When it comes to hand sanitizer, I think of it as a necessity in my daily routine as a dental hygienist. Having my hands be as clean as possible is a must in our profession, so it is essential to have a product that I can completely trust. I find the process of washing my hands with traditional soap and water to be overly drying to my skin, especially when combined with the rough paper towels that are found in most dental offices. Using a hand sanitizer is the clear winner, as it is a great time-saver in our super-crunched patient schedules.
In choosing a brand of hand sanitizer, I was often left wondering, “What product out there is best for my hands?” It has always been a priority for me to keep my skin at its best, and I want a product that I know is effective. With these motivations in mind, I had been searching for that sweet spot, where I knew that dangerous bacteria were being destroyed but not at the expense of my treasured hands.
The all-too-common curse of dry hands
At some point, everyone falls victim to the annoying sensations that accompany dry skin. The fall and winter seasons can be particularly troublesome when it comes to suffering from the dreaded curse of dry skin. Constant exposure to air conditioning in the summer can produce a similar reaction.1 In the dental profession, dry skin tends to result from frequent hand hygiene performed throughout the workday. In fact, harsh soaps can actually remove oils from the skin, causing dry skin that feels rough and itchy. As this condition progresses, painful cracks that bleed can develop in the tissue. This is a situation that both patients and dental professionals would prefer to avoid.
In the dental profession, the hands are put in a vulnerable position, so using the right products is a must. The average dental hygienist, who cleans her/his hands before and after every patient, will have washed her/his hands about 20 times after seeing eight to 10 patients in a typical hygiene workday. For dentists who see 30 to 40 patients in a day, that number multiplies tremendously.
The blessings of aloe
When it comes to skin care, the aloe vera plant has been well known for its healing properties for centuries.2 Aloe contains 75 potentially active components, which include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, sugars, and salicylic acid. It contains antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, that destroy free radicals. Aloe is widely known to have both a moisturizing and antiaging effect, as well as reducing inflammation when applied directly to the surface of the skin. And it also has an antiseptic effect. Aloe provides so many health benefits to the skin that it makes this natural product the perfect complement to a hand sanitizer.
I began using this hand sanitizer in November when the temperatures started to fall rapidly and the winds outside were very harsh, and I have been very pleased with the results. My hands stay comfortable throughout the workday, with no signs of dryness or irritation. I also noticed immediately that since this product contains aloe, it does not have the characteristic strong alcohol scent that I detect in many other hand sanitizers. I am so happy to have finally found a hand sanitizer that meets all of my needs.
The added benefit of a lotion
Now that I have a hand sanitizer that works for me, I decided to add in a lotion that I already use to keep my hands looking and feeling their best. I went with Glove’n Care Hand Cream (EDS), which has long been known as a trusted product in the dental field. The hand cream contains a unique formulation of high-quality ingredients, including jojoba oil, vitamin E, aloe, and witch hazel, as well as water from the Dead Sea.4
I apply a small amount to my hands right before lunch and at the end of the workday, and my hands feel fully protected. This particular brand of hand cream has a water-based formula that does not compromise the integrity of dental gloves as it quickly soaks into the skin. This lotion has quite a unique feel that does not leave hands greasy.
When it comes to taking care of my hands, I want the best. I don’t want to be bothered with the problem of ongoing itchy, dry, cracked skin during the course of my workday. I want my skin to feel soft and smooth. Additionally, when my patients look at my hands, I want them to have no doubt that they are receiving the best of care. I am excited to have finally found a combination of products that can make this happen.
1. Dry skin. American Skin Association website. http://www.americanskin.org/resource/dryskin.php.
2. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(4):163-166. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785
3. Glove’n Care Instant Hand Sanitizer. Essential Dental Systems website. http://edsdental.com/gnc_sanitizer/index.html.
4. Glove’n Care Hand Cream. Essential Dental Systems website. http://edsdental.com/gnc/index.html.