The first line of defense

Dr Vikas Sharma

Here are some skin essentials amid coronavirus, sanitizers and face masks

First, it was face mask. Now, it’s hand sanitizer. Items that weren’t valuable just a few months ago are now coveted, hoarded and flying off store shelves.

Everyone wants a bottle of hand sanitizer. Covid-19 fears have turned the once unremarkable product into something very precious.

Know your sanitizer

Hand sanitizer comes in gel, foam and liquid formulations. It sounds pretty simple as an alternative to washing your hands with soap and water. However one needs to look carefully at the label before buying any of these products. Check the bottle for active ingredients. It might say ethyl alcohol, ethanol, isopropanol or some other chemical, and those are all fine. But make sure that whichever of those alcohols is listed, its concentration is between 60 and 95 per cent. An alcohol concentration under 60 per cent won’t kill the microbes. It’s really frightening to think that there are products out in market that contain levels lower than the required 60 per cent and sometimes much lower.

Good old soap amp; water

Hand sanitizer isn’t fully effective unless you use the one with right composition and in the right manner.

It can be useful if you have no soap or water around but if you have the latter then it’s much better to opt for the older option. Be pro-active and must check the labels on the hand sanitizer bottle mentioning the constituents and the concentration of active ingredients to be safe.

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