Considering the current threat from pandemic variants all of us have to deal with on a daily basis, it sounds like using a hand sanitizer would be like a good idea in addition to wearing a mask in public places, but in fact, several studies including CDC confirm that NOT only store-bought HAND SANITIZERS are NOT effective, but they can actually cause more harm than good. (1)
So please don't fall prey to mass media manipulation's or opportunistic retailers' greed who want to convince you that commercial antibacterial soaps and sanitizers are working against the Coronavirus pandemic threat, which now they want to sell you for ridiculously gouged prices that have gone as high as $350/liter!! on Amazon and others places. Get your news from reliable sources, use your judgment, and stay calm, above all. Read on to find out some science-based facts that you MUST know...
So what's wrong with store-bought hand sanitizers?
1. They are NOT very effective.
Contrary to popular belief, more recent mounting research indicates that Alcohol-based hand sanitizers MAY NOT be effective substitutes for soap and water, and in some cases may actually increase the risk for outbreaks of highly contagious viruses. So just stick with soap and water and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time, and you'll be just fine. (2,3)
2. Antibiotic Resistance
According to a study done by Frontiers in Microbiology Journal and other numerous studies concluded in the last decade, Triclosan- the active ingredient present in many hand sanitizers and personal care products, used by so many on a daily basis, is actually accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistance, which means the use of household products containing this ingredient and other similar ones may actually contribute to more illnesses.
3. Undisclosed toxic ingredients
Some commercial antibacterial soaps may use triclosan's cousin, Triclocarban, which is just as bad. Sometimes these ingredients are marketed by companies under the name Microban on various antibacterial products, so remember to always refer to product labels to determine whether or not these nasty ingredients are contained in your products. Many of these antibacterial products also contain fragrances and other chemical ingredients that manufacturers are not required to disclose, so you really don’t know what you’re exposing yourself to. Many fragrances are irritating and have been linked to allergies, asthma in some people, and hormone disruption. All these ingredients are known to contaminate water with negative consequences for the environment at scale and poison people. (4)
4. They weaken the immune system.
Numerous studies have shown that the overuse of commercial antibacterial products in fact only weakens the immune system because they kill all bacteria including good bacteria which is important to maintain a strong immune system on the long term. People living in ultra-clean environments- especially early in life- are more prone to reduced immune defenses later on life.
5. They damage and age the skin.
Likewise, the alcohol-based hand sanitizers have some serious downsides as well. They dry the skin if used daily and can cause chronic irritation, skin breakdown, and damage. Not only that but according to the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, the topical application of ethyl alcohol can “lower the skin barrier function and render the membrane more permeable” to infections and more harmful chemicals like nitrosamines which are commonly present in many commercially sold cosmetics.
Besides skin cancer, "heavy alcohol use through skin application has been associated with the development of several skin disorders including psoriasis, discoid eczema, cellulitis, and superficial infections"; it also makes wounds worse and therefore delaying their healing." (6)
Once you know all of this, it seems like the TRULY SAFE and EFFECTIVE alternative is to make your own HAND SANITIZER for when you're on the go. Our solution is a quick 2- minutes recipe, which is very easy and affordable to make. All you need is three natural ingredients that are good for you and for the planet: Aloe Vera gel, Eucalyptus, and Orange oils which are very effective antimicrobial agents and very gentle on the skin, plus they smell amazing, unlike the store-bought sanitizers!
Antibacterial HAND SANITIZER
with Aloe Vera & Essential Oils
15 drops of USDA Organic Eucalyptus or Australian Tea Tree oil (antiseptic, antibacterial)
5 drops of USDA Organic Clove Orange oil (antibacterial)
1 oz Aloe Vera gel (antimicrobial, antiviral and moisturizing skin properties)
1 oz flip top PET plastic empty bottle
Mix everything together then pour the sanitizer into the bottle, and don't forget to shake it well before each application as oils tend to separate. Squeeze a small amount of the sanitizer gel on your palms and rub your hands- use as often as you need it. Super easy to make and safe for the entire family including kids plus you'll love the scent!!!
