8 Best Hand Sanitizers for Dry Skin
Here are some of the best (and safest) hand sanitizers to use if you have dry skin and no access to soap and water to wash your hands.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Does hand sanitizer really work?
While you may know how important it is to wash your hands regularly, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not always possible to find soap and water when you’re out of the house. But that doesn’t mean you should just neglect this healthy habit until you’re back home. Instead, opt to use a hand sanitizer. (If you can find one, we know—they are often sold out.)
“Washing hands is always the best choice as you can do it for a long time, getting every nook and cranny of your hand, creases of skin, and your fingernails, too,” says Nicholas Bartolozzi, a physician assistant at Concierge MD in Los Angeles. “But if you’re away from home, using a safe and effective hand sanitizer, covering your hands completely and thoroughly, is a good alternative.” (Find out just how safe are homemade hand sanitizers.)
Hand sanitizer ingredients
Believe it or not, not all hand sanitizers are created equal, And during this pandemic, there have been a lot of brands and companies putting out harmful hand sanitizers just because the demand is so high. “Unfortunately, many hand sanitizers are being recalled because they are not approved or the chemicals in them are causing more problems to the skin,” explains Bartolozzi. “It is unfortunate that the public is being taken advantage of during pandemic. I suggest using what has been around, what has worked, and checking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for updates on hand sanitizer recalls.
What makes a hand sanitizer effective? It needs to contain the vital ingredients for killing germs while also being safe for human skin, which, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is ethanol or ethyl alcohol. According to the CDC, a hand sanitizer must contain anywhere between 60-95 percent ethanol or ethyl alcohol to be considered effective enough to kill germs.
Skin reaction to hand sanitizer
If you have sensitive skin or other skin issues, you may want to proceed with caution when choosing a hand sanitizer. “If you suffer from contact dermatitis, hives, eczema, or any other skin conditions diagnosed by a dermatologist, some soaps, detergents, lotions, or sanitizers can be a hazard to your skin,” explains Bartolozzi. “Ask your dermatologist or family doctor what they recommend before purchasing a product.” Even just using hand sanitizer for a prolonged period of time has the potential to dry out your hands more than normal, so it’s best to pick a trusted brand with ingredients that will kill germs but also help keep moisture in.
If you don’t have allergies or any other pre-existing skin conditions, consider purchasing one of these hand sanitizers that not only work, but will also help minimize dry skin, too. (Keep in mind that some of these products may be sold out or unavailable. We’ve done our best to provide links to sites where these products were not sold out at the time of publication.)
Bath & Body Works Beautiful Day PocketBac Hand Sanitizer 5-Pack
Small enough to fit in your purse, pocket, or any on-the-go bag, these mini bottles of sanitizer can still get the job done, thanks to the 68 percent alcohol content. Ingredients like essential oils, Shea butter, vitamin E, and aloe also keep any damage to your hands at bay.
CVS Health Instant Hand Sanitizer with Aloe
This bottle has 62 percent ethyl alcohol that, according to the CDC, will kill coronavirus germs if they get onto your hands. The aloe ingredient will help keep dry skin at bay, too. Choose between a two-ounce or eight-ounce bottle.
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel Pump Bottle
One pump out of this bottle is enough to do the work of two pumps from other brands. Purell is the No 1 hand sanitizer most trusted and used by hospitals, too, so you know you’re getting something that works (on 99.99 percent of germs). It also contains skin conditioners to help keep moisture in. (Got dry skin? Here are natural moisturizers you can find in your home.)
Suave Hand Sanitizer
$27 for a pack of six 10-ounce bottles
You might have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, or other hair products from this brand, but now they’re making hand sanitizer, too. The product has 65 percent ethyl alcohol, so it actually works to kill germs, according to the CDC. (Beware, these are the times you’re overusing hand sanitizer.)
CVS Health Instant Hand Sanitizing Wipes
$5 for 24 wipes
Individually packaged for your on-the-go needs, these sanitizing wipes are just as effective as the gels, with an active ingredient of 65.9 percent alcohol. They’re perfect for when you’re outside the house, take up little to no room, and as long as you wipe your entire hands, nails, etc., they’ll kill up to 99.99 percent of germs. These wipes can help make trips to the grocery store more stress-free during coronavirus.
Germ-X Original Hand Sanitizer
$20 for pack of six 12-ounce bottles
Not only does this bottle contain sanitizer with 63 percent ethyl alcohol, but it also has moisturizers and ingredients like vitamin E that will help to keep your hands from drying out if you’re using it on the regular. You’ll notice that it leaves your hands feeling smoother than other harsher hand sanitizing options. (Be sure to also try these home remedies for dry hands and feet.)
MedZone Hand Sanitizer
This gel contains more than the CDC recommended percent of alcohol, coming in at 62.5 percent. While the brand is only allowing one order per household, you’ll get two 16-ounce bottles, which can go a long way. (This is how long hand sanitizer really lasts.)
The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray
Who said you can’t fight germs while smelling good, too? This sanitizer contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave any sticky residue on your hands. The brand prides itself on creating products that work, but are also good for you, and this spray is hypoallergenic, too. The aloe and botanical extracts in the spray will help keep the natural oils in your hands so you don’t experience dry skin. (Next, check out the 9 EPA-registered coronavirus cleaning products.)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Hand Hygiene Recommendations"
- Nicholas Bartolozzi, MS, PAC, physician assistant at Concierge MD in Los Angeles