HOW TO ACHIEVE FLAWLESS HAND HYGIENE
- The regular and effective cleansing of the hands is an essential component of bodily hygiene. Good hand hygiene practices rely on positive behavioral habits combined with high-quality, toxin-free hand cleansing and sanitizing products.
- Handwashing for at least 20 seconds is considered to be the most effective practice at cleaning the hands, but leave-on hand cleansers and sanitizers can be useful supplements to most hand hygiene regimens.
- Commercial hand hygiene products include bar soaps, liquid hand washes, leave-on hand cleansers, and hand sanitizers. Each product carries specific advantages and disadvantages depending on the context and environment in which they are used.
- Many people do not realize that hand care and hand hygiene go hand in hand; the excessive use of harsh, drying, or irritating cleansing products and alcohol-based sanitizers can disrupt the skin barrier of the hands, leading to a reduction in the skin's natural ability to protect from external irritants.
The value of proper handwashing and hand hygiene has become a constant adage in the current climate, urged on by public health professionals, government officials, and international authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Good hand hygiene can involve multiple, ongoing processes, including the washing, cleansing, and sanitization of the hands, all of which rely on positive habits as well as products that are safe, convenient, skin-friendly, and ultimately reliable.
Done right, hand hygiene practices purify the skin's surface to get rid of dirt, dust, and other impurities that can accumulate through our everyday interactions. More importantly, they also reduce the entry of germs and pathogens - organisms that can cause serious infections or illnesses if provided access through contact with the nose, eyes, mouth, and other bodily openings.
NDA's R&D team has developed a line of hand cleansing products to meet the needs of those who are looking for safe, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredients and also don't want to compromise on hand care. Read on to discover how washing and cleansing can contribute to improved hand care and illness prevention, how to cleanse the hands correctly, and how NDA's new product line can assist us in gentle yet thorough cleaning.
PROPER HAND HYGIENE PRACTICES: WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?
Our hands are constant danger zones. Throughout the day, they interact with germ-ridden surfaces such as smartphones, door knobs, sink taps, elevator buttons, public transport poles, touch screens, shopping carts, and toilet seats. Not only can our hands become a magnet for undesirable germs and bacteria, they are also an effective carrier of these organisms. Unclean hands can therefore rapidly spread pathogens onto other people through the touching and sharing of public surfaces, making our environment a potential hotbed for high-risk illness and disease.
Disease-causing microorganisms are largely invisible to the naked eye. To provide some perspective, bacteria are measured in micrometers (a micrometer consists of 1 millionth of a meter), and viruses are sized on an even smaller scale using nanometers (a nanometer makes up 1 billionth of a meter). For this reason, hands that may 'look' or 'seem' clean might still be harboring colonies of flourishing bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
Hand washing, cleansing, and sanitization are effective measures that promote and maintain the cleanliness of not only our hands but also our surroundings. Traditional hand washing takes place with bar soap and clean, lukewarm water. The hands are first moistened with water and a soap lather is created by rubbing and massaging the hands together to allow all surface areas to be thoroughly cleaned. The last step involves rinsing off with water and patting the hands dry with a clean towel.
Proper hand hygiene involves choosing the right products that all work in unison to maintain or improve the cleanliness of the hands. Furthermore, products must supplement one another, be conducive to good skin health and overall well-being, and be compatible with our lifestyles. For example, while the importance of hand washing (whether with liquid or traditional soap) cannot be overstated, the practicalities of daily life mean that we simply do not have time or access to soap and running water to make this a frequent practice. As a result, many people do not wash their hands as often as they should, and even when they do, appropriate washing methods and times are rarely applied. To maintain the upkeep of hand hygiene, therefore, no-rinse hand cleansers and sanitizers can provide an effective solution. They can be regarded as essential accompaniments (not substitutes) to conventional hand washing, providing the convenience and ease of use required to clean our hands in the midst of busy or hectic modern-day lifestyles.
Many people do not realize that hand care and hand hygiene go hand in hand. The prolonged use of harsh cleansing products and alcohol-based sanitizers can actually break apart the protective skin barrier of the hands. The skin barrier is designed to stop moisture loss and damage from external elements such as the sun, pollutants, and other chemicals. Once disrupted, these individuals suffer from dry, irritated, inflamed, or painful hands, along with skin that has lost its natural ability to safeguard from environmental exposures and irritants. To avoid this from happening, extra care should be taken when choosing and using your hand hygiene products.
AGENTS IN HAND HYGIENE: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOAP, HAND WASHES, CLEANSERS, AND SANITIZERS
There are a variety of hand hygiene products currently available on the market to suit every hand care need and preference. However, it is important to understand the basic differences between the different product types, including soap, hand washes, hand cleansers, and hand sanitizers.
Bar Soap Vs. Hand Wash
Bar Soap constitutes the oldest and most fundamental agent of hand hygiene. Due to its natural chemical nature, it can combine with skin oil build-ups which contain bacteria and other potential pathogens and allow them to be washed away with running water. Liquid Soap or Hand Washes are a more modern invention and can be more convenient for our modern lifestyles. Both bar and liquid soap are made up of the same key ingredient (surfactants) and have the power to degrease, clean, and remove pathogens.
Common issues that tend to arise through the frequent use of soap and/or hand washes are skin irritation and dryness. Bar soaps typically have higher pH levels, which can seep out levels of moisture from the skin needed to maintain its health. Liquid hand washes, on the other hand, commonly feature sulfate compounds such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) as a surfactant. While cheap and extremely effective at cleansing, SLS is a known irritant that can contribute to hands getting even more irritated, dry, or sensitive. The practice of overwashing can also exacerbate these problems.
