Disinfectants and antimicrobial agents are concerned that they will kill not only the bad, but also the good and necessary parts of our biome. "Hand disinfectants that effectively prevent the transmission of Covid-19 are biomun-friendly by definition. To kill the pathogen, we all try to protect ourselves from the fact that it contains alcohol, which is an incredibly effective germicide, which means that it can . " Kill many diseases that cause bacteria and viruses within seconds, "says state-approved dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD." The problem is that these types of alcohols severely damage the natural lipids and fatty acids on the skin's surface, thus damaging your skin's barrier. "
What does this really mean for our skin? "We will see a lot of people with rashes, a lot of people with strange skin infections who, by overusing these ingredients, kill the good bacteria on our skin," Dr. Cate Shanahan in a recent episode of the mbg podcast.
The concern here, says dual-board certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., is antibiotic resistance. "Although the disinfectants generally do not contain antibiotics, if microbes become resistant to some of the disinfectants, it will be easier for microbes to resist important antibiotics."
As for more general, long-term concerns – that we simply don't fully understand. “We know that the microbiome has been shown to be critical to our health, and the use of products that can disrupt the microbiome is important. We don't currently know what the long-term effects of this will be, or how significant the effects of this behavior could be, ”says Barr. “There is still a lot of work to be done to better understand the skin microbiome, especially the microbes that are in our hands. Although we have learned a lot about what types of bacteria normally live on us, we know less about the specific functions of each bacteria and how our behavior affects them. "
"For example, there is one study that highlighted that the hand microbiome is a critical part of the human microbiome and that the hands have a very high variability in microbes that change even during the day," she continues. "So the bottom line is that more studies need to be done to fully understand the role of bacteria on the skin and the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect them."
Fortunately, she assures, our skin is a highly resilient organ – and our skin microflora can easily repopulate with the right tools.