Choosing the right hand sanitiser: the formulation matters

Choosing the right hand sanitiser: the formulation matters
14 April 2020

Choosing the right hand sanitiser: the formulation matters

As we enter a second national lockdown, we want to stress the importance of hand hygiene and encourage you to not become complacent with the routine of frequently washing and sanitising your hands – even whilst you’re at home.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with the vast selection of hand sanitisers on the market at the moment, this guide will advise you which products to avoid as well as what to look for when narrowing down your search. We have been developing and supplying our products to the healthcare industry for over 25 years and know what it takes to make a product that is effective and trusted by healthcare professionals.


Emollients - What are they and how do they work?

What are emollients?


Although the alcohol in hand sanitiser is the active ingredient that works against germs and viruses, emollients are a vital component to any high-quality formulation. Emollients help to combat the harsh stripping effects of the alcohol and prevent drying of the skin which results in sore chapped skin. Dry or chapped hands are more susceptible to infections and can accommodate increased germs and pathogens. When skin is moist, it can better protect you from germs and reduces the transmission of germs.

The following emollients are commonly used in the cosmetics industry due to their moisturizing properties, and can also be found in our hand sanitising gels Sterosan Hand Sanitising Gel and Waterjel Hand Sanitising Gel;

  • Vitamin E: Often found in cosmetic creams as it aids in preventing dryness in the skin. Also works as an antioxidant, preventing damage in skin cells on the hands
  • Glycerine: This moisturizing ingredient can treat minor skin irritations and prevent dry, rough, and itchy skin
  • Monopropylene glycol: Has hygroscopic properties which retains moisture, enhancing the appearance of skin
  • Aloe vera: Soothes the skin and has moisturising, healing, and rejuvenating properties

The addition of these ingredients along with the emulsifying carbomer allows for the solution to be the right thickness and consistency to apply to the skin without causing the skin to dry and become irritated but also without the stickiness associated with thicker gel products.


What should I avoid in a hand sanitiser?

Things to avoid in hand sanitisers

It is common knowledge that hand sanitising gel can be extremely drying on the skin due to its high alcohol content. An unpleasant consistency is also an unwelcomed attribute to many instant hand sanitisers on the market and could even deter people from using it to clean their hands as frequently as they should.

Members of the public and healthcare professionals report that some branded hand sanitisers are often too thin and dry out the skin, leaving their hands sore. Other gels are too thick and take a long time to absorb into the skin, leaving an unpleasant sticky feeling.

Beware of cheap, substandard products which are currently saturating the marketplace – as they are likely to contain harsh formulations. These products are likely to have little credibility from medical standards and could be damaging to your skin.

It is likely that the brands that produce these hand sanitising gels have a poor knowledge of blending alcohol hand sanitisers and the importance of emollients. Although some of these products may contain moisturing ingredients such as Aloe Vera – if an unsuitable consistency of the formulation is used, then the added ingredient will be lost and become ineffective at benefiting the skin in any way. Find out more about how the ingredients in hand sanitiser works in our recent blog post – How do hand sanitisers work?

Our 25 years of experience and product testing is what has allowed us to produce a high-quality formulation with the perfect balance of alcohol and emollients which work to benefit your skin. Our hand sanitising gels conform to the EN1500 Standard and have been tested by the Hospital Infection Research Laboratory.


Which hand sanitiser gel should I buy?

Hand Sanitisers

Choosing a higher quality hand sanitising gel is a long-term investment for your skin and one of the best ways to guarantee protection against germs and viruses that live on the skin on our hands. We developed our Sterosan Hand Sanitising Gel with our customers in mind, the unique formulation combats against the common problems that occur with the use of standard hand sanitiser gels amongst healthcare professionals and members of the public.

Our Sterosan formulation includes Isopropyl Myristate which is used to help the skin absorb the product whilst enhancing the skin integrity, more benefits of this ingredient can be found in this article from The Derm Review. The addition of skin emollients also aid in protecting the skins natural barrier from the harshness of the alcohol, retaining the skins natural moisture levels.

Its consistency is fast absorbing without drying the skin or leaving an unpleasant residue. The combination of moisturising benefits and emollients is what makes our product stand out from the rest, providing a superior level of special skin protection which is hard to find on the current market.

Is it time to update your old or expired hand sanitiser gel? Our selection of hand sanitisers will hydrate and cleanse the sensitive skin on your hands, keeping them soft and free from germs, even after repeated use.

Even with regular use, our products will ensure that the skin barrier is protected and hydrated, further reducing the risk of infection. 

We recommend ensuring that the hand sanitiser gel you buy has the following qualities:

  • Conforms to medical standards
  • Added emollients
  • Tried & tested by medical professionals 


Don't settle for low quality alternatives - your skin will thank you!

Choosing the right hand sanitiser to use is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be complicated. We have options to suit everyone, skin-friendly formulas available to buy in bulk or packs of single bottles for distribution to individuals. For all distributor pricing and enquiries, call 0161 902 3030 or email

We recommend using only the best quality, tried and tested products to keep your hands clean, refreshed and free from germs throughout the day...

Sterosan Hand Sanitising Rub

Our Sterosan Hand Sanitising Rub is made with a proven tried and tested formula that is a favourite for many of our customers - available in a sturdy 500ml dispenser for frequent use.

Other key product features include:

  • It can kill up to 99.999% of germs
  • Medical grade
  • Leak-proof
  • 1-2 sprays is all you need
  • Conforms to the EN1500 Standard
  • Available in handy 50ml size or ultra-stable 500ml dispenser
  • Ideal for multiple users in care homes, doctors surgeries and physiotherapists
  • Testing performed by the Hospital Infection Research Laboratory
  • Bulk-buy options available


Water Jel Hand Sanitiser

This Water Jel antibacterial hand sanitiser kills 99.9% of germs, making it a quick solution to keeping hands clean throughout the day, introducing it to your routine between hand washes could drastically reduce your risk of infection.

Other key product features include:

  • Kills 99.9% of germs
  • Perfect size for first aid kits and medical response bags
  • The solution to fighting germs and risk of contamination
  • Cleans, refreshes, and kills germs
  • Easy to use bottles with flip-top seal lid - can be used one-handed
  • Skin Friendly - Added Vitamin E and Aloe Vera
  • Available in packs of 6 or 24
  • Bulk-buy options available

This product comes in packs of 6 or 24 making it easy to stock up on hand gel – ideal for individual users to keep with them for on-the-go hand hygiene; at home, in the office, car or whilst out and about.


If you would like more information about our range of hand sanitisers, or for any other infection control needs, request a callback with one of our experts or get in touch using the form below


Hand hygiene is an important part of the individual action we can all take to protect against everyday germs. See our full range of recommended products for everything you need to protect yourself and others against infections, including face masksapronsgloves, PPE packs and surface wipes.

Stock up on these products now to make sure you are equipped to prevent the spread of viruses.

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Or call us on 0161 902 3030

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