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Hand Sanitizers: My Three Favorites

published date
January 15th, 2021 by


My three favorite hand sanitizers are:

hand sanitizers effective hand sanitizer brands

  1. Puracyn Plus First Aid Wound & Skin Cleanser
  2. Der-Mat Hand Sanitizer
  3. Safe Hands Solo

I use and recommend all three, but for different situations.

First, some background

By the time the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in earnest in Boston in March, I had a fairly realistic idea of what would happen. I had been following events in the Lombardy region of Italy –a wealthy, well-educated place not so different from the Boston area. I was staggered by the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system and by the severity of the response –the lockdown of a Western city. So I made sure to have plenty of food on hand, and even stocked up on toilet paper.

One thing I didn’t think about was hand sanitizer. By the time I did, it was impossible to find on store shelves or by mail order. That would remain the case for months.

Puracyn Plus First Aid Wound & Skin Cleanser

A friend in the medical field suggested Puracyn, a wound cleaning product with a 0.012% hypochlorous acid formulation. Nothing on the label says “virus killer” and of course at that point no products had really been tested against COVID-19. But since people didn’t know about it, I was able to procure it in March. I bought a few 16-ounce bottles (not cheap) and started using it for hand sanitizing and also for cleaning door handles and the like. The label reads:

Advanced Hypochlorous Solution

Hypochlorous acid is a molecule naturally produced by the human body’s immune system. Puracyn Plus contains a synthesized version of the hypochlorous molecule, which serves as a preservative that inhibits the growth of microorganisms within the solution

  • Science-Based Technology
  • Sting-free
  • Steroid free
  • Non-toxic
  • Alcohol-free

I really like this product. The sprayer is easy to use, it feels more or less like water on the skin, doesn’t leave any residue, has almost no odor, and can be used a lot without causing chafing or other skin irritation.

I keep it in the house and in the car.

In researching this post, I found Hypochlorous Acid: A Review in the American Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons singing the praises of hypochlorous acid as “an inexpensive, available, nontoxic and practical disinfectant that is effective in sanitizing against the COVID-19 virus.” So I feel confident in recommending it.

DenMat Hand Sanitizer

In April, a publicist for DenMat, a supplier to dental practices, sent me a sample of their new Hard Surface Cleanser, a bleach based cleaner with a lemon scent. It’s a good product and I’ve used it around the house, especially in the bathroom. I’m sure dental offices and others are using it against COVID-19.

But the real excitement was that this shipment also included a six pack of 5 oz containers of hand sanitizer. The DenMat version is an 80 percent ethyl alcohol solution, with glycerin to moisturize and smooth the hands. I really love this one. The pump/sprayer is super easy to use and it sprays out just a small amount. It’s a much better dispenser than what you typically find on Purell and similar. There is no waste and the bottles have lasted a long time.

There is a slight odor (nothing unpleasant) and it dries quickly. I keep this in my backpack and car, and carry it around with me if I’m going to eat outdoors at a restaurant (not that I’ve done much of that lately)!

Alcohol is flammable and swallowing even small amounts can poison children, so watch out.

SafeHands solo

Image 1 13 21 at 6.32 PM

Recently, I started using SafeHands solo, a sanitizer with benzalkonium chloride as its active ingredient. The novelty is that it comes in single use packets that can easily be toted around in a shirt pocket or purse.

It also has an interesting, three-step instruction for use: “hold it, fold it, squeeze it.” You hold the packet in one hand, then fold it to pop it open, then squeeze out the liquid onto your hand. After that you rub it around just like any other hand sanitizer.

It seems to work well, and it’s super convenient. The only challenge is that sometimes the squirt goes a little awry and some liquid ends up on your clothes or elsewhere. I used one this morning after touching a door handle and got a bit on my winter coat. It dried quickly, though and left no stain.

I plan to keep a few of these with me at all times. In any case I prefer to have my own supplies rather than using any communal containers that are offered in stores and other public places. I will probably not put any in my wallet, however, in case the seal breaks along the wallet fold.

I hadn’t heard of benzalkonium chlorides (BACs), but apparently they are widely used. Safe Hands Solo describes the product as non-toxic, and some research has found that to be the case. There are some concerns raised in the literature, however. See, for example Benzalkonium Chlorides: Uses, Regulatory Status, and Microbial Resistance in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Unlike alcohol, it is not flammable.

