Hand Care: Alternatives to Alcohol-Based Products
One thing we've probably all been doing way more than usual is washing our hands and using hand sanitizer. Readily available at stores, they are the main resources being encouraged as a way to stop the spread of Coronavirus, but since most of us are not used to washing our hands so much, we might be finding that our hands are becoming dry from the products we're using!
We need our hands for just about everything we do, so it’s important that we make sure we take care of them and know how to reduce dry skin by understanding what causes it, as well as what steps we can take to reduce irritation.
It’s not the actual act of washing our hands that dries them out that causes irritation. It can actually come down to the harsh soaps that aren’t made for the thinner skin of our hands as well as alcohol which dehydrates the skin. Alcohol also kills the good bacteria we need for skin flora health, which is similar to gut flora health, but less well known.
Since it’s not always possible to wash your hands with soap and running water, it’s good to have hand sanitizer as an option - and we’ve created a list of some sanitizer brands you can look for that won’t dry you out as well as how to make your own.
We also found some soaps that are milder for your hands without harsh chemicals to make it easier to wash them frequently without irritation. Finally, we compiled a list of ways to help moisturize extremely dry hands that actually work.
Let's get started!
Which is Better: Alcohol-Based or Alcohol-Free?
While both do more or less the same job in killing harmful microbes, it really comes down to your environment, skin, budget, and personal preference. Additionally, how accessible these products are may factor into whether you can make the switch to alcohol-free products - many places are still sold out amidst the pandemic, and getting these products may require you to make a special order.
The reason we see less alcohol-free sanitizing products is because of how they can vary in ingredients and effectiveness. With alcohol-based products, it’s easy for them to be approved by medical professionals, without alcohol it’s down to a case by case basis.
Alternatives to Alcohol-Based Products
Our Favorite Alcohol-Free Sanitizer Brands
The best hand sanitizer no alcohol products will have some type of natural moisturizers such as aloe, honey, oats, or other plant-based lipids that will help keep the natural balance of fats in your skin that you need. This will keep you from having to also carry a moisturizer in addition to a sanitizer.
1. Clean Well - One no alcohol sanitizer that uses plants that is naturally anti-viral and anti-bacterial is Clean Well. They have wipes, foam soap, and sprays that contain no harsh chemicals and will also moisturize your skin.
2. Babyganics - This brand also has an alcohol free hand sanitizer that is still available.
3. Eco Sanitizer - Based out of Vancouver, Canada, this company provides eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and has amazing Alcohol-free sanitizers and products.
Our Favorite Alcohol-Free Hand Soap Brands
1. Seventh Generation - Seventh Generation has hand soaps that are designed for sensitive skin and contain no harsh chemicals. Also, check out the naturally moisturizing plant-based hand soap by Dr. Bronner’s.
2.. The Beehive - This company provides natural soaps, sanitizers, and more! They often have hand sanitizer on their website that smells so good, you’ll forget you’re using sanitizer. They are a small company - so keep your eye out for new batches and products.
Making Your Own DIY Sanitizer
A reminder that hand sanitizers should not replace hand washing - instead they should only be used when you cannot access soap and water. But if you are up to try a DIY hand sanitizer, here’s how to make one using essential oils. Be sure to keep it out of your eyes and sensitive skin areas like the nose.
To make 4 ounces for a standard small spray bottle…
- Put 30 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil in your 1oz glass spray bottle
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin E oil
- 1 tbsp of aloe vera
- Finish it off by filling the rest of the bottle with water
Tip: Keep in mind when creating your own that some essential oils are alcohol-based, so it’s best to find some that are pure. Make sure to check the side of your bottle to ensure that you are not adding any alcohol into your sanitizer.
4 Reasons Why You Should Switch to Alcohol-Free Products
1. Your Skin - Alcohol-free products are better for your skin and general surfaces. They are safer for kids and prevent sanitizers from wearing down your skin into a dry desert.
2. Lasts Longer - Non-alcoholic sanitizers last longer than alcohol-based products, as once an alcohol-based product’s ability to kill bacteria stops when it dries on the skin but alternatives without alcohol continue to provide protection well after the solutions have rubbed into our skin.
3. Reduce Strain - A shortage of medical alcohol has caused an international switch to ethanol instead of the traditional type. So we are helping reduce the strain by looking for alternatives.
4. Support Local - Lots of small soap businesses will produce these natural products, so this gives you a great excuse to seek out your local shop and support them.
5. Natural Ingredients - You avoid ingredients like Triclosan and unnecessary fragrances.
Ways To Combat Dried Skin
First of all, you want to moisturize more since you’re washing your hands more which tends to dry them out. Find a natural moisturizer without harsh chemicals or skin irritants like fragrances.
Keep in mind that if you’re using a natural soap without a moisturizer, it’s best to moisturize right away after washing your hands to keep your skin healthy. Look to hand lotion brands such as Desert Essence, Jason, and Everyone.
Also, what dermatologists recommend is using a cream that is more moisturizing than a lotion and has a longer-lasting effect. Of course, you will want to use natural creams that are free of fragrances and chemicals. It’s true, not all skincare products are created equal. The Burt’s Bees Hand Cream may be just what you need to resurrect your hands.
As we continue to practice social distancing and adapt to wearing masks, we are beginning to see that this might be the norm for a while. We are adaptable creatures and have found ways to innovate when faced with this challenge. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of this virus can help ourselves and others.
Remembering to wash or sanitize our hands after touching our face or coming in contact with people is a good habit to get into and we will need to look at how to care for our skin as we do that.
We often don’t realize that the skin plays a vital role in our overall health and the products we put on them affect our health as well. Natural skincare products will help you maintain a healthy first line of defense as your skin also has a microbiome that protects you from infections.
It needs healthy fats to maintain its function and zapping it with harsh chemicals can impede its ability to protect your body. Staying well hydrated and reducing the amount of alcohol, sugar, and caffeine we drink can also help our skin. Finally, eating a well balanced whole foods-based diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide the nutrients our skin needs to be healthy as well.
Did you find another alternative that we should know about? Share it with the rest of us!
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