How to minimize the negative effects of hand sanitizer use

It’s all over the news and social media - Coronavirus has arrived in the US. The spread of this new strain of the coronavirus has raised public attention to the importance of hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer to avoid illness. Unfortunately, the ingredients in hand sanitizers that kill germs are the same ingredients that you usually want to avoid when it comes to skin care because they can cause dryness and irritation.

In the case of hand sanitizer, the main germ-killing ingredient is alcohol, which any skin care enthusiast knows has a bad reputation for causing extreme dryness. If you have started using hand sanitizer in response to recent events, you may have already noticed that your skin is uncomfortably dry, red and maybe even cracking. Be careful, because those tiny skin cracks that can accompany dryness can allow bacteria to enter the skin and end up causing infection.

What should we do to avoid dryness and skin damage while also avoiding the spread of germs?

How to select a hand sanitizer

The drying effects of hand sanitizer can be minimized by choosing a sanitizing product with humectants and emollients included in the formulation. Be on the lookout for moisturizing ingredients such as propylene glycol, squalene, glycerin and aloe vera.

Do not overuse hand sanitizer

It’s easy to panic and overuse sanitizer, thus further increasing skin dryness and cracking. Limit the use of hand sanitizer to when soap and water aren’t available. When you are out, you don’t have to apply sanitizer repeatedly. It is useful when entering or exiting a new location, after touching public surfaces, after shaking hands with others and after being in public. For example, keep a bottle in your car and apply upon leaving the grocery store or the gym.

How to moisturize skin

To avoid the risk of over-drying your skin while using hand sanitizer, use a rich hand lotion immediately after the sanitizer has dried on your skin. We recommend the use of Lexli Hand & Body Lotion, which is formulated with a base of aloe vera and is rich in other humectants and emollients that help the skin maintain long-lasting hydration.

How to make your own hand sanitizer

If you’re unable to get hand sanitizer, it is possible to make your own with a couple of ingredients that may already be available in your house: aloe vera gel and isopropyl alcohol. It is important to note, in order to be effective, the mixture has to be at least 60% alcohol.

  • DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe

  • One part aloe vera gel
  • 2 parts alcohol (at least 91% isopropyl alcohol)
  • Optional: a few drops of essential oil for fragrance
  • Mix the above ingredients in a bowl
  • Store the mixture in a clean pump bottle to carry with you on the go

What if my skin is already dry and cracking?

If your skin is already dry and cracking either from hand sanitizer use or general dryness, you’re not stuck suffering until virus season comes to an end. Check out our post about the Lexli Three-Step Hand Treatment to hydrate and help heal your hands.