Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we humans are now practicing strict S.O.P. to prevent ourselves from contracting the deadly virus that has took many lives. The market is saturated with different kind of products that helps protect ourselves and hand sanitisers are not an exclusion.
Previously, hand sanitisers were not given much attention as it does now where it is a great alternative that’s readily available to get your hands clean when soap and water are not accessible. Hand sanitisers are now considered a “must have” item to carry with you when you are outdoors to minimise the chance of contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Getting a hand sanitiser is relatively easy nowadays as you can procure it from your local sundry store.
Now, the problem lies if it is the right hand sanitiser to be used.
Things is, there is a huge misconception among us Malaysians where the higher the number / percentage of a particular content the better, accompanied by the wish / greed of getting the product for cheap.
Types of Hand Sanitisers
The factor that differentiates and categorises these different types of hand sanitisers would be the active ingredient used in the product that is responsible for the removal of pathogens from your hands. For hand sanitisers, the active ingredient responsible for keeping us safe would be alcohol. There also exists another category of “hand sanitiser” where it does not contain alcohol and would be categorised as a “non-alcohol hand sanitiser”. Rather than referring them as “non-alcohol hand sanitisers” we would rather label them as surface disinfectants.
These surface disinfectants contains ingredients that are not friendly to the skin therefor not recommended to be used as a “hand sanitiser” but sadly due to miscommunication and misinterpretation between the words sanitiser and disinfectant users are miseducated by sellers that they both are the one same thing when they are not. Surface disinfectant contains ingredients that are not suitable to be used on the human skin for it may cause health related problems. As an example quaternary ammonia compounds are able to trigger or cause asthma and chlorine can lead to irritation of the eye, skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Surface disinfectant are more suitable to be used on surfaces of inanimate objects therefor the term “surface disinfectant”.
Types Of Alcohols Used In Hand Sanitisers Available In The Malaysian Market
In the Malaysian market there are mainly two kinds of alcohols used in these hand sanitiser products, namely the isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and denatured ethanol (alcohol denat). There exists a third kind which is called methanol and if found to be used in any hand sanitiser product it should not be considered for usage under any circumstances as it is considered dangerous and harmful to our wellbeing.
Isopropyl alcohol, or IPA is also referred as a rubbing alcohol. It is the most common type of alcohol where it is used to clean and sterilise inanimate objects such as jewellery. In order for a hand sanitiser product made with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to be effective at removing pathogens from our hands, the alcohol content has to be at least 70%. Whereas when compared to denatured ethanol (alcohol denat), it only requires a minimum amount of 60% to be effective. Our hands can only withstand a certain amount of alcohol before it causes mild irritations and rashes to our skin. The mindset of “the more the better” certainly does not apply as it is considered to be a double edged sword in this scenario.
Unlike denatured ethanol (alcohol denat), IPA is toxic by nature where it is made toxic through treatment of poisonous agents such as benzene and pyridine. The WHO states that isopropyl alcohol is more toxic than ethanol among alcohols.
Denatured ethanol comes from ethanol where is also known as grain alcohol. It is processed from grain and is considered a byproduct. It is safe for consumption and can be found in your liquor cabinet since it exists in any liquor that’s distilled from grain such as Sake / Whiskey. Denatured ethanol is created through adding of other ingredients to ethanol to discourage human consumption. Denatured alcohol is not something new where it can be found in cosmetics and skincare products such as toners.
With a lower minimum alcohol content in a hand sanitiser would mean more water content and this is considered to be a good thing as water plays a part in slowing down the evaporation process of the alcohol. This gives more time for the alcohol to react and infiltrate COVID-19 virus structure. The higher the percentage of alcohol the faster it dries. This is something that we do not want as the alcohol may dry off before it may kill off the pathogens lingering on our hands. As the alcohol content rises, not only it will damage our skin but it will also be useless against the removal of pathogens too. The low minimum efficacy of ethanol’s alcohol content at 60% gives the hand sanitiser an advantage over those that utilises isopropyl alcohol (IPA) that has a minimum efficacy alcohol amount at 70%.
Ethyl alcohol (denatured ethanol / alcohol denat) is the better choice when compared to isopropyl alcohol (IPA), as stated in the WHO “Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care”. It is a powerful broad spectrum germicide and is considered generally superior to isopropyl alcohol. Denatured ethanol is also considered to be more effective as a virucidal disinfectant as isopropyl alcohol is not effective against non-enveloped viruses such as Hepatitis A, Rotavirus and Adenovirus. Even the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends consumers to use an alcohol-based sanitiser that contains at least 60% ethanol. The NPRA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency of the Ministry of Health Malaysia) also stated that hand sanitisers should at least contain 60% ethanol / ethyl alcohol to be considered a hand sanitiser, because of that Upekkha’s Punica Granatum Extract hand sanitiser has passed the necessary tests of KKM (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia / Ministry of Health Malaysia) and is approved with a notification number as shown in the picture attached.
Not only Upekkha’s Punica Granatum Extract hand sanitisers ticks off all the checkbox that shows that it is the best hand sanitiser in the market, it further distinct itself from other products where it contains Punica Granatum extract! Punica Granatum extract is an effective herbal extract with broad spectrum of action and bactericidal, anti-fungal, anthelmintic potential giving our hand sanitiser the ability to modulate immune response. It also protects the skin from free radicals and illuminates your skin tone!
Upekkha’s Punica Granatum Extract hand sanitiser also contains glycerin, an emollient to prevent dry skin too!
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