The recommendations for washing hands usually mention "with soap" - is it also possible to use soap-free hand wash products?
Soap or liquid soap is usually recommended, whereby the term is used generally for all solid and liquid hand cleansing products, whether soap in the narrower sense or soap-free cleansing products (such as sebamed cleansing bars and the liquid Face & Body wash with or without olive - these are called syndets).
The soap-free sebamed skin cleansing products with a pH value of 5.5 are, due to their surfactant properties like soap, are also able to dissolve the lipid envelope of the Coronavirus, and they facilitate the complete rinsing of the particles. They are therefore a suitable recommendation for hygienic hand cleaning as a preventive measure against infections.
Does the pH value play a role?
Yes! Cleansing and care products which are pH-neutral (pH 7) or even alkaline (e.g. soap with pH 8-12) bring the biological protective to penetrate the skin and makes it more susceptible to dehydration, irritations and allergies.
sebamed products with their pH-value of 5.5 are adjusted to the natural pH-value of healthy skin and offer - with the same cleansing performance and protective effect against infections - optimal protection.
Do I still have to disinfect my hands after washing?
It depends: Special hygienic measures must be observed when dealing with infected or immunocompromised persons, very old people (nursing homes) and people with pre-existing health problems (heart/lung diseases, etc. in hospitals or other care facilities). In these cases, it is necessary to disinfect the hands.
Disinfection of the hands may also be necessary if you are travelling to work by public transport or have visited a doctor or done shopping and have no opportunity to wash your hands.
Otherwise, regular hand washing is sufficient: Regular hand washing reduces the number of germs on the skin surface of the hands. The WHO recommends hand washing as primary prevention, disinfection only when hand washing is not possible: https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/. The benefit of sebamed over soap for protective hand washing is its better skin tolerance, due to its pH 5.5 in contrast to the alkaline pH of soap, which destroy the skin’s protective acid mantle, increasing the risk of dryness and irritation
What temperature should the water have when washing hands?
If possible, we recommend warm water (not too hot - this could additionally dry out the skin; too cold water is uncomfortable, discouraging from the required length of 20 – 30 seconds for protective hand washing).
Why is washing with a soap or a syndet more efficient than washing with plain water?
Water alone cannot remove greasy dirt. This requires surfactants which - dissolved in water - solubilize greasy dirt particles and facilitate their rinsing off with the water. For protection against infections the oil solubilisation capacity of skin cleansing products is a crucial benefit because it removes the lipid envelope of corona viruses (and also influenza viruses) directly, making them incapable to attach to and infect our cells https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/coronavirus-sars-cov-2-structure/ , https://www.marketwatch.com/story/deadly-viruses-are-no-match-for-plain-old-soap-heres-the-science-behind-it-2020-03-08.
If there is no soap or syndet available, you should still wash your hands with plain water. Because even water alone removes at least some of the pathogens. Even if the use of soap or syndet significantly increases the effectiveness of hand washing, studies have shown that hand washing with clean water alone can reduce the frequency of diarrhoea, for example.
Do soaps or soap-free cleansing bars work better than liquid skin cleansers?
No. For the washing effect it makes no difference whether soaps or soap-free cleansing bars or liquid skin cleansers are used. Soaps or soap-free cleansing bars are no more unhygienic in private households than liquid skin cleansers. Germs can be found on the surface of soaps or soap-free cleansing bars but they do not survive long in this unfavourable environment.
Do I have to use more cleansing product than normal?
No. It is sufficient to use the usual amount of cleansing product. When cleaning your hands in the fight against corona viruses, you should always make sure that your hands are completely covered with the lathered cleansing product. It is also important that you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. (To wash your hands properly, follow the link to the instructions)
Are any infectious viruses left on the cleansing bar after use?
Germs or infectious viruses can be found on the surface of the bar but they are not infectious for long in this unfavourable environment. Studies have also shown that the germs are not transferred to the next user.
Are any infectious viruses left on the bottle or dispenser of the wash gel?
Corona viruses remain active for several hours on plastic. But that is not a problem, if you wash your hands after skin contact with the bottle/dispenser. But after washing you should not touch the bottle/dispenser again. It is recommended to clean the bottle/dispenser once or twice a day at home.
Do I have to give special protection to injured skin?
Medical personnel are instructed to give special protection to injured skin. However, the main route of infection is most likely directly through the mucous membranes.
When should I wash my hands?
Out of solidarity we should all adhere to the guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Health. www.waschen-wie-walter.de
Wash your hands always...
- after blowing my nose, coughing or sneezing
- before dinner
- if you come from outside
- before and after contact with sick people
- before and during the preparation of meals
- after contact with animals
- after going to the toilet
When to apply which hand care?
Frequent hand washing puts strain on the skin, even if the dehydrating and irritating effect is minimized when sebamed products are used. In times of intensive hand hygiene, hand creams provide a pleasant skin sensation, stabilize the moisture balance and help to protect against dryness and irritation. Sebamed offers 2 products for different hand care requirements:
- sebamed Hand & Nail Balm is a non-greasy, immediately absorbed hydrating care, which restores the skin’s smoothness and suppleness after hand washing
- sebamed Extreme Dry Skin Relief Hand Cream Urea 5% effectively alleviates dryness, roughness, flaking and itching of the skin stressed by frequent washing, use of disinfectants, and wearing of protective gloves