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Hand Sanitizers: Are They All The Same?



Keeping your hands clean has always been important, but this simple act has become especially crucial to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within the past year.


Although washing your hands remains the preferred method of hand hygiene as listed by the World Health Organization and centers for disease control (CDC), sanitizers can come in handy when out and about – especially in places where washrooms and sinks aren’t immediately available.


Now a familiar sight, hand sanitizers occupy most public spaces and are oftentimes carried by individuals themselves in the wake of the pandemic.


However, not all hand sanitizers are made equal. You might have picked up on labels announcing the sanitizer’s alcohol percentage on containers, and how each sanitizer brand often carries its distinct scent. The dense hand sanitizer gels often come in compact containers for easy movability, while liquid-based sanitizers are provided at sanitization stations in dispensers instead, with both kinds readily available at NOVID.


That’s because each kind of sanitizer comes with different ingredients, textures, and purposes – and it can be confusing to try to figure out which one is the perfect one for you. So here are some helpful tips to help you choose the hand sanitizer you need.



Use An Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

There are two main groups of hand sanitizers: alcohol-based sanitizers and alcohol-free sanitizers.


Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

Sanitizers belonging to the first category contain anywhere from 60% to 95% alcohol content, depending on the type of alcohol used in their formulation. The CDC recommends hand sanitizers with at least either 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol to successfully ward off all types of germs and infectious diseases.


Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

On the other hand, alcohol-free sanitizers are usually based on disinfectants and constitute ingredients called quaternary ammonium compounds – traditionally benzalkonium chloride, a non-toxic substance used to control pests – to reduce microbes. These act as an alternative since alcohol can be abrasive to the skin, but are not effective in killing germs and bacteria.


Skin-Friendly Natural Formulas and Fragrances

It’s easy to understand why some are tempted by alcohol-free hand sanitizers, as the combination of Malaysia’s notoriously humid weather with drying alcohol hand sanitizers could make for irritated skin.


This is where natural formula hand sanitizers come into the picture. Retaining the necessary minimum of 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol requirements, these mixtures blend that with a medley of proven organic ingredients such as aloe vera, lavender essential oils and natural fruit extracts. Often used in quality skincare products, these ingredients contain moisturising as well as protective properties to help restore and rehydrate your skin.


As a bonus, this means natural hand sanitizers don’t come with the standard disinfectant scents, instead adopting the fragrance of its active ingredients.


Gel or Liquid: Which is The Better Sanitizer?

What is the difference between gel and liquid sanitizers, and which is more effective?


Liquid Hand Sanitizers

Studies have shown that liquid disinfectants can be faster-acting, with a sanitization rate of fewer than 15 seconds. Though ingredients and viscosities differ depending on the brand, liquid sanitizers generally leave less residue on the skin, thereby minimizing the risk of negative reactions for those with sensitive skin.


Gel Hand Sanitizers

Gel hand sanitizers, on the other hand, require up to 30 seconds to eliminate viral or bacterial content and tend to be slower to dry. Due to this, its efficacy might be lower if people wipe it off before the sanitizer has the chance to do its job. However, its density assures less possibility of spillage issues when using it on the go.


Having said that, both gel and liquid hand sanitizers with an alcohol content of 60% and more are equally effective in killing germs and preventing infections.


The thicker hand sanitizer gels are excellent to keep your hands clean throughout the day, and are easily available in smaller sizes to grab and go. Liquid sanitizers are best used when dispensed out of a spray bottle for even distribution, and can be especially helpful for disinfecting surfaces that are potentially cross-contaminated through excessive contact.


With all this in mind, the main priority is to ensure your hand sanitizer’s alcohol content complies with the stipulated requirements. Aside from that, do also consider factors such as usage and how your skin might react when it comes to selecting your hand sanitizer. Finally, remember to select the best hand sanitizer to fit your lifestyle. Whether you’re out and about or staying at home, you can keep yourself safe and sanitized no matter where you are with NOVID's range of skin-friendly hand sanitizers.

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