Can hydroalcoholic gel be dangerous if we expose ourselves to the sun?

Summer has long since shyly stopped peeking out of the corners to illuminate us with all its splendor, in a particularly rare period and an exceptional year: while in some areas of Spain rebounds due to coronaviruses seem to be increasing, the borders in almost all countries continue to be closed, fewer flights operate than ever taking into account the summer period and some people only think of being able to escape for a few days to forget for so many months worry, illness, confinement and telework.

In this exceptional summer that we have had to live through, there are a series of doubts that we have to face and that had not haunted us before: should we wear a mask on the beach? Can we keep the safety distance? And a new one that perhaps we had not asked ourselves before, can it be dangerous to expose the skin, after using disinfecting gel, to the sun? The General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges has recently received several inquiries about publications that alert them to possible reactions that can cause the use of gels or hydroalcoholic solutions compared to sun exposure, but how much real is there in this?

Phototoxic reactions could occur, and may cause staining. Much less likely would be allergic reactions

According to account Tomás Muret Ramón, national vocal of Dermopharmacy of the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists, to El Confidencial: "The cases of allergic reactions or spots on the skin due to the use of gel or hydroalcoholic solution are minimal but, in the event that they do occur, phototoxic reactions could occur, which could cause spots, due to some non-antiseptic substance carried by the Gels. Much less likely are allergic reactions, since they only affect people with hypersensitivity to any ingredient. "

"There are more allergenic ingredients than others," he adds, "it is very difficult to see allergic reactions to alcohol, glycerin, or hydrogen peroxide which are some of the basic components of hydroalcoholic gels or solutions. Sometimes these products can carry other ingredients that could be more allergenic, such as vegetable oils or some perfumes. In the hypothetical case that it appears a photosensitivity reaction it would not be the responsibility of the alcohol since it evaporates in a matter of minutes, it would be due to some additional substance (not necessary for the antiseptic or sanitizing function) of the gel or hydroalcoholic solution, as it happens with some perfumes ".

Normally to try to relieve the skin you can use wet compresses or creams. In more serious cases it will be the doctor who indicates the treatment

So what are the possible reactions that the use of gels could produce? "The most common is dry skin, and even eczema, so it is always recommended to wash them with water and syndet soaps or PH neutral soaps as the first option for hand hygiene," he points out. "It is not recommended for use in people with eczema in hands or skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, … because they could aggravate the pathology. If a reddish skin rash, itching, burning, swelling appears in the area where the gel or hydroalcoholic solution is applied,… it is recommended to stop using the product and consult a pharmacist or doctor. "

The member explains that, as a priori we put the gel exclusively on our hands, this should be the affected area: "Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis occurs where the product is applied." What to do, in case we feel that it is causing us a reaction? "First we must stop using the product that produces this reaction and then you can consult the pharmacist who according to severity will refer you to the doctor. Normally to try to relieve the skin you can use cold and wet compresses or anti-itch creams, in more serious cases the doctor will indicate the treatment. "In conclusion, although it is unlikely that anything will happen, recommends avoiding its use When we are going to be exposed to solar radiation, mainly in swimming pools and beaches, so the best thing you can do is wash your hands with soap and water before going home, if you want to spend some time in the sun without major complications.