Handwashes that are more akin to lotion for dry skin than disinfectant could help to overcome hospital-based infections, a new study has found.
Research to be presented to the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) today by the University of Hertfordshire says that gentler hand lotion could encourage hospital workers to wash their hands when they are required to.
Professor Marc Brown, chair in pharmaceutics at the university, explained that healthcare employees only wash their hands two out of every five times that they should, mainly due to the fact that the vast majority of hand-washing products contain skin irritants such as alcohols, preservatives, colouring agents, fragrances and disinfectants, which often lead to dermatitis.
But the scientist contends that a solution combining the cleansing effect of a disinfectant and the soothing nature of a hand lotion could combat the spread of infection.
In partnership with the Kings College London-based drug firm MedPharm, Professor Brown developed Dermol 500 Lotion2, a dry skin lotion that can also tackle harmful micro-organisms.
In tests involving the lotion, volunteers had their hands contaminated with E.coli, with the new dry skin cream found to be equally effective at stopping the infection from developing as conventional disinfectant-based products.
"It is known that regular hand washing between procedures and between patients reduces the risk of hospital-acquired infections. But dermatitis, caused by hand-wash products, is currently deterring staff from carrying out the simple procedure of washing their hands regularly," Professor Brown will say later today.