Which works best against Covid-19: clean hands or face masks?
According to a new article in Forbes magazine, to stop the spread of Coronavirus, the public needs to carry out several physical interventions at the same time. And while the media focuses on the culture war over wearing face masks, we must not forget another intervention that science suggests maybe even more important than a mask: clean hands.
Are there healthier choices for your skin than common soap? Yes. Here is why; Soap is created through saponification, which is the reaction between an alkali and a fat that produces a fatty acid salt. Globally, infectious disease has dropped dramatically with the development of this productⁱ.
Soap functions by solubilizing the fat membrane and dirt of organisms effectively cleaning the skin. In fact, water containing a mere 1.0% of soap powder inactivates enveloped viruses such as the coronavirus2,3. Despite this effectiveness, problems arise due to the sheer frequency of using traditional soap.
Unfortunately, we are introducing more adverse skin conditions by subjecting our skin to harsh chemicals so ubiquitously present in soap.
We certainly advocate washing, however not at the expense of tissue integrity. WOSH thoroughly cleanses the skin without harming it in the process.
While every feasible, tolerable and accessible method should be employed to combat the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the proven most potent and least injurious strategy should be given priority.
1. Willcox M, Crichton W. The soap market: a review of current trends. Cosmet Toiletries1989;104(12):61–63.
2. Saknimit M, Inatsuki I, Sugiyama Y, et al. Virucidal efficacy of physico-chemical treatments against coronaviruses and parvoviruses of laboratory animals. Jikken Dobutsu 1988;37(3):341–345.
3. Ma QX, Shan H, Zhang HL, et al. Potential utilities of mask-wearing and instant hand hygiene for fighting SARS-CoV-2. J Med Virol 2020. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25805.