For those who have these concerns, it is best to switch to a hand wash that is sulfate-free and has added moisturizing ingredients. NDA's Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Wash uses Potassium Oleate and Potassium Cocoate, both naturally derived from vegetable oils, as safe and environmentally-friendly emulsifiers and surfactants. The incorporation of Hyaluronic Acid (a humectant rarely included in rinse-off products due to its cost) also makes it especially soothing for those with dry, mature, or easily irritated skin.
Leave-on Hand Cleansers Vs. Hand Sanitizers
Leave-on hand hygiene products, on the other hand, are designed to be used without water. The primary benefits offered include their ease of use and portability. These products can vary in the key ingredients and concentrations used, and so can their functions.
All-natural, leave-on Hand Cleansers are designed to cleanse, dissolve, and remove dirt, soils, germs, and grime in a quick and convenient way without needing soap and water. They typically harness the natural powers of pure botanicals, and companies that produce them tend to be more conscious in terms of the health and toxicity of incorporated ingredients. NDA's Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cleanser was formulated with pure Tea Tree and Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oils, both known for their skin purification properties while simultaneously being soothing and balancing to the skin.
Alcohol-based Hand Cleansers typically use Ethanol as its chief antimicrobial agent. When used topically, they have the ability to destroy a wide range of pathogenic organisms due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. As alcohol can be drying, however, NDA's Lemongrass Verbena Hand Cleansing Gel is specially enriched with pure Glycerine and Aloe Vera Extract to help condition skin and contribute to hand care.
By contrast, leave-on Hand Sanitizers are classed as disinfectants and must meet national regulations, including those mandated by the FDA or Health Canada, that govern the safety, quality, efficacy, packaging, and labeling of these non-cosmetic products. The main function of Hand Sanitizers is not to clean the hands but to kill pathogens directly, and they do not typically contain hydrating ingredients. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are particularly popular and their active ingredients are typically Ethyl Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol; a minimum alcohol concentration of 60% is generally recommended as this can target a broader spectrum of disease-causing microorganisms at a more rapid rate. NDA's Hand Sanitizer Spritz features Alcohol at a concentration of 80% as its main active ingredient.
Alcohol-free hand sanitizers, on the other hand, are generally best avoided due to their rampant use of toxic chemicals such as Benzalkonium Chloride or Triclosan, which have shown to be harmful to human health and the environment.
Leave-on Hand Hygiene Products Do Not Replace Hand Washing
It is important to keep in mind that hand washing is considered to be the superior cleaning measure by authorities such as CDC and WHO, especially if you have visibly soiled or oily hands. Leave-on products are not replacements but useful (and sometimes essential) supplements to handwashing practices simply because it can sometimes be impossible to have access to running water and soap.
Leave-on products including hand sanitizers are not a cure-all for all pathogens; according to the CDC, regular hand washing is actually a much more powerful way to get rid of the contagious Norovirus and parasites including Cryptosporidium. The CDC also states that hand sanitizers cannot eradicate toxic chemicals such as pesticides.
A GUIDE TO NDA'S HAND WASH & HAND CLEANSING PRODUCTS: BENEFITS & HOW TO USE
NDA has created a line of hand cleansing products to meet the needs of individuals looking for safe, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredients and who also do not want to compromise on their hand care. All our products are free of sulfates including SLS and SLES, free of Triclosan, and free of Benzalkonium Chloride. They have been specially formulated to be effective yet mild, soothing, and hydrating, and can be used by all skin types.
|Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cleanser
|Tea Tree Essential Oil, Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Aloe Vera Extract
|Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Wash
|Tea Tree Essential Oil, Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid)
|Lemongrass Verbena Hand Cleansing Gel
|Denatured Ethanol, Glycerine, Aloe Vera Juice
|Hand Sanitizer Spritz
|Denatured Ethanol, Glycerine, Hydrogen Peroxide
How To Use: Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cleanser
- Dispense a dime-sized amount of cleanser from the bottle.
- Using the fingers and palms of your hand, gently massage the cleanser throughout all surface areas, taking care not to neglect the back of your hands, the space in between your fingers, and the skin around the fingernails.
- Rubbing your hands gently together enables the cleanser's light foaming action, which helps lift and dislodge built-up dirt, germs, oils, and impurities.
- Leave on for a few minutes until the cleanser dries naturally. There is no need to rinse.
- Use as often as required.
How To Use: Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Wash
- Wet hands thoroughly under running water.
- Dispense a small amount of hand wash into your palms and rub your hands together to create a lather.
- Continue rubbing and lathering for at least 20 seconds, ensuring you reach all surface areas of the hand.
- Rinse well under running water.
- Use as your primary hand cleansing method; use NDA's Tea Tree + Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cleanser or Lemongrass Verbena Hand Cleansing Gel to clean hands while on the go.
How To Use: Lemongrass Verbena Hand Cleansing Gel
- Dispense a dime-sized amount of cleanser from the bottle.
- Using the fingers and palms of your hand, gently massage the cleanser throughout all surface areas, taking care not to neglect the back of your hands, space in between your fingers, and the skin around the fingernails.
- Leave on until the gel dries naturally. There is no need to rinse.
- Use as often as required.
How To Use: Hand Sanitizer Spritz
- Spritz the palm of your hand with an adequate amount of sanitizer.
- Rub into the skin for up to 25 seconds, ensuring all surfaces are covered.
- Leave on until the formulation dries. There is no need to rinse.
- Use as often as required.
SAFETY INFORMATION & POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, all the products listed in this article are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using them for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use any of the aforementioned skincare products without the medical advice of a physician. These products should always be stored in areas that are inaccessible to children.
Those with the following health conditions are especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.
Prior to the topical use of any Essential Oil, or products containing Essential Oils, a skin patch test is recommended. Essential Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
View WHO's step-by-step guidelines for handwashing here.
View CDC's resources for hand hygiene here.
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