Can you use hydroalcoholic gel if you go to the beach or the pool? Can the combination of gel with alcohol and sun burn your skin?

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis hydroalcoholic gels to disinfect our hands when we do not have soap and water Nearby they have become a must. So much so that at the beginning of the quarantine they were exhausted and many launched themselves with more or less success to make homemade versions of this product. But now that the heat and the desire to tan in the sun have returned to our lives, doubts assail us. Is it a good idea to expose these products to sunlight? Do we risk the health of our skin if we use hydroalcoholic gel on the beach or the pool?

Well, in principle, no. How did you publish the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and VenereologyThese gels contain 60 to 85% alcohol (although they must be at least 70% effective to treat the coronavirus). When applied to the skin, the alcohol they contain works its magic against the coronavirus, but it does not stay there forever, it evaporates quickly in a few minutes. "Exposure of the hands to sunlight under normal conditions will not trigger inflammation on the skin where the gel has been applied, ”say the AEDV experts. Although it is worth asking whether to consider our beach days as a normal exposure to the sun's rays.

"We must trust the criteria of the AEDV. Surely, before making this statement, they have already checked the composition of the most common gels and understand that in the sun they do not cause problems of photoallergy or phototoxia. Although we must also consider that as There are so many types of gels on the market, we are not sure that any component of one in particular causes a little solar reaction, which is called phototoxicity. But that is not usual, the gels are made so that they can be used throughout the year ”, explains the Dr. Alejandro Fueyo, dermatologist at the Serrano Medical Unit.

Both on the beach and in the pool you can continue using your hydroalcoholic gel safely.

Another question is the order in which the hydroalcoholic gel and our sun cream must be applied. ”That mixture of components can sometimes give a little reaction due to the magnifying effect of the sun. Let's not forget that are two chemicals that are not designed to go togethers ”, continues Dr. Fueyo. To avoid this problem, for once, listen to dermatologists and follow the rule that they have been asking us to do for decades to protect ourselves from the sun: apply your sun cream at home, with clean hands, before going to the beach. And in the successive applications on the beach, rinse your hands with water every time you go to put the cream back on. This will minimize the risk of mixing both products.

What if your summer goal does not have views of the sea but of the pool? Does chlorine in the pool interact with hydroalcoholic gels? Well, at this point the precaution is more directed to the fact that both products, chlorine and hydroalcoholic gels are irritating substances, which can make their combination cause dermatitis in people who already have skin with atopy, very dry or prone to eczema. "In this case I would recommend, when you return home, shower with an atopy gel that does not contain detergents and hydrate your hands," says Dr. Fueyo.


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So, if you go to the beach this summer, don't forget to bring your sun cream, your hydroalcoholic gel … and a good hand cream. “As the hydroalcoholic gel has a drying effect, it can irritate the skin in such a way that apply emollients after use and use sunscreen that does not have alcohol in its composition if we are going to do a solar exhibition ”, concludes the Dr. José Manuel Carrascosa, dermatologist member of the AEDV Photobiology Group.

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