotics, creating super bacteria.

Other harmful ingredients found in antibacterial products are parabens. These chemicals are used to prevent microbe growth in a lot of personal care products like shampoos and body washes. Parabens have also been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, and skin irritation. The four most common parabens to watch out for in hand sanitizers are: butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. According to health officials, about 2,000 individual products contain these harmful ingredients.

Most hand sanitizers have 60 percent alcohol or ethanol and are generally a safe alternative when soap and water are not available. However, health officials believe that washing with soap and water is still the best method for preventing the spread of illness.

At Greenville Dermatology, we carry a range of natural soaps, body washes and skincare products that will help keep your skin feeling fresh and healthy. Our skincare experts are also available to help you find the best products for your skin. Visit us today or schedule a consultation by calling (864) 242-5872. 

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