Hand sanitizer although useful at times, does affect the probiotics on your skin, mouth, and gut. Hand sanitizer is useful when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, but it has become one of the most over used measures to cleansing one’s hands, especially right now. Recently we’ve had many patients that are having issues with their health directly caused by the overuse of hand sanitizers.
Hand washing with soap and water has been proven time and again to be the best way to prevent the spread of infection, but when soap and water are not available, a natural, gentle variety that doesn’t damage your skin too much can be helpful. It’s rare for a germ on your skin to cause infection. It’s when the germs get transferred to your nose, eyes, and mouth, or through cracked skin, that it can get into your body and potentially make you sick.
There are two main problems with hand sanitizers and over washing.
- The first is washing off the protective layer of oils your body produces. This dries out your skin too much, breaking it down so that the barrier is more porous and dry, allowing for bugs and chemicals to get into your bloodstream more easily.
- The second problem is that the antibacterial components of soaps and sanitizers get into your face, mouth, nose, throat, stomach, and guts. This kills the helpful protectant probiotics we have that live within us and protect us by forming our immune systems. We need good bacteria within us, because that’s what kills and maintains our first level/ barrier to the outside world.
Germs also become resistant to antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers. This is how we have drug resistant bacterial infections, usually in hospital settings.
A normal healthy immune system is always our first and most important defense. Your immune system touches every part of your body, and has many different layers of defense including your skin, mucous membranes, tonsils, adenoids, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, appendix, Peyer’s patches, lymph nodes, and circulating white blood cells.
The first layer of your immune system is your skin. Your skin itself is made up of many layers and the top layers of your skin are ecosystems of healthy normal good bacteria. They directly fight bad bugs, and they communicate with your body to tell it to react when needed for additional support or reinforcements. For example, telling your body to send killer T cells made by the thymus gland to engulf any bad invader.
If your immune system is strong, it should be able to fight off viruses and bacteria that enter your body. Washing your hands with soap and water provides hygiene and an extra layer of support without breaking down the integrity of your skin barrier, and without killing off your protective probiotics in your gut.
Your best line of defense against infection is to
- optimize your vitamin D
- get good sleep
- minimize stress
- exercise regularly
- avoid sugar and grains
- keep good hygiene (wash your hands before you make food)
- take a high quality probiotic
- and get your spine healthy through regular Neuro-Structural Chiropractic adjustments.
Here at Platinum Chiropractic, we recommend Proflora 4R™ Restorative Probiotic Combination from Bio-Botanical Research. This is an amazing probiotic which should be used in addition to eating fermentation rich probiotic foods daily.
Proflora 4R is a combination of Quercetin, Marshmallow Root, and Aloe Vera extract to provide additional nutritional support for “leaky gut” and a healthy microbial balance. Plus, because it is a spore-forming probiotic, it is undamaged by antibiotic therapies and stomach acid, surviving to reach the intestines nearly 100% of the time as opposed to most probiotic pills, only reaching the intestine 5-10% of the time.
Pick yours up on your next visit, or order some in our online supplement store.