With so many cold & flu bugs around, you may well want to carry a hand sanitiser around with you. Despite how dried out your hands feel after using it, the unnatural fragrances, and the fact that it may be loaded with chemicals, we still think “better safe than sorry” and use it anyway.
However, most commercial hand sanitisers have a range of not-so-nice ingredients and have come under scrutiny both in the USA as well as here in NZ. For example Benzalkonium chloride is frequently used as a preservative and antibiotic (particularly hazardous if you need to touch your eyes while it’s still on your hand), and Triethanolamine (which is made from combining two other fairly toxic ingredients) – is a human skin, immune system and respiratory toxicant. Other additives can include parabens, and synthetic fragrance, which can be problematic – not just for your skin, but potentially to hormones as well.
But natural hand sanitiser is entirely different, using essential oils with natural antimicrobial activity to kill germs. Instead of alcohol, use witch hazel and aloe vera gel. Some research suggests that applying witch hazel to sensitive skin may be beneficial in the treatment of inflamed, irritated or broken skin and it has also been shown to effectively reduce inflammation and help soothe the skin . And aloe vera gel nourishes skin and prevents chapping and cracking.
The nice thing about making your own hand sanitiser is you can do the “aroma-to-order” by adding the essential oils that you like. Choose lemon, orange, peppermint, lavender, grapefruit, or for something delightful, use Fragonia. You can also make it as strong or as gentle as you’d like. If you’re making it up for your “growing concerns” reduce the amount tea tree oil, or use a bit of manuka oil. You can add a bit more for when you need to pull out the big guns. Adding kunzea oil will help reduce itching.
INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE YOUR OWN!
15 mL witch hazel water
75mL pure aloe vera gel (make sure it’s got no nasties!!)
Put all ingredients into a 100mL pump or squeeze bottle. Store for up to 12 months