Hand sanitizers are important because they helps us prevent the spread of germs, bacteria and protect our health . Even though there are a variety of hand sanitizers, there are two distinct types of hand sanitizers: Alcohol based gels and Alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizers. Both types have their benefits and drawbacks. This blog will help you identify which type of hand sanitizer is right for you, and where its appropriate to be used.
Alcohol based gels Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol based gel hand sanitizers contain two ingredients: alcohol and isopropanol. Both ingredients are effective to kill germs and bacteria. However, there is a main difference and that can be found on a molecular level. Its also important to mention both are highly flammable. Due to this hazardous risk, hospitals and other facilities have to consult with local fire authorities when planning to install alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer dispensaries and must follow local regulations and codes.
Furthermore, alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers are toxic if ingested. For this reason, caution must be exercised when children are using these products. Another common problem of alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer is that if overused, you may experience dryness, cracking and even dermatitis. This happens because the alcohol strips away oils in your skin that retain moisture. Aside from health problems, the alcohol in these products is damaging to floors and walls and can stain at areas where dispensers may drip or leak.
Nonetheless, alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers have been recommended by leading global health organizations such as the WHO, FDA and CDC, and its effectiveness has been proven many times.
Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol free products contain Benzalkonium Chloride a quaternary ammonium. These alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain less than a 0.1% Benzalkonium Chloride, but tstill provide the same protection as alcohol-based products. Now, the rest of the solution of alcohol-free products are usually water but will also contain skin conditioners such as vitamin E or green tea extract. In addition, these alcohol-free hand sanitizer products are non-flammable and contain small concentrations of Benzalkonium making these products nontoxic. Keep in mind though that these products are still for external use only.
As mentioned above, Alcohol based hand sanitizer are flammable, and may cause skin problems. For this reason, alcohol free hand sanitizers were created to deter these concerns. Alcohol free hand sanitizers are easy on the hands, pose a lesser threat in case of ingestion, pose a low fire hazard, and do not damage surfaces. Another benefit of alcohol-free hand sanitizer is its extended protection on the skin. The reason is, benzalkonium products will kill bacteria even if the solution has dried from the skin.
However, alcohol free products have a drawback as well. Although it offers a more pleasant experience to the user, it requires a special foaming mechanism in the dispenser. Therefore, converting from a non-foaming system to a foaming system may be costly to install.
Which one is the most popular?
Although alcohol free hand sanitizers have many benefits, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most favorable. The reason why they are not endorsed by international organizations such as the WHO and the CDC is because the term “alcohol free” is a broad term and can be applied to any number of products in the market, and some of them may not be appropriate for hand disinfection.
Hopefully, this blog was able to bring some clarity when deciding what hand sanitizer is appropriate for your needs. Although some products have their advantages and disadvantages, other products are not well promoted about their health benefits and are not endorsed by respected organizations to be sold.. Below I included videos about alcohol based and non alcohol based hand sanitizers to help you have a better understanding about hand sanitizers.