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J Hosp Infect. 2002 Jun;51(2):114-20.

Clinical double-blind trial on the dermal tolerance and user acceptability of six alcohol-based hand disinfectants for hygienic hand disinfection.

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Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald, Hainstr. 26, Germany.


Six commercially available alcohol-based hand rubs [AHD 2000, Desderman, Mucasept A, Manorapid (Poly-Alkohol, Spitacid, and Sterillium] were investigated in a clinical double-blind trial involving 10 participants who had no previous experience of using hand rubs (Group 1), and seven who had substantial professional experience of using hand rubs (Group 2; virology laboratory staff). Group 1 was studied for one week with 20 applications on day 1 and then five applications per day for six days. Transepidermal water loss, dermal water content and superficial sebum content of the skin were measured before and after the seven-day application of the products, as well as user acceptability (self-assessment of smell, speed of drying, emolliant effect, skin dryness). Group 2 used each preparation twice for two weeks in a random sequence, and carried out self assessment at the end of each fortnight. Transepidermal water loss (mean baseline: 18.7 g/m(2)h), dermal water content (mean baseline dorsum: 75.6) and superficial sebum content (mean baseline dorsum: 4.8 microg/cm(2)) did not change significantly. In both groups assessments of the smell and the speed of drying did not reveal any significant differences between the six products. Sterillium had the best emollient effect of all products (P<0.05; Wilcoxon test and Mann-Whitney-U test) and was significantly better than Desderman, AHD 2000, and Mucasept A, causing less skin dryness after seven days use in Group 1 (P<0.05; Mann-Whitney-U test). Manorapid caused significantly less dryness than Spitacid, AHD 2000, and Mucasept A in Group 2 after the first use, but no significant difference was observed after the second use. Thus alcohol-based hand rubs that contain emolliants, irrespective of the type of alcohol (n-propanol, iso-propanol or ethanol), are well tolerated and do not dry out or irritate the skin. Personal assessments showed significant differences for the emolliant effect and the extent of dryness. Both factors are very important, as user acceptability has an impact on compliance. Sterillium is the only hand disinfectant containing mecetronium etilsulphate which has been shown to have an emolliant effect. Future research should focus on user acceptability in order to improve compliance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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