After I use the alcohol-based hand antiseptic in the practice, I notice that my hands feel slippery and do not feel clean. Why does that happen and what can I do to take care of it?

Repeated use of high concentrations of alcohol found in commercial waterless hand sanitizers and antiseptics can have a drying effect on the skin. People with sensitive skin can be especially affected. For this reason, products tested and approved for routine use in health professional facilities contain emollients, such as glycerin or aloe vera. These important additives reduce the drying potential of the antimicrobial alcohol over time with repeated use.

Some personnel may feel a “build up” of these emollients after a few uses of the hand sanitizer since water is not involved in this hand hygiene process. If the presence of the film bothers you, wash your hands with soap and water to remove it. There isn’t any hard and fast rule about how often to wash the emollients off. It is up to the individual to determine the frequency, but keep in mind that they do help to keep the keratinized epithelium on hands intact.