EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAND WASHING
As the perfect breeding ground for germs, our hands are constantly under strain: at work, on public transport, outdoors and at home. To protect yourself and stay healthy, you should wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
Should you use soap to disinfect your hands?Washing your hands frequently reduces the likelihood of germ transmission. Numerous micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are present on our hands so simple surface contact (stair railings, subway bars) can be enough to spread pathogens.
Keeping your hands clean will prevent and fight most viral diseases such as colds and stomach flu. However, touching your face, cheeks or chin with your hands can spread bacteria.
Conventional soaps are produced by saponification, which consists in adding triglycerides from plant oils to sodium hydroxide (for a solid soap) or to potassium hydroxide (for a liquid soap). After several weeks of maturing, a blend of glycerine and surfactants (soap) is obtained.
A soap bar contains 5 to 6 times more surfactants than foaming gels or cleansing oils. Soap's pH is alkaline >7-9, which is rather aggressive for the skin barrier whose physiological pH is 5.5.
Foaming gels and cleansing oils have a pH of 5.5. Their lower surfactant load and physiological pH mean that they respect the skin barrier and do not dry out the skin.
How do cleansing soaps and gels remove microbes from the skin surface?Conventional soaps are not disinfectants. Their role is not to kill viruses and bacteria but to get rid of them by a mechanical effect.
When scrubbing wet hands with soap, the washing base and the formation of foam due to surfactants found in the formula create micelles that loosen dirt, dead cells and sebum, which are then rinsed off with water. In addition, the surfactants in soaps or foaming gels act on the lipid membrane that surrounds viruses.
Regardless of the soap, if the 30-second washing time is respected and the quantity of product is sufficient (1 to 3ml for cleansing gels), germs should be eliminated when washing your hands.
Because micro-organisms are often found between the fingers, under the nails and on the wrists, we recommend paying special attention to these areas when you wash your hands.
If your skin is prone to atopic eczema, opt for soap-free cleansing products with a pH close to that of the skin, such as DEXYANE Protective cleansing oil or ICTYANE Ultra-rich foaming gel.
Is it better to use automatic hand dryers?
Heat boosts the multiplication of germs, so choose single-use towels such as disposable paper towels instead of automatic hand dryers.
Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most cases.
When and how to use hydro-alcoholic gel?If soap and water are not easily available, an alcohol-based hydro-alcoholic gel is a good alternative.
To effectively disinfect your hands, make sure the gel contains at least 60% alcohol. Easy to carry and always available, hydro-alcoholic gel is the ideal solution to have in your bag. It reduces the number of germs on the surface of your hands wherever you are.
Use on hands free from greasy or powdery substances such as talcum powder.
Our advice for safe and effective use :
- Apply hydro-alcoholic gel in the palms of your hands.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel all over your hands and fingers until completely dry.
Using hydroalcoholic gel, together with frequent hand washing, can dry out your hands. We therefore recommend applying specific hand creams formulated for dry and damaged
skin, with the indication “Dry skin”.
To protect yourself and those around you, remember to stick to the protective measures:
- Wash your hands very frequently.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue.
- Use a disposable tissue and throw it away.
- Say hello without shaking hands, avoid kissing or hugging.