5 things to know about hydroalcoholic gel

This year in particular, not a day goes by without you using your essential hydro-alcoholic gel. For good reason, three of them are in the top 10 of the best beauty and hygiene product launches in the first half of 2020. Whether on public transport, at the entrance to a store, after your meeting or even before you open your lunch box, your first reflex is probably to disinfect your hands with hydroalcoholic gel (and when you know that around 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by the hands through contact with contaminated objects, you think that’s a good thing).

But do you know anything about it? Here are 5 things you may not know about hydroalcoholic gel.

1.    Hydroalcoholic gel is not a substitute for hand washing.

Yes, the gel disinfects, it does not clean. While your soap will eliminate the vast majority of microorganisms present on your skin by binding to the foam and sliding off when you rinse, your gel will kill pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) but leave them on your skin. For this reason, it is necessary to wash your hands with soap and water for 40 to 60 seconds, insisting sufficiently on the back of the hand, the spaces between the fingers, the tops of the fingers, but also the nails when you have a drinking water point nearby to guarantee perfect hand hygiene.

Small tip: Dry your hands with a clean, dry towel or, even safer, with a single-use absorbent paper towel. Caution: Do not use an air dryer as there is a risk of recontamination.

2.    Its application is made on a dry skin

To optimize the use of the gel, be sure to use it on completely dry skin.

In case of wet or damp hands, the hydroalcoholic solution will be diluted, see its effect diminished and cause skin irritation. For people with sensitive, reactive skin, eczema or psoriasis, there are suitable solutions enriched with soothing and moisturizing active ingredients.

3.    It does not keep indefinitely

Count between 1 to 3 months of conservation after opening your gel. After this time, it will no longer be sterile, which reduces its effectiveness. You can refer to the indications written on your product concerning the dates of use. Even if you don’t like to waste, don’t be tempted to use an old disinfectant, it will not have much effect.

4.    It does not mix well with the sun

Just like perfume, hydro alcoholic gels are composed of alcohol, and for some of synthetic perfumes or essential oils with a photosensitizing effect. Result, if you expose yourself after using the gel, you risk reactions, burns, irritations and even hyperpigmentation over time. If you have the choice, prefer to wash your hands with soap.

5.    It must contain at least 60% alcohol

To be able to kill most viruses, a hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. Those containing less than 60% alcohol are not only less effective against viruses, but also against bacteria and fungi. In short, they only reduce the growth of germs instead of killing them completely. After all, alcohol inactivates and/or suppresses the growth of microorganisms when applied to the hands. It attacks and destroys the envelope protein present on the surface of certain viruses, including coronaviruses. This protein is vital for the survival and multiplication of these viruses.

Small regulation point:

Today, because of COVID, the authorities of the countries allow the marketing of hydro-alcoholic gels, although not all the efficiency tests are submitted. This is a transitional period. Thus, biocidal products, which are manufactured or imported on the basis of the general decisions of February 28 and April 9, 2020 in compliance with the defined loads until August 31, 2020, can be placed on the market and delivered to end users by February 28, 2021.

While hydroalcoholic gels are part of hand hygiene products with cosmetic status, hand disinfectant gels, which have biocide status, are not.

Do not hesitate to go to The disinfection of hands by hydroalcoholic friction proposed by the official site solidarites-sante.gouv for more information.

Now you’ve learned all you need to know about hydro-alcoholic hand solutions. Composition, use, precautions without forgetting conservation, it has no more secret for you.

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