4 Signs You’re Using Bad Hand Sanitizer

Ever wonder if the hand sanitizer you use is truly good for you? What happens when you use hand sanitizer too much?

Not all hand sanitizer products are made equally, with some containing unnecessary ingredients or deficiencies that leave your hands worse off than before you started cleaning them. Any solution applied to your skin is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, meaning some serious side effects can occur if you aren’t scrubbing in a safe serum when handwashing isn't an option. Good hygiene and public health start with clean hands…but only if you’re using the right antiseptics!

Here we’ll take a look at 4 signs to watch out for when selecting a hand sanitizer brand, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) official statements to symptoms you might notice on your hands. Grab your own hand sanitizer brand and check to make sure it measures up!


1. Check for Triclosan

Although mostly removed from the market thanks to a final rule issued by the FDA in 2017, triclosan used to be an acceptable active ingredient in hand soaps and sanitizers, amongst other over-the-counter antibacterial disinfectants and hand hygiene products. Triclosan was traditionally put into consumer health solutions as a component to fend of bacterial contamination; however, testing over the years suggests it might also be the culprit behind decreased thyroid hormones, increasingly resistant bacteria, and even skin cancer in high enough doses.

Other studies have indicated triclosan might have more in common with pesticides than hand sanitizer agents, and could even cause decreased fertility, hormone imbalance, birth defects, and organ damage. Although FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing has been rather inconclusive toward triclosan’s effects on humans, the results were alarming enough to pull the chemical from the shelves. It’s always worthwhile to double-check your sanitizing brand to ensure triclosan is nowhere to be seen in the ingredient list.

Be sure to visit the Food and Drug Administration's website at fda.gov for more information on the chemicals used in your sanitizer products.


 2. Avoid Methanol Products

Another dangerous ingredient to find on your product label comes in the form of the chemical methanol. Less ambiguous than triclosan, methanol is outright harmful to use and toxic if ingested or exposed to the eyes. In fact, earlier this year the FDA issued an update on policy testing for ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) to check for methanol contamination. Methanol is traditionally used to create fuel, wood alcohol, and antifreeze, and accidental ingestion can be fatal. Do not use it on your skin in any capacity and keep it far away from young children!

Despite its reputation, some health care companies have gotten away with sneaking methanol into their products to make their serums cheaper to produce. The threat of lingering methanol is still relevant today—as recently as April 2021, eight hand sanitizers were recalled after discovering they contained traces of methanol amongst the sanitizing surge following the coronavirus pandemic.

While it’s important to check the ingredients on every health product you purchase, you always run the risk of encountering a brand that hides certain details about its product’s solution. In the end, it’s vital to stick with brands you trust and know that—particularly when it comes to cheaper brands of hand sanitizers—you get what you pay for.


3. Dry Skin Symptoms

As a general rule, hand sanitizers require at least 60 percent alcohol content in order to be effective at killing foreign bacteria and germs. In the majority of brands, you’ll find around 65 percent ethyl alcohol is utilized for a more powerful product. However, while most sanitizers make proper use of the chemicals that get the job done, many don’t take into account the most common side-effect of using alcohol on your hands: depriving the skin of oils and water, leaving it dry, dehydrated, and flaky.

Most sanitizers will dry out the hands after repeated use, especially when used too frequently or applied with more than one squirt from dispensers. Nevertheless, irritated and cracked skin can come about after just one application if a hand sanitizer brand doesn’t add any moisturizers to offset dry skin. To add to the problem, different chemicals can react differently with different people, meaning some users are more likely to develop dry skin from hand sanitizers in the first place! Some common symptoms include red, irritated, or chaffing skin.

To solve this problem, look for hand sanitizer brands that feature natural, soothing oils in their serum to nourish your skin while the alcohol does the dirty work. Not only does that allow you to sanitize your palms more often without dryness to contend with, but your hands will be left feeling fresh and smooth after each application.


4. Allergic Reactions

Dry skin is one thing, but an allergic reaction is another problem altogether. While this isn’t a sign of a poor-quality hand sanitizer per se, it is definitely a sign that you should immediately stop using the brand you recently picked up. If you begin to notice hives, severe rashes, or swollen skin after using a sanitizer product, you likely have an allergic reaction to one of the chemicals in its serum. Other typical allergy reactions can consist of sneezing, shortness of breath, and inflamed sinuses.

The good news? Alcohol allergies are exceedingly rare, so most of the time you can rest assured that a hand sanitizer won’t be responsible for severe reactions. But if you do see allergy symptoms emerging on your skin, it can be troublesome tracking down which ingredient might be the cause. That’s because hand sanitizers usually contain multiple ingredients…and you could be allergic to any of them.

Your best bet is to opt for sanitizing solutions that don’t use a ton of extra ingredients. Most of those chemicals are likely to be unnecessary in the first place, so a clean brand with the minimum agents necessary should help. In the event you continue to experience allergic reactions—and you’ve narrowed your culprits down to your hand sanitizer—check with a doctor to see if alcohol might be the instigator.


Looking for a trustworthy, healthy hand sanitizer? Look no further!

At Muse Health, the well-being of our sanitizer users comes before anything else…which is why we routinely donate our products to those in need. Our Fragrance-free Hand Sanitizer contains 62% ethyl alcohol to kill 99.9% of germs in combination with a rejuvenating serum of lime oil, vitamin E, and glycerin to keep your hands moisturized after each use. Considering our products are also vegan and clear of harmful chemicals such as parabens, dyes, and synthetics, you end up with a sanitizer brand you can trust to stay happy and healthy.

Visit our store page and make the switch today for cleaner, smoother hands!