Today the importance of accurate personal hygiene is globally recognised in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, attention must also be paid to the possible negative consequences for the skin.
The regular use of alcohol-based gels or cleansing products is usually well-tolerated, but repeated exposure to water and other chemical agents can induce several pathophysiologic changes, such as epidermal barrier disruption, keratinocyte impairment, the subsequent release of proinflammatory cytokines, the activation of the skin’s immune system and delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions. Adverse dermatologic effects, such as excessive skin dryness, skin irritation or even contact dermatitis, can occur, especially in individuals with a history of atopic dermatitis (Figure 1).1
Alcohol-based sanitisers have a key role in mitigating the transmission of pathogens in healthcare settings. The US Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend