(CTN News) – According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Sheffield, gentle cleansers are just as effective as harsh soapsviruses, including Coronavirus, from the skin.
In order to prevent or treat irritant contact dermatitis, a common skin condition characterized by redness, swelling, and damage with a dry and cracked appearance, healthcare professionals often substitute harsh soaps or alcohol-based hand sanitizers with skin-friendly cleansers.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the incidence and severity of the disease increased from 20 to 80 percent among healthcare professionals.
In spite of the widespread use of gentle cleansers products for handwashing, there has been limited evidence to support their antiviral effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses such as human Coronavirus, herpes simplex virus, norovirus, and influenza.
As part of the study, scientists from the Sheffield Dermatology Research (SDR) group at the University of Sheffield tested several handwash products.
As part of the investigation, the team examined the ability of antibacterial soap, natural soap, foam cleaners and bath wash products to kill both enveloped viruses, such as human coronaviruses and influenza, which have an additional layer of structural protection; and non-enveloped viruses, such as norovirus and adenovirus, which do not.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Virology found that gentle cleansers were effective in killing enveloped viruses; however, non-enveloped viruses were resistant to both skin-friendly and harsh cleansers.
The study’s lead author, Dr Munitta Muthana from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism, stated: “Washing hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds was one of the fundamental messages advocated in the UK to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
Healthcare professionals, however, may experience unintended adverse effects if they wash their hands 100 times during a 12-hour shift.
Aside from causing the skin to become inflamed, blistered, and cracked, which increases the transmission of bacteria and viruses, irritant contact dermatitis is also associated with less compliance with personal protective equipment (PPE) and inadequate hand washing for fear of exacerbated symptoms.
It is also possible for the disease to negatively affect the productivity of the workplace.
It has been demonstrated in our study that substituting harsh soaps with milder wash products, such as gentle cleansers, is effective in reducing enveloped viruses, including human Coronavirus, which is a very encouraging finding – particularly for workers who are at risk of contact dermatitis due to irritants.
The addition of additional agents such as moisturizers to protect the skin did not interfere with the antiviral activity of the products, which implies that we do not have to use very harsh products to kill viruses.