Why Too Much Hand Sanitiser Is A Bad Idea

Why Too Much Hand Sanitiser Is A Bad Idea
sanitiserRegular hand washing got something of a PR boost this year with fears of swine flu, but it’s definitely possible to go too far.

Picture by lynnep

Blogger Joy at Travelespresso describes how her hand-washing using a chemical sanitiser before every meal when travelling turned out to be as much of a health risk as the food poisoning she was trying to avoid:

The skin on my hands was red and raw in several places, mainly by the joints and down my index fingers. Naturally I was concerned I’d picked up a skin disease somewhere in my travels. Thankfully, a quick visit to a medical specialist confirmed it was simply a case of washing my hands too often which had depleted the natural oils in my skin.

Joy eventually concluded that the solution was to keep sanitising, but regularly use hand cream as well. Personally, I’d have eased back on the hand washing altogether, and gone back to good old soap and water.

A Cautionary Tale [Travelespresso]


  • Can’t say I really bother with the whole hand washing thing (of course, I still wash after going to the toilet). My mum used to say that if you were too obsessive about sanitising everything then you were preventing your immune system from training for the big game.

  • That’s the thing about advertising – they sell us must have solutions to problems that don’t exist.

    How did man come through the ages without hand sanitiser? Surely we should be extinct by now, wiped out by little green germs, if these ads are anything to go by.

    Soap and water is just fine! It always has been!

  • Or buy one with a moisturizer in it. I use Aqium gel by Ego 20 times per day for the past year (weekends off) and Ive had no problems.

    I have tried the ones with aloe vera in it but I can always taste it when I eat or even have a drink.

    Ego is the best Ive found.

    No I don’t work for them.

  • Besides which – the typical travelling hand sanitizer is more or less pure ethanol in a gelled form (doesn’t need water). It dries out your hands pretty damn well. Most handwashes used with water aren’t so bad. But you don’t need to kill the bacteria off your hands – soap dislodges the dirt etc on which they feed, and basically they get flushed down the sinkhole.

  • Alcohol based and santitiser actually increases your probability of getting sick. You are effectively washing away/killing the natural microbial fauna that provides the skins first defensive layer which in turn lets the nasty bugs swarm in to take their place.

  • Seriously people I work in health care. These products work very effectively. I still use soap and water and am the big believer in that but when moving around this stuff works well.

  • Its a bit different if you work in health care. I fully endorse rigorous exposure to germs, keep that that immune system up to date and practised.

    I always feel very sorry when I see a small child being swapped with disinfectant wipes in a public place.

  • Try Aloe Up® Alcohol-Free Foam Hand Sanitizer in place of your favorite me-too brand of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It’s not only more effective, but it’s more enjoyable to use (i.e., no burning cuts, dry skin or damage to skin with repeated use.

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