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Can the body absorb the alcohol in hand sanitiser gel through the skin? © Getty Images

Can the body absorb the alcohol in hand sanitiser gel through the skin?

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Alcohol can be absorbed through the skin. However, it's highly unlikely that hand sanitiser has a significant affect on your blood-alcohol level.

Asked by: R P Whitehurst, By Email

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Yes, although the quantities are normally quite small. Hand sanitiser gel is usually about 62 per cent ethanol or propan-1-ol. This is only about 50 per cent more concentrated than gin and you only use a few millilitres at most to wash your hands. In addition, alcohol is very volatile and nearly all of it will evaporate before it is absorbed. I can find no reports in the medical literature of alcohol intoxication from normal use of sanitizer gel.


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