True or false? Six myths about hand disinfectants

Are all hand disinfectants the same? Does hand sanitizer dry out the skin? Join us as we debunk the most common hand sanitizer myths and see if you would have gotten all the answers right the first time! 

Hand disinfectant, or “käsidesi” (as we familiarly call it in Finland, based on a Kiilto product name), has become an important tool in combating infections, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not only helpful for healthcare workers but in the everyday life of other professionals as well. Beliefs about hand disinfectants still persist, so we decided to debunk six of the most common myths – do you know the correct answers to all of them? 

All hand disinfectants are the same? 

False. Hand disinfectants have various differences in both effectiveness and features affecting user experience. 

Each of us has probably used hand sanitizer that has smelled strong, dried out the skin, or even stung unpleasantly – but why is that? The reason may lie in the quality of the active ingredient or other ingredients of the sanitizer. However, there must be a sufficient amount of the active ingredient for the hand sanitizer to work as it should. 

The sufficient concentration of the active ingredient against pathogens can be ensured by checking the product’s efficacy tests – for example, the efficacy against viruses is confirmed by the EN 14476 test. Hand sanitizers used in healthcare settings, among others, must also pass a range of other approved efficacy tests, such as proven efficacy for hygienic and surgical hand disinfection. 

There are also differences in the compositions of hand sanitizers: they range from runny to thick. If you want to avoid splashes – but still rub the hand sanitizer quickly – it is advisable to choose a lightly thickened product. In addition to efficacy, high-quality hand sanitizers also take into account care and skin feel, i.e., user comfort. 

For example, Erisan Pro Käsidesi effectively destroys all common pathogens and also cares for sensitive skin without compromising feel – the formula of Erisan Pro Käsidesi is specially developed for repeated and demanding use, which is why its user comfort has also been greatly emphasized. By choosing a pleasant-feeling, caring hand sanitizer, you ensure that it is used diligently! 

Did you know that the familiar Finnish term “Käsidesi” originally comes from the product name Erisan Pro Käsidesi? Kiilto is celebrating the 30-year journey of Erisan Pro Käsidesi this year – read more about the history published earlier this year. 

This is how Erisan Pro revolutionized hand hygiene 30 years ago

Read more

Hand sanitizer dries out hands? 

False. Quality hand sanitizers, like Erisan Pro Käsidesi, contain plenty of moisturizing and skin-caring ingredients that protect against the drying properties of the active ingredient, i.e., alcohol. Thanks to its caring composition, the hand sanitizer feels pleasant even on delicate skin – and its regular use can even improve the condition of the skin over time! 

However, it is true that some hand disinfectants can irritate the skin, as the ingredients of different preparations can vary greatly. Therefore, especially for sensitive skin, it is advisable to avoid products with added extra fragrances and also pay attention to caring properties – especially in winter, when frost and dry indoor air further stress the skin. 

Hand disinfection doesn’t replace hand washing? 

True. As a rule of thumb, visibly or noticeably dirty hands should always be washed first. 

The use of hand sanitizers does not replace hand washing, but it complements good hand hygiene effectively – especially when running water is not available. 

Hand disinfectants don’t help prevent flu or norovirus infections? 

False. The belief in the poor effectiveness of hand disinfectants against stubborn flu and noroviruses is based on the structure of these viruses – many of these pathogens lack a lipid envelope, which would make it easier for the disinfectant to penetrate. 

The lipid envelope composed of fatty substances in enveloped viruses does not shield the viruses against alcohol, such as the plant-based ethanol, which is the active ingredient of Erisan Pro Käsidesi. However, it is good to remember that not all sanitizers are alcohol-based – and not all have a sufficient amount of the active ingredient. It is therefore important to pay attention to the ingredients and active substances when choosing hand disinfectants, as well as to the efficacy tests of the product. For example, the efficacy of Erisan Pro Käsidesi has been confirmed against both typical flu and noroviruses. 

However, contact is not the only way flu and noroviruses are transmitted, so even the highest quality hand disinfectant cannot provide complete protection against them. In addition to maintaining good hand hygiene, the cleanliness of touch surfaces is crucial in reducing infections. 

The use of hand sanitizer increases the development of super bacteria? 

False. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim – as long as the hand sanitizer contains at least 60 % alcohol. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers alcohol-based hand sanitizers one of the most important ways to fight infections, as they are not only effective but also safe. However, the concern about the development of resistant bacteria is understandable, as the concentration of active ingredients can vary greatly between different manufacturers’ hand disinfectants. 

All Erisan Pro hand sanitizers, such as Erisan Pro Käsidesi, have an active ingredient concentration of over 70 %. 

Hand sanitizer contains many sensitizing ingredients? 

False. Erisan Pro hand sanitizers, such as Erisan Pro Käsidesi, are designed to be suitable for all skin types –including sensitive skin. 

Erisan Pro Käsidesi does not contain extra fragrances or dyes, and it also contains plenty of ingredients that gently take care of the skin. For this reason, the authentic and original Käsidesi is a safe choice even for repeated use. Kiilto collaborates on research and development with experts from the Allergy, Skin, and Asthma Federation to ensure that the composition of our products is always based on the latest knowledge in the field. 

It is good to keep in mind that hand disinfectants are now available in many varieties – the Allergy label is the easiest way to check that the risk of skin irritation from the product is as low as possible. 

Erisan Pro Käskidesi – safe and effective for 30 years 

  • Launched in 1994 
  • Effective against both bacteria and viruses: active ingredient is bioethanol 
  • Developed especially for repeated use 
  • Dries the skin less than hand washing: moisturizing ingredients include glycerol, inulin, and betaine 
  • Microbiocidal effectiveness: suitable for hygienic and surgical hand disinfection 
  • Vegan 
  • Allergy label: no extra fragrances or dyes