Holistic Hand Sanitization? Protecting Your Health and Hands
How to Wash with Wellness
Stopping the spread of COVID 19 is paramount to the general public's health at this time. The CDC and governing bodies around the globe have all made hand sanitization a priority in helping prevent the spread of this disease. These extra measures of hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help drastically reduce the spread of the virus. That being said, there are some important tips to remember when using hand sanitizer and washing your hands more frequently.
Wash your hands.
Follow these steps by the CDC for a step by step explanation of how to properly wash your hands. At Relyf we encourage the use of natural products that contain no additional chemicals or contaminants. Castille soap is a great option for hand washing.
Use hand sanitizer when washing hands is not an option.
Alcohol is effective at killing different types of microbes, including both viruses and bacteria, because it unfolds and inactivates their proteins through a process called denaturation. Heat can also denature some proteins — for example, when you cook an egg, the solidified egg whites are denatured proteins. While alcohol will kill bacteria and viruses, overuse of hand sanitizer can irritate the skin so if you are able to wash your hands, that should be your first choice.
Check the alcohol content of your hand sanitizer.
Whether you are trying to kill bacteria or viruses, many research studies have found that an alcohol concentration of 60% or greater is needed to be effective. In the case of DIY or homemade hand sanitizers, ensure the alcohol content is between 60 and 70 percent.
Protein denaturation actually works faster when a small amount of water is mixed with alcohol. Pure alcohol would evaporate too quickly to effectively kill bacteria or viruses on your skin, especially during winter when the air is less humid.
Using 100% alcohol will also dry your skin out very quickly and cause it to become irritated. These changes to your skin may cause you to not sanitize your hands as frequently as needed. This is why most hand sanitizers contain emollients, which are mixtures that help soften and moisturize your skin.
Re-hydrate your hands after washing and/or after using hand sanitizer.
The human body uses the largest organ (the skin) as a protective barrier from the outside world. Dry, damaged skin is more susceptible to be infected by viruses and bacteria. This is why it is important to use a high-quality lotion to re-hydrate your skin after washing. We are partial to our CBD cream for hydration, but any all-natural lotion will work as well. To be clear, no studies have found that ANY CBD products aide in fighting viruses. This step is simply for re-hydration.
Hydrate the inside of your body.
Ensure your skin is healthy by staying hydrated on the inside as well. Your skin is 64% water so drinking a moderate amount of water throughout the day (not just when you are super thirsty) can help your skin stay hydrated. The required amount of water is not a one size fits all equation. Requirements can fluctuate wildly based on factors like your lifestyle and the weather. If you are physically active your water requirement will increase compared to when you are sedentary. Our bodies also need more hydration in very hot and/or cold weather.
Another great way to ensure your skin stays hydrated is to eat enough high-quality fat. Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats such as seeds, nuts, and avocados hydrate your skin from the inside out. Hemp seeds, fish and other Omega-3 heavy fats also hydrate and decrease inflammation to reduce skin irritation and redness.
Try these tips out to protect your health and your hands.
Jenny Golden, CNHP is Relyf's VP of Education and adjunct professor at Trinity School of Natural Health teaching the science of Endocannabinology. If you'd like to learn more about Jenny visit her website at Takeselfcare.org