Overusing Hand Sanitizer Boosts Antimicrobial Resistance

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 10:44
Sanitizer

The demand as well using hand sanitizers and alcohol-based cleaning products has been increasing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the misuse of antibiotics can lead to antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.

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According to an ISCA report, some organisms (like bacteria) can change or mutate after being exposed to an antimicrobial. In this regard, some mutations occur after the bacteria's DNA has been damaged. This can happen naturally during cell replication or after exposure to genotoxic chemicals, which damage the cell's DNA.

Overusing alcohol-based hand sanitizers adversely affects your skin. They cause the skin on your hands to age more rapidly than it would naturally, as dry skin is prone to developing wrinkles and other blemishes, Lifehack reports.

It can lead to the development of superbugs. If your hand sanitizer does not contain alcohol, then it likely contains “triclosan,” which is a powerful antibacterial agent. The problem is overuse of antibiotics like triclosan can lead to the development of superbugs, which are essentially diseases that have developed a resistance to traditional antibiotics.

It contains unknown and possibly dangerous chemicals. The main ingredient in hand sanitizer is usually either alcohol or triclosan, both of which are designed to kill germs. Those aren’t; however, the only things present in your hand sanitizer, far from it actually. This is especially true if your hand sanitizer is scented, as synthetic fragrances normally consist of phthalates, which at their worst, can cause abnormalities in hormone production.

Based on the report, overusing them can increase your skin’s absorption of BPA. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a common building block in resins and some types of plastic. BPA is dangerous because it can do some pretty nasty things to your endocrine system, which in turn can cause numerous hormone disorders, cancer, and a litany of other bodily issues.

One study out of the University of Missouri found that using hand sanitizer right before touching anything containing a high amount of BPA (like thermal receipt paper) can increase the amount of BPA absorbed through your skin by “up to a hundred-fold.”

While certain hand sanitizers (specifically, those that contain at least 60% alcohol) are great at killing off microbial life, they can also remove naturally produced oils and beneficial bacteria present on your skin, which, ironically, reduces your body’s defenses against disease.

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