What Is Hand Health and Why Is Important?
by Joe Johnson, on March 17,2020
You've always been told to wash your hands: by your parents, by your teachers, by your employers. Obviously, it's something you should be doing, but you need to know how to do it properly. Hand health and skincare are important parts of a good hygiene routine, and hands that are not cared for can present problems for you and compromise the cleaning procedures that are designed to prevent contamination.
Up to 1,000 different species of bacteria live on our skin. Of these, a significant percentage are helpful and part of what is known as skin microbiota. One of their functions includes competing for nutrients with harmful bacteria to limit their growth. They can also trigger an immune system response in the presence of other bacteria or a wound. You want to protect these bacteria so that they can continue to help you in the never-ending defense against harmful pathogens. It is all part of the fascinating symbiotic relationship between humans and micro-organisms.
Soap and Sanitizer Cautions
It may surprise you to know that repeatedly washing your hands without taking measures to maintain skin health can actually increase the risk of infection or contamination. The palms of your hands are one of only two regions of the body that do not have sebaceous glands. These glands secrete a substance called sebum that is essentially a lubricating oil for the skin. Since your hands do not have these glands, repeatedly washing your hands dehydrates them faster and strips them of the helpful resident helpful pathogens within.
Overusing hand sanitizer, although often promoted as a way to combat viruses and infections, can be even worse for your skin health. These sanitizers are extremely high in alcohol content that - to a greater extent than soap and water - strips off natural oils. Hands will dehydrate even more rapidly when subjected to these types of solutions. The widespread availability of sanitizers and their ease of use also contribute to the dehydration risk.
The end result is that your hands become dry and cracked very rapidly. This represents a threat to overall skin health. Once the helpful microbiota are removed the harmful pathogens, that we have been working so hard to rid ourselves of, have been given a perfect place to hide and flourish.
Therefore, it is critical to protect hands from the dehydrating effects of excessive washing. Moisturize frequently throughout the day, particularly after washing or sanitizing. A moisturizer or skin softener will replenish the oils that are necessary to protect resident pathogens. It will also prevent the skin from drying out and becoming cracked, creating a place to hide for harmful pathogens.
In an effort to address this issue our Meritech UltraPure Hand Hygiene Solution is specifically designed to promote healthy skin. Synthetic lanolin is added to our hand hygiene solution to leave your hands feeling hydrated and healthy after each wash. UltraPure not only removes more than 99.9% of harmful pathogens in 12 seconds, but the focus on skin health helps increase compliance and provides a nice experience for all those who use it.
To learn more about how you can improve your hand health and skincare, contact us today.