If you have ever been to an Essential Way class, you know that we like to stress the importance of a chemical-free lifestyle. One product that we like to talk about is hands sanitizers, partly because Young Living has such a great hand sanitizer and partly because commercial hand sanitizers are pretty bad. Let’s compare Young Living’s Thieves Hand Sanitizer with the average hand sanitizer.
COMMERCIAL HAND SANITIZER
Most hand sanitizers list either ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient. (Triclosan was also a very popular active ingredient until the FDA banned it from over-the-counter soaps and washes in 2016.) Ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are fairly harmless, but benzalkonium chloride may be slightly problematic.
Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is a very effective antimicrobial chemical especially because of its residual antimicrobial properties. Once alcohol dries up it no longer kills germs, whereas BAK continues to work long after it has dried. While that seems to be good, BAK has quite a few side effects that make it less than desirable in hand sanitizers.
For starters, regular use of this antimicrobial may lead to the development of resistant bacteria which we definitely don’t want lurking about our homes. It may also cause severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, so you should probably steer clear of any sanitizers with BAK as the active ingredient.
For the alcohol-based sanitizers, it’s really the inactive ingredients that cause all sorts of damage to our bodies. Below is a list of the most common ingredients in had sanitizers that you should avoid.
If you ever see the words “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredients list of any product, RUN AWAY! Quickly. It is a mixture of various scent chemicals and other ingredients which companies are not required to disclose. It represents a rather terrifying lack of accountability on the company’s part to label some chemical soup as “fragrance.” These chemical blends may cause hormonal disruption, allergies, and respiratory distress.
This chemical is most commonly found in sunscreens, but is also added to hand sanitizers for sun protection. While it is a relatively mild chemical, only causing skin and eye irritation, it does enhance the ability of other chemicals to penetrate the skin. Mix this chemical enhancer with the unknown chemicals in “fragrance” and you are heading into very dangerous territory.
Used as pH balancer and buffering agent, it’s not the worst chemical out there, but the chances of it being contaminated with nitrosamines are very high. Nitrosamines are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds that contaminate a wide variety of chemicals.
This is a mix of vitamin E and acetic acid that is used as a preservative or skin-conditioning agent. Theoretically it would be harmless, but unfortunately it has a high likelihood of being contaminated with hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is an aromatic compound that is know to be a skin and respiratory allergen and possibly damaging to the immune system. It may also be carcinogenic.
Now that we know what ingredients to avoid, what makes YL’s Thieves Hand Sanitizer so special? Let’s find out.
Denatured ethyl alcohol: The active ingredient is ethyl alcohol which is proven to kill 99.99% of germs on the skin. It is denatured to prevent oral consumption. While most companies denature alcohol with chemicals, YL uses Peppermint essential oil to denature the alcohol.
Aloe vera leaf powder: Used for its skin conditioning and antioxidant properties.
Vegetable glycerin: Used to moisturize the skin and maintain water balance.
Hydroxypropylcellulose: A cellulose derivate that acts as a binding and emulsifying agent.
Peppermint essential oil: Used to denature the alcohol, but also makes the sanitizer smell fresh and wonderful.
Thieves essential oil: The benefits of Thieves essential oil are… too many to list. Let’s just say it’s immune-supporting properties are legendary. Literally.
And… that’s it! These 6 ingredients are all the ingredients in Thieves Hand Sanitizer. No hidden ingredients, no synthetic fragrances, no artificial dyes, and no side effects.