Typically essential oils or anything formulated with them should be held in glass containers, but the reason why we recommend a PET plastic bottle for a hand sanitizer is that it’s easier carrying around, plus PET plastic is not reactive with the oils as all other types of plastics are.
That way you don’t have to worry about breaking a glass bottle when you’re on the go or traveling and don't have access to soap and water.
With this simple and very affordable recipe, you can now travel and move around worry-free knowing that your own hand sanitizer will REALLY protect you when you’re on the go and can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
When you’re at home, we recommend adding either 30 drops of Eucalyptus oil, (which could be replaced by 30 drops of Australian Tea Tree oil due to their similar antibacterial and antiseptic properties,) or Clove oil to your regular liquid soap bottle and shake well before each use as oils tend to separate from liquids (we love castile soap as an effective natural solution).
Eucalyptus, Australian Tea tree, and Clove essential oils are very effective antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-parasite agents as several studies demonstrate (6,7,8), plus they are gentle on your skin, especially Eucalyptus which also has nourishing properties, unlike the commercially sold sanitizers containing alcohol which are very rough on skin and could have serious negative effects when applied often.
Replacing the alcohol with Aloe Vera gel is the ideal solution for its well-known moisturizing and wound healing properties, and therefore frequently used in skincare products for the last several centuries around the world. Aloe vera contains a long list of potentially active constituents such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids that give this plant powerful all-in-one anti-aging, anti-tumor, wound healing, and powerful moisturizing properties that contribute to healthy and beautiful skin. As many studies show Aloe Vera also has proven antiseptic, antimicrobial and antiviral effects. (9)
Based on all this scientific evidence, not to mention the many other negative effects of different chemical ingredients used in the commercial sanitizers and soaps, it’s common sense that the best and safest choice is to MAKE your own hand sanitizer with ingredients that you can TRUST to help and not harm you.
If you decide to make your own sanitizer or soap, you may consider making a fresh batch every month as it doesn’t contain preservatives, hence it won’t last long. Put a label with the date on it so you’ll remember when you made it; that’s why you only want to make 1 oz of this hand sanitizer so you’ll use it faster. Try it for yourself and your whole family as it's also safe for small children- everyone will love the scent and your soft hands will thank you for it- that's a promise!
Be safe and stay healthy, and please share this article with all the people you love. They have the right to know the truth, plus sharing this with them it shows how much you truly care, especially at this time when the entire world is affected by this pandemic.
1. CDC.gov - Show Me the Science: When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings
https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html#three Blaney DD, Daly ER, Kirkland KB, Tongren JE, Kelso PT, Talbot EA. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a risk factor for norovirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities in northern New England: December 2006 to March 2007. Am J Infect Control. 2011 May;39(4):296-301.
2. Laurel Vogel. Hand sanitizers may increase norovirus risk. CMAJ. 2011 Sep 6;183(12):E799-800. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-3922. Epub 2011 Aug 15.
3. Daniel E. Carey and Patrick J. McNamara. The impact of triclosan on the spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment Front Microbiol. 2014; 5: 780.Published online 2015 Jan 15. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00780
4. Dirk W Lachenmeier. Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity J Occup Med Toxicol. 2008; 3: 26. Published online 2008 Nov 13. doi: 10.1186/1745-6673-3-26
5. Raho G Bachir, and M Benali. Antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 Sep; 2(9): 739–742. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60220-2
6. Li X, Duan S, Chu C et.others. Melaleuca alternifolia concentrate inhibits in vitro entry of influenza virus into host cells. Molecules. 2013 Aug 9;18(8):9550-66.
7. Muthaiyan A1, Biswas D, Crandall PG, Wilkinson BJ, Ricke SC.Application of orange essential oil as an antistaphylococcal agent in a dressing model BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Aug 16;12:125. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-125.
8. Davood Hekmatpou, PhD, Fatemeh Mehrabi, Kobra Rahzani, PhD and Atefeh Aminiyan, PhD. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review Iran J Med Sci. 2019 Jan; 44(1): 1–9.CDC.
9. CDC.gov - Show Me the Science: When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html#three