Are Hand Sanitiser’s Rapidly Ageing Your Hands?

An estimated 12 million people in the UK believe that their hands have aged by 3 years or more due to the increased use of hand sanitiser, and they might be right.

We conducted a study that surveyed 300 people to determine if they felt their hands have aged due to the increased use of hand sanitiser during the covid pandemic. Here were the results.

  • 30% of people aged 34+ believe their hands have aged by 3 years or more. 
  • 15% of people believe their hands have aged by 5 years or more. 
  • 65% of people who believe their hands have aged by 3 years or more are women, and 35% are men. 
  • A further estimated 4.5 million people believe their hands have aged by 1 year or more.

Here is a shocking statistic for you. The average person uses hand sanitiser at least 5 times a day, which means that based on hands ageing 3 years over the last 16 months (since the pandemic began), each time you use hand sanitiser, it is ageing your hands by 0.45 days. So that is 10.8 hours your hands age every time you use hand sanitiser if these claims are true.

Alcohol Is The Issue

Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy says, “The problem is alcohol; it dissolves the outer lipid barrier of the skin. As the skin barrier function deteriorates, this allows deeper penetration of alcohol and other allergens into the skin layers. In dry weather and in people with dry skin, these effects are even more pronounced. As a result, the skin cannot retain water and quickly becomes dried out. With repeated long-term use, hands become dehydrated, which accentuates lines and wrinkles, and makes the hand appear to have aged prematurely. Rubbing alcohol gel into thin, brittle nails is also likely to cause further nail damage. This could be a specific issue for people who already have nail disease, for example, people with psoriasis or autoimmune conditions. There are also many possible allergens in alcohol-based hand gel. This could be an allergy to the alcohol itself or other substances, including fragrances, preservatives, thickeners, or softeners. 

Exposure to allergens result in a local dermatitis – red, sore, inflamed hands – with reddened, dry skin that cracks easily, or even blisters, and can feel itchy.  

Many alcohol-based gels contain fragrances to try and cover the smell of the alcohol, and they also contain thickening agents and softeners. This can be a particular problem if you have sensitive skin.

Therefore I believe that repeatedly washing your hands with an alcohol-based sanitiser can lead to problems with the skin on the hands.” 

 Our founder Alan Wakeling who is also an expert in chemical sciences, says, “Alcohol-based hand sanitisers while in the interim period boasted killing 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, really when you research this claim, so would a standard soap and water. Alternative products are available on the market, which has shown to be more effective than alcohol-based disinfectants and are fully certified lab tested. These lab tests have shown that other options on the market, such as Hydrus achieve far more superior pathogen kill times without the dangers of conventional chlorine-based products. The disinfectant market is screaming out for a product that is just as effective as non-alcohol-based disinfectant which is also friendly to the skin. Alcohol is known to dry’s the skin and cause irritation. It especially affects those with skin conditions such as dermatitis.”

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can present various issues. For example, when the UK experienced a mini heatwave at the end of June, people were attending A&E due to blisters appearing on the hand caused by the interaction between the heat and some alcohol-based hand sanitisers. 

Other problems that can occur with the use of alcohol-based sanitisers

Other potentially dangerous products found in alcohol-based sanitisers include phthalates and parabens. There are reports that high exposure to phthalates can cause lowered testosterone levels and an increase in abnormal sperm. Parabens, too, has been linked to lowered fertility outcomes and may increase the risk of cancer.

There have been reports of young people consuming alcohol gel and becoming intoxicated.

If alcohol-based hand gel gets in your eyes, this can cause chemical burns to the eye.

 How is alcohol absorbed?

 When the hands come into contact with the gel, alcohol is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Alcohol is broken down in the liver to the main metabolite, acetaldehyde. This can be detected in the blood soon after using the gel, although levels are usually very low. However, people with acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (Asian flush syndrome) will be more at risk from using alcohol-based hand gel as they cannot metabolise alcohol. Inflamed or broken skin is also likely to absorb alcohol more readily. In children, alcohol-based sanitisers can result in alcohol poisoning.

Would people consider an alternative to alcohol-based hand sanitiser? We surveyed a further 500 people to determine if they would use a non-alcohol-based disinfectant; below were the results. 

  • 66% of people would use non-alcohol based disinfectant if it were proven to be just as effective. 
  • Of the 66% of people who said yes, 52% were women, and 48% were men. 
  • 34% of people said they would not use a non-alcohol based solution regardless of its effectiveness. 
  •  Of that 34%, 56% were men, and 44% were women. 
  • People aged between 45-54 are more inclined to use a non-alcohol based solution. 

25–34-year-olds are least likely to use a non-alcohol based solution regardless of how effective it is. 

Should you use an alcohol-free hand sanitiser instead?

Products such as Hydrus have been proven to more effective at killing viruses and bacteria and in faster time. 

 Biocides (disinfectants and sanitisers) are regulated by governments. Hydrus is registered under Article 95 of the European Union’s Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012 BPR, having met the requirements of internationally recognised standards for disinfectants.

The words sanitising and disinfecting are often used interchangeably, but there are important differences between them.

The main difference comes down to the following; while sanitisers reduce the number of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes on surfaces or skin, disinfectants kill almost all of them! 

The Covid19 pandemic has brought the use of alcohol-based sanitisers to the forefront; whether it is the amount the British public is consuming to get through self-isolation (which can we really blame anyone for) or the level required in hand sanitiser to make it effective, the news stories are everywhere on the subject. 

Many of these stories revolve around the shortage of traditional alcohol-based hand sanitisers and how prices are soaring rapidly due to the demand. With this being the case, why then don’t the public, businesses and healthcare facilities look elsewhere? There must be another option?

In fact, there is another option that is rapidly emerging as the new go-to sanitiser during the Covid19 pandemic, Sodium hypochlorite, Hydrus main ingredient.

How does sodium hypochlorite compare to other common disinfectants such as bleach? They are actually from the same chlorine family. Research shows that both bleach and Sodium hypochlorite kill bacteria, fungus, spores, and viruses. However, bleach is highly irritating to the eyes, skin, and lungs—and inhalation over long periods could be carcinogenic, whereas Hydrus is none of the above! Hydrus is fully certified under Article 95 of the European Union’s Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012 BPR and classified as non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-dermal irritant, non-mutagenic (won’t cause cancer). It is safe for use around children and pets, safe on surfaces and perfect as a general all-purpose disinfectant. 

While the active ingredient in Hydrus is a sodium hypochlorite ion, it is very different from traditional bleach made with chlorine gas. Hydrus is produced by a proprietary electrolytic process that produces a safer, purer biocide — the proof is in the safety testing. Hydrus is different from and better than bleach, just as a fine Cabernet is better than a cheap bottle of red, though they are both wines.

What’s In Hydrus?

It’s what’s not in it that matters:

  • no alcohol
  • no quaternaries
  • no other chemical additives
  • made with only salt, water and electricity
  • pH 9.5 hypochlorite ion

What is Hydrus Approved For?

Type 1 Human Hygiene — Biocidal products used in human health applications including hand sanitising, skin, scalp etc.

Type 2 

Disinfectants — Disinfectants used on hard surfaces, materials, equipment etc.

Type 3 Veterinary Hygiene — Disinfectants for veterinary purposes, including housing and transport of animals etc.

Type 4 Food and Feed — Disinfectants for equipment, containers, utensils, surfaces or pipework associated with production, transport, storage or consumption of food or feed (including drinking water) for humans and animals.

 If you wish to explore our products, check out our products page

We are also in the process of creating something the disinfectant market has not seen before. We are at the closing stages of developing a non-alcohol based disinfectant moisturiser. This will completely revolutionise the disinfectant market as it will provide both protection and soft skin in an all-in-one solution. Enquire here for pre-orders or more information. 

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