Since the current Pandemic surfaced and became a global menace, we have been inundated with the messages to use hand sanitisers. And as dutiful citizens, we have followed that advice. Distilleries, bottling plants and all kinds of industrial establishments also pivoted towards manufacturing sanitisers en masse. Don’t get me wrong, it was somewhat sound advice. I say somewhat cause a lot was unknown and so our best bet was to keep disinfecting. And so we went on an indiscriminate sanitising spree – our hands, our homes, our neighbourhoods and our cities.
I promised in my post (Life Priorities For These Unprecedented Times) more than two months back that when the time comes, I will talk more about this subject. The time for that has come. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are designed to quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in certain situations, which is what we were after. But as with any quick-fix, there are consequences. We already know that frequent use of hand sanitisers can cause dryness, irritation and even damage to the skin. What is lesser knows and quite alarming is –
1. Alcohol in sanitiser also kills off good bacteria from the surface of the skin. Our whole body is covered with bacteria, and if we remove those good bacteria, they can be replaced by other, potentially harmful, bacteria. Natural bacteria are there for a reason.
2. Hand sanitise lowers the skin barrier function and renders the skin membrane more permeable to harmful chemicals.
3. Over time, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers can cause the skin on our hands to age more rapidly than it would naturally, as dry skin is prone to developing wrinkles and other blemishes.
4. If the hand sanitiser doesn’t contain alcohol, then it likely contains triclosan, which is a powerful antibacterial agent. While this ingredient does effectively strip away a myriad of microbes, it’s just as successful at spurring the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The damage that does to our gut microbiome is immeasurable.
5. Using triclosan also negatively affects our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to illnesses. This is ironical considering we are using hand sanitisers to prevent one to begin with.
6. Synthetic fragrances used in sanitisers normally consist of phthalates which, at their worst, can cause abnormalities in hormone production.
7. Sanitisers also have preservatives called parabens. They are meant to prolong the shelf-life of the sanitiser. Parabens can cause a variety of reactions to those with allergies. They are known to cause skin irritation and even skin inflammation characterised by rashes, blisters, and burning skin. Parabens are absorbed into our skin each time we use a hand sanitiser.
8. Hand sanitiser is unsafe around small children and some adults. Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitisers can cause alcohol poisoning.
9. They are inflammable.
10. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical found in plastic products. BPA is dangerous because it can cause numerous hormone disorders, cancer and a litany of other bodily issues. Using hand sanitiser right before touching anything containing a high amount of BPA can increase the amount of BPA absorbed through your skin by up to a hundred times. A thin layer of BPA will remain on your skin even after it has been absorbed. This means that if you use hand sanitiser, get BPA on your hands and then eat something, you’re essentially consuming a bit of that dangerous chemical with every bite.
So what are the alternatives?
1. Make your own hand sanitiser which keeps your hands clean without the negative side effects. Recipe – 3 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 1 tablespoon filtered water, 5 drops tree tea essential oil, 1 teaspoon vitamin E.
2. Wear gloves in public places where there could potentially be a lot of germs. Just be sure not to rub your face with your gloves.
3. Buy natural/organic hand sanitisers that don’t contain alcohol or triclosan.
4. Soaps are a slightly better alternative to santisers but they also contain a lot of harmful chemicals. Use home made or natural/organic soaps free of chemicals.
Finally, immunity is truly built by exposing ourselves to bacteria and viruses and not insulating ourselves. I know this is controversial but that is how we have evolved to become resistant to a lot of bacterial and viruses over time. We are made of bacteria and we need more good than bad on us and inside us to keep life thriving. This is a delicate balance and when that gets out of whack, we get out of balance as well. The only vaccine against any virus ultimately is our own immunity. Focus on creating Peak Health for yourself and your family by continually educating yourself in this domain and taking charge of your own health. You will then find your way to thriving health and well being for life.
To Your Peak Health