We all want to kill all the germs we can and hand sanitizer is handy when out and about. As with the recent ban on antibacterial soaps since the chemicals haven’t been found to be safe or effective, there may be changes coming to the hand sanitizer market too. But why not just use the good stuff now?
More on what’s in hand sanitizer and why it matters from the Baby Steps to Wellness team:
There are two types of hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based and alcohol free. Before you think, “Oh, alcohol free sounds lovely…” think again.
Alcohol free purifiers replace the alcohol with “gentler” ingredients like this option: “BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE: Biocide, preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies, benzalkonium chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema. Benzalkonium chloride is found in many household disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Regular use of products containing antimicrobials such as benzalkonium chloride could lead to the development of resistant bacteria in homes and food processing facilities.”
Oh, but wait. It’s cheaper. And we vote with our dollars. So we’ve “voted” for this more hazardous option to get costs down and have bigger, cheaper bottles of santizer in our daycares, nursing homes, and hospitals with the individuals in our society most likely to be compromised by these types of ingredients.
Alcohol-based purifiers are basically 100% reliable. Germs all dead. Studies have shown them to be 60-95% more effective than their non-alcohol counterparts. This can, however, have a drying effect on the hands and you have a few options, some of which aren’t so great.
One choice is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). While it is not absorbed through the skin as much as methanol (deadly), this alcohol is toxic and will damage your nervous system and internal organs if you drink it. And no child has ever ingested something out of a small bottle in his mom’s purse, right? Wrong. Plus, we are always ingesting through our skin, even if in lesser amounts.
Another option is denatured alcohol. It is ethyl alcohol (ethanol or grain alcohol) containing a foul-tasting or toxic chemical, added to make it unfit for human consumption (which we want so no one is drinking it and getting poisoned). Common additives include acetone and methanol, both toxic to humans. Denatured alcohol is used for lab experiments, to make rubbing alcohol, and as an ingredient in many hand sanitizer products. The good news is that you’ve reduced the hazards of a high alcohol content by denaturing it. The bad news is that you’ve introduced some type of toxic chemical to do so. The other issue is that it seems the ethanol increases your absorption of any other harmful ingredients in your sanitizer. They often contain dyes, antibacterial agents, and harmful synthetic fragrances.
Hmm…interesting and limited options. Unless you’re Young Living. If you’re Young Living, you combine the power of your peppermint oil (menthol) with the alcohol (ethanol) to denature it safely without the other solvents. And, if it does increase absorption of the other purifier ingredients into your body, here is what you are absorbing:
– Aloe leaf (no worries about the alcohol now drying your hands)
– Vegetable glycerin: a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil.
– Clove Essential Oil
– Lemon Essential Oil
– Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
– Eucalyptus Radiata Essential Oil
– Rosemary Essential Oil
– Hydroxypropyl cellulose: a derivative of cellulose with both water solubility and organic solubility. Cellulose is an important structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, many forms of algae and the oomycetes. Some species of bacteria secrete it to form biofilms. It is in cotton, wood, and hemp. It is used as a thickener.
So, what do you think? Ready to make the switch? Go find your sanitizer, read the ingredients, and THROW IT OUT! We have a far better option for you! I love the large size to keep in my car and the smaller size for my purse!