1. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Ingredients
Main ingredients you can expect to find in alcohol-based hand sanitizers:
- isopropyl alcohol (it is capable of destroying 99.99 % of all non-spore forming bacteria in just less than 30 seconds),
- ethanol (ethyl alcohol),
Alcohol is well known as a substance capable of killing microbes – it dissolves microbe’s outer layer of proteins and also their lipids.
As we have mentioned, the most effective are hand sanitizers containing at least 60% of alcohol, which is a recommended choice by CDC. Also important is the fact that when this percentage drops below 60, the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer drops dramatically as then it only is capable of reducing the growth of germs instead of destroying them.
Other ingredients commonly included in this type of hand sanitizers:
- chlorhexidine, quaternary ammonium derivatives (antiseptics),
- sporicides(hydrogen peroxides that reduces bacterial spores),
- emollients (for example, glycerol that reduces skin’s dryness),
- sterile or distilled water,
- foaming agents,
2. Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers Ingredients
Main ingredients or agents used (instead of alcohol to destroy microorganisms) in alcohol-free hand sanitizers:
- benzalkonium chloride,
You always have to check the label of the specific hand sanitizer to get precise information is that alcohol-free hand sanitizer or not. There are lots of cases when producers do not show this information clear enough so people might even be misled.
Unfortunately, alcohol-free hand sanitizers are not suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they are not as effective as alcohol-based hand sanitizers as they might just decrease the growth of new germs.
3. Hand Sanitizers Ingredients To Avoid
Basically, there is only one ingredient about which health professionals warn people related to hand sanitizers, and that is triclosan. We already mentioned that it might be used in alcohol-free hand sanitizers, so be careful when checking the label and ingredients of this type of product.
The biggest harm that triclosan (an antibacterial agent ) can do is to contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. There also is information available that the specific ingredient might reduce hand sanitizer’s effectiveness.