In times of increased infection risk - as during the current corona pandemic with SARS-CoV-2 - the skin is stressed by frequent hand washing and disinfectants. Experts recommend washing your hands thoroughly several times a day for at least 20 seconds. In addition, your hands should be cleaned with disinfectant when contaminated surfaces have been touched.
However, the alcohol-containing ingredients of common disinfectants with their skin-irritating additives often lead to dry, irritated skin when used regularly. In hygienic hand care for sensitive skin, there are a few things you should definitely consider:
Detecting skin-damaging disinfectants
In hygiene-relevant areas, hand disinfectants such as the well-known “Sterillium” or „Sterillium med“ are in use. They are advertised as particularly skin-friendly. However, some active ingredients contained contradict this claim. Such ingredients are:
According to the safety data sheet (SDS according to REACH regulation), propanol (isopropyl alcohol) causes irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. The vapors can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headache, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Repeated or prolonged contact can trigger dermatitis.
The disinfectant mecetroniumetilsulfate (MES) is a quaternary ammonium compound (QAV). These synthetically produced, cationic surfactants accumulate in cell membranes of living organisms and can thus impair the function of the cell membrane. QAVs have a skin-irritating and sensitizing effect, particularly when used regularly and for long periods (BGW - professional association for health service and welfare). They are hardly biodegradable. Even the use of QAV-containing bathroom and toilet cleaners is meanwhile advised against.
Ethanol with contained but undeclared denaturants (= alcohol denat.)
Main component of many hand disinfectants like „Sterillium med“ or „Sagrotan disinfectant Hand Gel“ is ethanol (ethyl alcohol). The inserted Ethanol in these and many other disinfectants is denatured alcohol: meaning, that alcohol has been made inedible with denaturants. For the denaturing of alcohol, there is a EU regulation since 2013: 3 liters of isopropyl alcohol (propanol), 3 liters of butan-2-one (methyl ethyl ketone / MEK) and 1 g of denatrium benzoate must be contained in 100 liters of ethanol as denaturing agents added. The most discussed ingredient of these is butanone, suspected of being reprotoxic and affecting the hormone system (endocrine disruptor). As part of these concerns, a REACH reassessment of this substance has been taking place since 2018 and has not yet been completed.
In the cosmetics sector, ethanol is declared on the ingredients list as "Alcohol denat." The denaturants are, as well as in medical disinfectants, not explicitly stated, according to the EU Cosmetics Regulation. Alcohol denat. is mainly used in facial tonics, hair tonics, shampoos and hair styling products, but also for increased preservation in other skin care products. Alcohol denaturants are acutely questionable, especially with regard to their potentially skin-irritating and sensitizing effects.
Switching to gentle disinfectants
What is the skin-friendly alternative to disinfection without harmful ingredients, which nevertheless reliably kills bacteria, fungi and enveloped viruses such as the corona virus? We have developed the new Bio Hygiene Hand Spray with over 70% non-denatured, vegetable alcohol (wine spirit), containing an innovative combination of active ingredients counteracting dehydration on sensitive skin. This hand hygiene spray is based on purely natural ingredients – free from any chemical additives. Powerful antiviral, fungicidal and antibacterial essential oils support the disinfectant effect.
Nourishing hand cream against dry hands
After frequent cleaning or disinfection of the hands, you should apply a hand cream to prevent cracked and dry skin. Your hand cream should not leave an oily skin feeling being absorbed fast and well. Above all make sure, that your hand cream does not contain any unnecessary additives such as artificial fragrances or emulsifiers drying your skin further out. We recommend the Bio Body Cream Argan Palmarosa as a rich hand cream. If you are looking for a hand cream alternative without essential oils, you can as well use your myrto Bio Argan Cleansing Cream T for hand care.
What is the problem with classic soaps? What are the alternatives?
Frequent hand washing with classic soaps dries out your skin potentially causing epidermal irritations. Soaps containing moisturizing oils, being additionally free from artificial fragrances, are at least better. However, soaps generally have the problem of being pH alkaline. Why is that so bad for our skin? The skin's own protective acid mantle with its slightly acidic pH is destroyed each time you wash your hands with the alkaline soap, so that the skin's lipid barrier is washed out.
Consequently, better prefer liquid soaps with a slightly acidic, so-called "skin-neutral" pH value between 5.0 and 5.5. Also pay attention to really mild, skin-friendly surfactants. This is how you optimally protect your skin from drying out - especially if you wash your hands frequently. We recommend the myrto Bio Ultramild Free Shampoo as a soap alternative for very sensitive skin and long-term use.
And the most important: Stay healthy!