Antiseptic for hands: which remedy to choose to protect the skin

In the year of the pandemic, the topic of antiseptics has become more relevant than ever. Hand sanitizers are firmly established in our everyday life: they are in every home and office, many carry them with them to use in transport, shops, and when visiting other public places. The threat of infection has forced people to be more careful about hand hygiene, and this, of course, is a good thing. On the other hand, questions arise. Are all antiseptics equally effective? Are there products that are not harmful to the skin when used regularly? Finally, how do you choose the “right” hand sanitizer? We will answer all these questions in the article.

Types of skin antiseptics

Before giving the classification, it is worth explaining what a hand sanitizer is and what it is for. A skin antiseptic, also called a sanitizer, is an external disinfectant used to treat the skin and various surfaces to kill pathogenic microbes.

No medical manipulation is complete without the use of antiseptics. But in everyday life, these funds are used no less widely. Water and soap tend to do a great job with the disease-causing bacteria and viruses that surround us everywhere. To prevent infection "through hands", it is enough to wash them regularly (before eating, after returning from the street - the situation is well known to all). But water and soap are not always available. In such cases, hand sanitizer comes to the rescue. And in today's realities, these funds cannot be dispensed with at all.

Antiseptics differ in composition and form of release. Most of them are effective against pathogenic bacteria, many types of viruses, fungi. Antimicrobial activity and spectrum of action of the agent depend on the main substance and its concentration.

Disinfectants for hands are diverse in composition, but mainly either alcohol (ethyl, isopropyl) or chlorhexidine is used as an active ingredient.

Alcohol antiseptics are quite effective if the content of the active substance in them is at least 60%. Alcohol is active against a wide range of bacteria, viruses and pathogenic fungi. The principle of action is the denaturation of microbial proteins. When used in low concentrations, the effectiveness of the product decreases (which is why vodka is not suitable for disinfection). Alcohol evaporates quickly from the skin's surface, but the exposure time is usually long enough to kill the main pathogens.

To increase the antimicrobial activity, quaternary salts, such as benzalkonium chloride, are added to alcohol-containing antiseptics. Such combined funds are more often used in medical practice. Quaternary salts, although rare, can cause allergies. When used frequently, they leave a sticky film on the skin.

The main disadvantage of alcohol antiseptics is that they have a negative effect on the skin. Alcohol destroys the fat layer that protects the epidermis from wind, moisture, cold and other aggressive factors. Without lipid protection, the skin dries and becomes covered with microcracks. To minimize this negative side effect, the composition of alcoholic antiseptics includes moisturizing and emollient components - glycerin, vitamins A and E, vegetable oils, panthenol. If there are injuries on the skin of the hands, the use of this type of products is not recommended.

Not everyone tolerates the specific pungent smell of alcohol. Partially, cosmetic fragrances solve this problem.

Antiseptic for hands: which remedy to choose to protect the skin

I think each of us at least once, but thought about how much time we spend on the phone. At breakfast, sitting on the subway, in bed ... Probably, even now you are reading this text on your phone. But what happens if you abandon it, for example, in favor of smartwatches? We have translated Franz Schrepf's article and are ready to share his experiment!

Working from home and still using your phone?

When I started working from home in 2020, I thought I'd cut the time I spend on my phone. Instead, it went up. Earlier, I wrote about tricks for reducing screen time. Then I proudly cut my screen usage down to about 2 hours a day.

I've always told myself that telephones are necessary. We need them to hold our hand (literally!) In everyday life. Calls, camera, cards - all we need! Instagram and Twitter are the icing on the cake. But in a home office? I rarely take pictures of myself in my pajamas or make a route to get to the bathroom.

The useful services of our smartphones are so intertwined with distractions that we can't even tell them apart. I pick up my phone to read the text and end up flipping through Twitter for 20 minutes. Our phone has become a blindfold to hide the anxiety and boredom we all experienced in 2020. Phone addiction is built into our brains and no amount of good intentions, screen timers, or bedtime settings can fix our psychology.

We're past the point where the problem was on the phone. We are the problem. The bell comes from the house. It's time to kill the phone.

"Every time technology prevents us from living the way we want, something needs to be done"

The future is audio

The problem is not new. Everyone I talk to thinks they spend too much time on their phone, and thousands of forums like r / nosurf are discussing how to reduce screen time. Looking at their discussions around smartphones, it seems that the solutions they propose are either limiting or returning.

Limitation: Do you think deleting Instagram and switching your phone to grayscale isn't enough? Light Phone or Mudita Pure are willing to sell you a $ 300+ Minimalist Phone that costs more and does less just to keep your monkey mind in check.

Return: Looking at the price tag, many realized that Minimalist Phone is just a smart marketing ploy. Instead, they returned the "brick" phone. Nokia even relaunched its infamous 4G banana phone.

But here's the interesting thing: we can't reverse progress. When we realized that cars are harmful to the environment, we did not go back to horses. We went on electricity!

Once we get used to smartphones, do we want to go back to being monkeys with cockles? I still want to listen to podcasts, find routes and reply to messages without using the keyboard (remember this stuff ?!). However, with the hype around the audio-only social network Clubhouse, the rise of podcasting and audio training, and the ubiquity of AirPods, we see a different future.

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