You don’t have to be obsessive-compulsive to worry about germs these days. It’s cold season, it’s flu season, and worse yet, now we have to fear the H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) too. Accordingly, sales of antibacterial soaps and hand gels have risen dramatically in recent months. However, there are some problems with mass-market antibacterial products: the ones with triclosan pose possible health concerns, and the ones with too much alcohol leave your hands dry and cracked, and thus vulnerable to all kinds of irritation and infection.
For these reasons, not to mention the harsh window-cleaner smell of so many drugstore antibacterial products, I’ve long preferred alternatives like EO Hand Sanitizer. Lately, I’m even more pleased with the new Hand Purifier from Intelligent Nutrients. It’s a gel product (rather than a liquid that runs down your wrists and onto the front of your winter coat when you try to apply it on the go), and it feels like a lightweight hand lotion. It disinfects with alcohol (“denatured using certified organic peppermint oil”), but then it soothes with glycerin, aloe, and chamomile.
Most of this Hand Purifier’s ingredients are certified organic, including its fragrance. Vanilla extract and peppermint oil are blended in a scent that reminds me of mint-drop candies, those pastel “kisses” that melt in your mouth. The fragrance lasts for a few minutes, with an aromatherapeutic effect that's calming and reviving at the same time. The ingredients list also includes tea tree oil, which has its own antibacterial properties, but I don’t detect tea tree’s distinctive smell in this product.
This isn’t exactly an inexpensive item, but I’ve been thinking of it as a multi-purpose anti-bacterial product and moisturizer, which helps a bit. I’m always glad to find it in the bottom of my tote bag whenever I need it, and I feel even better afterwards, when my skin isn’t punished for my attempts at good hygiene.
Intelligent Nutrients Hand Purifier sells for $12 for 60 ml at Barneys New York.
Note: top left image is Erik Hans Krause, c. 1938 (Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, Library of Congress).