Empty shelves and “sorry, out-of-stock” is what I got the whole of last week! Hand wash and hand sanitizing products have become scarce lately! How come all stores I visited ran out… Have some people only started to wash their hands since the coronavirus outbreak? I wonder. So let’s forget a minute about functional medicine, gut health and all topics our inner geeks are usually thirsty for. As we are being reminded the hard way lately, being healthy sometimes comes down to reconnecting with the basics. That includes hygiene rules 101, like keeping our hands clean.

When you can’t wash your hands with water and soap 

This is a thing. We, people, have gotten lazy. We get things Lazada-ed to us, we have iPhones reminding us of our next appointments, Facebook whispering us not to forget Janet’s birthday, and we have “no-rinse” solutions to our dirty hands problems. While this is indeed, very handy, we can’t talk about basic hygiene without stressing that getting our hands wet and soapy, for a good 20 seconds, just like in the World Health Organization demo below, is still our number one option when we need to get those hands squeaky clean.

That said, when in the BTS holding that slimy warm pole (you know it!) or pushing that stale cart at Villa Market, there is then a clear emergency situation calling for sanitization!  These are situations for which the following DIY formula is created for.

How do you sanitize your hands on the go? 

When water and soap are not available, what are we rubbing our hands with?

Those are the hand-sanitizers I have gathered from around my house and bags. What are they made of?

While some contain a variety of way too “sophisticated” ingredients for my personal appreciation, the starting point is: are we going for a water base or an alcohol base?

Would a water-based sanitizer be as efficient as one containing alcohol?

While every fact can be debatable… I am nonetheless going with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that “if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective hand washing and use of hand sanitizer in community settings was developed based on data from a number of studies.” Read more here.

With the above in mind, let’s not forget that sanitizing our hands is an emergency solution, a complement to washing per sé.  Let’s also have the word safety guide our own choices when making decisions pertaining to our health. To that matter, see more safety guidelines in last paragraph.

Hand-sanitizer: let’s do it (yourself) 

The quantity I am working on is 50 ml, in a spray bottle so the quantities are according to this standard. The concentration of essential oils in the below preparation is 3%.

For sake of precision, I express quantities of essential oils in ml / mg, vs. in “drops”.

Essential oils have various densities, and not all droppers are made equal so drop sizes and count can only be approximate. If you want to get a precise scale to measure and weight your ingredients, you can find some here.

As a base, I am using some ethyl alcohol that I have on hand. Clearly, spraying alcohol on our skin is not a beauty treatment! But here the focus is to eliminate the germs, and that is already much, isn’t it?

Ingredients (50 ml spray bottle)

Quantity (mg)

Approximate number of drops

Fine Lavender (Lavandula officinalis or Lavandula vera)

0,8

30

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

0,4

15

Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora Ct. cineole)

0,3

10

Alcohol (60-95%) 

qsp. 50 ml *

(n/a)

*that means the quantity sufficient to fill up the remaining space left in the 50 ml bottle (after addition of the first listed ingredients).

Why those ingredients? 

My brain was originally not wired for science! So it loves that for one given situation, aromatherapy has more often than not, a variety of answers. Situations such as facing a health challenge, an emotion to deal with, or in this very case, some concerns about virus, bacteria and our natural defenses.

All essential oils with such properties as antiviral, antibacterial and immunostimulant could be as well considered for that matter.

However, as we are making this product to apply directly on our skin, we also focus on a list of criterion to which all 3 essential oils used here reply successfully:

✅ Not irritant on skin 🖐 ✅ Not photo sensitive ☀️ ✅ Can be used around kids 👨‍👩‍👦 ✅ Not hormon-like 🔬 ✅ Non irritant for the respiratory system👃 ✅ If no medical restriction: Can be used during pregnancy, lactation after 3 months pregnancy 🤰🏼

Both Tea tree (monoterpenols and monoterpenes) and Ravintsara (oxides: 1,8 cineole) essential oils have wide spectrum antibacterial, anti fungal, antiviral and immunostimulant properties.

Fine Lavender (linalol) has anti-infectious properties, and we above all appreciate its use in this preparation for its soothing properties, on our nervous system. Don’t you find it stressful too, to walk around in a city where everybody wears a mask? Where the word virus is all we hear? It will also leave a pleasant smell on your hands, and that is probably my favorite part.

Where to find the ingredients? 

I know it doesn’t help much when I tell you that I buy my essential oils directly from producers in France. So I am not going to say that, and let you know the good news about what is available locally.

At Novessence, you will find a fundamental range of quality essential oils to start your aromatherapy journey. They also carry some material for DIY, as their founder, Emilie Usaï, and her team run several workshops focussing on natural beauty rituals and more, and her online store is also well equipped for that.

By the way, until 29th of February 2020, if you place an order of 1,200 THB and more at Novessence, you will save 90 THB and get a free delivery, using this code: MHBNOV. We literally just got that deal for you!

What is more, they also have an organic hand sanitizer, if DIY is not so much your thing after all. But hurry, you know these sell like hotcakes these days!

100% natural origin 97,9% of the total ingredients are from organic farming. Organic certified by Ecocert & Cosmebio Ingredients: Ribes nigrum (Black currant) leaf water, Alcohol, Aqua (Water), Parfum, Hyaluronic Acid.

Some safety guidelines using essential oils 

Essential oils should always be handled with care, and out of reach of children. Do not ingest essential oils, nor use undiluted essential oils on your skin without professional supervision. Do not use essential oils during your first trimester of pregnancy, with babies below 3 months, of if you have any health conditions preventing you to do so. Some essential oils, at certain dosis, can be phototoxic, neurotoxic, hormon-like, irritant. Always consult a professional before use. Wash you hands before and after manipulating essential oils. We highly recommend to only buy from reliable sources, choosing quality and “small” producers.

You can read more about what essential oils are and how to choose them right here.

Also, please take not that any well-being and heath advice on My Healthy Bangkok are to be understood as lifestyle tips and never substitute to your health care provider advice, whom you should always consult.

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Article written by Joëlle SMANIOTTO
@My Healthy Bangkok 

In short, Joëlle is an Aromatherapy geek. She has studied the use of essential oils from a scientific perspective (French Aromatherapy), first, and from a psycho-emotional angle (Aromachology), second. Both these curriculum taught her about the complexity and richness of the plants essences. Read more about Joëlle here.

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