With the recent news of COVID19, the intense media coverage and of course, the seasonal flu bug in the United States, the sale of jellied alcohol hand sanitizers are BOOMING. Recently a customer emailed me saying she could not find it anywhere in the Cincinnati area, and she had been to SIX stores. Given that sanitizers were previously easy to locate in any checkout lane, it is a statement showing the concern that the general populace now has about viruses and germs.
There are pluses and minuses to hand sanitizers and they revolve around the ingredients. Sanitizers are portable, easy, very cheap and convenient especially when you do not have water around. I frequently see many parents dutifully squeezing the gel into their children’s hand in a well-meaning attempt to protect them and keep them healthy. However…….
The CDC recently issued a report on the adverse health effects of jellied hand sanitizers in children under 12 years of age. Some sanitizers have been made to smell like candy and fruit, which led to children drinking or licking the gel, which is the equivalent of consuming 120 proof liquor. In addition, repeated skin absorption within a short period of time has led to adverse reactions including vomiting, conjunctivitis, oral irritation, cough, and abdominal pain.*
In the skincare world, alcohol is a two-edged sword. Alcohol is used in some formulations as a stabilizer and protectant against microbes and viruses. But too much alcohol strips the skin of moisture, softening emollients and nutrients which weakens the skin. Now we have opened the door to a host of skin conditions being given the green light to take hold.
Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, is often added to hand sanitizers. However, the US Food & Drug Administration has said that Triclosan carries questionable risks and that their benefit is yet to be proven. Triclosan is known to make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Sanitizers actually kill good bacteria as well as bad, which lowers the effectiveness of your immune system. Some good bacterias help in the fight against bad bacteria.
In 2011, a study was done by the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers studied health care employees who had a habit of using hand sanitizers instead of soap and water. When compared to those who used soap and water, the sanitizer users were six times more at risk for outbreaks of norovirus, which is known for causing acute gastroenteritis (abdominal cramps and diarrhea).
But in today’s society, shortcuts and time savers are everything and it is understandable why people choose a sanitizer. So at least choose one that is healthy and helpful. We use grain alcohol as a base. (also known as ethanol). It has the same disinfectant properties as Isopropyl and they are both alcohols. As a disinfectant, grain alcohol works by denaturing proteins and dissolving lipids, effectively destroying many types of bacterial and viral cells.
Isopropyl alcohol is made with a bacterium whereas grain alcohol is made from yeast. Isopropanol is converted into acetone in the liver, which makes it extremely toxic. It should not be consumed and application to the skin should be minimized. The good news is that grain alcohol or Ethanol has no lasting short-term toxic effects. That’s why we use it.
We blend very high proof Vodka with Lavender and Lemongrass Essential Oils. Lavender has a multitude of studies supporting the antimicrobial and antiseptic benefits. When we combine this with Lemongrass essential oil, protection against viruses, microbes and bacteria increases.
However, just throwing the two together does not work. We must calculate the level of specific constituents they share in common and balance it in the recipe to create the most effectiveness. Too much Lavender gives a wonderful smell but not much punch in the protective department. Too much Lemongrass can be irritating to sensitive skin.
We hope you will try our Hand Sanitizer and use it to protect your family. It isn’t as cheap as jellied alcohol, but it also isn’t toxic. Live clean and safe.
The fear of “germs” in our society has reached epic proportions. Some germs actually help build our immune system