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Are Hand Sanitizers Good Or Bad To Use On Your Hands?

Hand Sanitizers Good Or Bad

Many people don’t realize that hand sanitizers are bad for you. A new study shows that it actually increases the amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) in your system.

This is yet another reason why you should stop using hand sanitizer altogether.


Hand Sanitizers Good or Bad

Triclosan, the active ingredient in hand sanitizer kills off all of your good bacteria making it easier for antibiotic resistance strains to flourish.

However, that’s not the only reason it’s bad. A new study found that using hand sanitizer can also increase your skin’s absorption of BPA.

BPA is generally used in the production of almost all hard plastics including containers used for most foods and beverages.


Essentially BPA imitates our hormones in a way that disrupts our body’s natural endocrine system.

Studies have linked high amounts of BPA to hormone disorders, heart diseases, cancer, infertility and even diabetes. In a nutshell, it’s bad.

Using hand sanitizer makes it even worse. Most commonly used hand sanitizer use chemicals that enhance the penetration of lipophilic compounds in your skin.

BPA is one of those compounds.

Researchers from the University of Missouri looked specifically at thermal receipt paper which contains very high quantities of BPA to see if hand sanitizer increased the absorption of those chemicals. It turns out it does.

thermal receipt paper

They found out that using hand sanitizer, before touching receipt paper, increases the absorption of BPA up to 100-fold.

What’s worse is that all of that extra BPA lingers on your hands. So if you were to eat food directly afterward, you’d essentially be getting a double dose of BPA absorption.

First from your hands and then from your mouth.

And those specific levels of BPA have been proven to increase the risk of disease in adults and developmental abnormality in children.

What Can You Do About It?

Unfortunately, there are no safe alternatives to BPA that have been identified for use on thermal paper.

So until those technologies are developed the best thing you can do is stop using hand sanitizer unless you really need it.

Definitely, don’t use it before ordering take out food.

Are You Washing Your Hands?

washing hands

A Michigan State study published int he Journal Of Environmental Health discovered that people exhibited the following behavior after using the bathroom:

  • 10% of people didn’t wash their hands.
  • 23% of people just wet their hands and called it a day.
  • 67% of people used soap and water to wash their hands.

However, just using soap isn’t enough. The goal when washing your hands is to kill bacteria.

You’ve got to give your hands a good long scrub.

Researchers found that only 5% of people washed their hands with soap for 15 seconds or longer.

If this sounds like overkill, the Center For Disease Control recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Their guidelines for safe hand washing encourage you to hum “Happy Birthday To You” from beginning to end – twice.

when should you wash your hands

Remember for proper hand washing you must use soap.

A soap molecule looks like a snake. The head a carboxylate that loves water and the tail is a hydrocarbon chain that hates water.

soap molecule

When these two molecules are mixed with H2O they form little structures called micelles with the heads on the exterior and the tails inside.

Like most things in nature they are polar meaning they carry an electrical charge.

Since they are all negatively charged the micelles repel each other distributing throughout the water.

When the micelles come in contact with grease and oil (the hydrocarbon part on the inside) they grab hold of the oil, trap it and lift it off the skin suspending it in the water so it can be washed away.

This behavior allows you to scrub the microbes under the dirt into oblivion. This is another reason why hand sanitizers aren’t as effective at killing germs on dirty and greasy hands.

how should you wash your hands

Do-It-Yourself Hand Sanitizer

what to do if you don't have soap and clean water

You can make your own DIY hand sanitizer to keep at home or carry around with you when you’re out and about.

What you’ll need:

  • 70% rubbing alcohol (the active ingredient that kills the germs)
  • Tea tree oil (helps kill bacteria)
  • Peppermint essential oil – (used for scent to tone down the tea tree oil smell)
  • Small Squeezable Container -(use a container with a wide mouth so that the sanitizer can go inside the bottle easier)
  • 1/2 Tbsp measuring spoon
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Aloe vera gel

Step 1 – Squeeze 1/2 cup of aloe vera gel into your measuring cup.

Step 2 – Add 1/2 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.

Step 3 – Add 6-8 drops of tea tree oil.

Step 4 – Add 4 drops of essential pepperment oil.

Step 5 – Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. When you’re done you should have a gel-like consistency.

Step 6 – Place the hand sanitizer in a squeeze bottle.

Step 7 – Label the container with a Sharpie because the ink doesn’t rub off.

Final Thoughts

People get sick all the time from diseases that could have been prevented from washing their hands properly in the first place.

Most diarrhea and respiratory cases, like colds, can be prevented with just some simple scrubbing your hands.

Washing your hands is a win against harmful bacteria on every level and it just feels good.

Just remember, stick to regular soap, give your hands a nice long scrub and don’t forget to get under your fingernails where most of the microbes live.

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