Conclusion: Why These Hand Sanitizers are Great

After almost a year of the pandemic, these three hand sanitizers are my favorites. I’m sure there are other good ones out there, but I prefer all of them to the typical gels that I commonly see.

Truth is, hand sanitizer was a bigger deal in the early months, before we understood that airborne transmission through droplets and aerosols was the main worry. I still use hand sanitizer but I don’t go out much, so the products don’t get used too quickly.

Masks, on the other hand, I do use a lot! So stay tuned for a review of my favorites.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Check out #CareTalk @HLTH2019

published date
November 7th, 2019 by

CareCentrix CEO, John Driscoll and I talk #CareTalk on the road to the HLTH conference in Las Vegas, where we interviewed some big names include Obamacare architect Zeke Emmanuel, Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt, Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Walmart Health exec Marcus Osborne, and Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein.

You can check out the whole series on the YouTube playlist.

#CareTalk March 2019: Gottlieb’s out. What’s next for FDA?

published date
March 21st, 2019 by

The latest edition of #CareTalk is out. CareCentrix CEO, John Driscoll and I explore the departure of FDA Director Scott Gottlieb and other pressing topics.

Here’s what we covered:

(0:28) Scott Gottlieb is out at FDA. Are you sad to see him go?

(2:00) Home health spending is projected to grow faster than any other category of healthcare over the coming years. Is that good or bad?

(4:00) Insulin prices are spiking and both Democrats and Republicans are up in arms. What’s happening?

(5:53) Lyft is talking about the social determinants of health. What?!

(8:47) What do you think about FDA approving ketamine nasal spray as a treatment for depression?

(9:10) What did we learn about healthcare from Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony?

(9:33) Medicare has a new app. Have you tried it?

(9:59) Did you hear about the $48,500 bill for a cat bite?

Subscribe to the #CareTalk Podcast
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Happy 14th birthday to the Health Business Blog

published date
March 12th, 2019 by

My main job is president of Health Business Group, a boutique healthcare strategy consulting firm I founded in 2003. As a sideline, I write the Health Business Blog, where I provide a behind the scenes look at the business of healthcare, featuring my spin on healthcare topics in the news, interviews with entrepreneurs, and policy prescriptions.

The blog is turning 14 years old this month!  Continuing a tradition I established with birthdays one,  two,  three,  four,  five,  six,  seven,  eight,  nine,  ten,  eleventwelve, and thirteen I have picked out a favorite post from each month. Thanks for continuing to read the blog!

March 2018: Tufts Health Plan CEO Tom Croswell on value baed care (podcast)

Tufts Health Plan CEO Tom Croswell is a veteran of the health plan world. I sat down with him to discuss value based care, collaboration, diversity and how Tufts tries to set itself apart in a crowded market. Tufts is best known for serving Massachusetts but is also expanding into neighboring states. It has a joint venture in New Hampshire and had just announced its entry into Connecticut in partnership with Hartford HealthCare.

April 2018: Ten pharma policy topics in just one article!

Kaiser Health News is a non-profit news service that does a great job of exploring healthcare policy topics. Still I was impressed that one article (How a drugmaker turned the abortion pill into a rare-disease profit machinemanaged to directly and indirectly raise at least 10 important policy topics.

May 2018: Partners and Harvard Pilgrim aren’t really going to merge, are they?

The news was full of stories about merger discussions between Partners HealthCare and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. No one denied the reports, so we can assume there was some truth to the rumors. But why would these organizations contemplate a merger and how likely would it be to happen? I compared it to a scene from a Cheech & Chong movie.

June 2018: Boston Globe and Boston Herald quote David Williams on Harvard Pilgrim CEO departure

A month after Harvard was talking about merging with Partners, the company’s CEO was out. It had something to do with his behavior… Both the Globe and Herald wanted to hear what I had to say about departed CEO, Eric Schultz.

July 2018: Nurse triage lines 3.0. Podcast with AxisPoint Health

Nurse triage lines have gone through three phases of evolution. In phase 1 they were implemented to ‘check the box’  for member education, phase 2 brought “demand management” to keep patients out of the emergency room, and now in phase 3 health plans are creating a gateway to innovative programs and services.

I discussed these topics with a leading company in the field.

August 2018: John McCain. A healthcare legacy

We don’t normally think of Senator John McCain as a healthcare leader, and yet he played a significant role over the years in various policy matters. CareCentrix CEO, John Driscoll and I paid tribute in a short edition of #CareTalk.