Side Effects of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers on Skin

Using hand sanitizers is the best alternative to washing hands; a precaution recommended by WHO against the lethal coronavirus. As per the WHO recommendation, effective sanitizers against coronavirus are the ones with 70% alcohol content. The high alcohol content can have an adverse effect on your hand’s skin. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has stated a range of side effects of alcohol-based sanitizers including:

Skin irritation:

Side Effects of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers on Skin

One of the first skin problems caused by alcohol-based sanitizers is skin irritation. The alcohol can create skin sensitivity which can lead to inflammation and itching. The alcohol can also rip away the moisture of your skin, making the upper layer dry and easy to peel off.

Hypersensitivity to UV Light:

Because alcohol-based sanitizers can rip off the top layer of your skin, it makes your hands more sensitive to UV Light. The sanitizers make your skin dry, making the skin layers thinner and allowing the sun rays to penetrate deeper.

Cracking of the skin:

When you rub alcohol on your skin time and again, it can lead to extreme loss of hydration and result in cracked hands. This condition is caused when the sanitizer not only affects the topmost layer of the skin but also the layers underneath.

Skin allergies:

As the skin of your hands becomes over sensitive, you are prone to catching a range of skin infections and allergies. Moreover, certain components of the sanitizer can also cause your skin allergies.

Treatment for alcohol-induced skin problems:

You will need a dermatologist to help you identify the skin condition and its root cause. If it is diagnosed as an alcohol-induced skin problem, it can be treated in a number of ways. It is suggested to:

  1. Wash hands more frequently than using sanitizers. Alcohol-based sanitizers must be used only when you have no option to wash your hands using soap and water.
  2. Use a hand cream or moisturizing lotion to maintain the moisture in the hands. It is very important that you lock the skin’s moisture to ensure no skin problem.
  3. Use branded sanitizers only and always read the label for the alcohol component.

If you feel any irritation, itchiness, burning sensation on your hands, make sure you reach out to a dermatologist and stop using hand sanitizers till the time you consult the expert. The hazards of using hand sanitizers with alcohol content very frequently, are many, make sure you observe the effects at the right time.


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