Hydroalcoholic gel and sun: beware of its drawbacks

Frequent hand washing is not only part of personal hygiene but also plays a fundamental role in the transmission of diseases. It is one of the basic protection measures against Covid-19 and hydroalcoholic gels are the best solution to ensure the sanitation of hands in the general population in places without access to soap and water. This is recommended by authorities such as the WHO, from where the usefulness of gels as a complementary measure to hand washing is pointed out, as long as they are these hydroalcoholic solutions contain between 60-80% v / v alcohol so that they exert an effective microbicidal activity and never with more than 90% v / v because they are less potent.

That is why in this so-called "new normal " they have gained special importance in our day to day life and are already part of the basics that we must carry in our bag at all times to be able to apply them frequently and rub on the palms and between the fingers of the hand for at least 30 seconds. 

Gel and sun, bad combination

The only drawback of using hydroalcoholic gel is the damage it can cause to our skin. This can look dry and cracked, in addition to being able to suffer more serious consequences if it is used before sun exposure. "Clinically they may look like burns but they are really irritative contact reactions, warns the Dr. Elena Martínez Lorenzor, a dermatologist at the Pilar de Frutos Clinic, who assures that "alcohol acts as a photo-toxic agent that, when in contact with the sun, produces molecules that are toxic, and in contact with the skin produces irritative contact reactions that can simulate burns. The lesions that it produces on the skin are irritative contact eczema-type lesions, that is, red or erythematous spots and plaques with papules, and pinpoint vesicles (such as very fine granites) that produce intense itching or itching ". 

How to avoid affecting the skin

Opting for conventional hand washing with soap and water whenever possible is therefore the main recommendation in any case and leaving the use of hydroalcoholic gel when this is impossible to carry out. Of course, if you are going to use any of these solutions, avoid exposing yourself directly to the sun immediately and wait a while to do so. 

Also remember that the use of sun protection is essential in summer even in these circumstances - the mask does not work as a barrier against the sun either - and it is perfectly compatible with the gel so do not neglect to resort to it if you want to avoid major problems. 

If despite the warnings you have been exposed to the sun after using the gel and your skin has suffered the consequences, it is best to see your doctor so that he can give you an exact diagnosis and need the most appropriate treatment for you, not forgetting in no hydration time so that the skin can regenerate. 

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