Effect of hand lotion on the effectiveness of hygienic hand antisepsis: Implications for practicing hand hygiene

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HighlightsUse of moisturizing hand cream is helps maintain an intact skin barrier.Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand antisepsis is not reduced by prior use of a hand lotion.Well-maintained skin might be more easily disinfectable than poorly tended skin.BackgroundSkin protection products should be used after washing hands with soap, during breaks, after work, and during leisure time. Aside from their beneficial effects, skin care products may also interact with alcohol-based hand disinfectants by reducing their efficacy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a hand lotion on the effectiveness of hygienic hand antisepsis using an alcohol-based handrub.MethodsThe effect of a protective hand lotion against an isopropyl alcohol-based handrub was investigated in 20 healthy volunteers according to the European standard test procedure EN 1500 in the following combinations: handwashing and application of hand lotion, only application of hand lotion, and no washing and no hand lotion (control), each for 5 minutes or 1 hour before hand antisepsis. The difference in microbiologic before-and-after values were expressed as log reduction factor.ResultsThe effectiveness of hand antisepsis was not significantly affected in any of the groups using the tested hand lotion.ConclusionsHand antisepsis may be delayed for 5 minutes after hand lotion application. Shorter time intervals might be possible but were not tested.

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