When temperatures rise, the temptation to sunbathe and swim is great. But as the Covid is still actively circulating, barrier gestures remain in order. Among them: washing hands with soap and water or, failing that, hydroalcollic gel.

And beware, some gels and hydroalcoholic solutions (SHA), useful for disinfecting the hands, must be used with caution in the event of swimming or exposure to the sun, recalls the French Society of Dermatology.

Water and hydroalcoholic gel do not mix

First reminder: disinfection solutions against bacteria, viruses and fungi are “not hand washing products”. They should therefore not be used on wet hands. This practice not only dilutes the components and makes the solution lose its effectiveness, but is also dangerous for the skin.

Indeed, “SHA containing hydrogen peroxide, exposed to water, will cause an exothermic reaction”, that is to say a feeling of heat and irritation. “If SHA containing hydrogen peroxide is used before swimming, irritation may therefore occur” warns the Company in its press release.

No scented gel

What about sun exposure? A priori, according to the French Society of Dermatology, there is no particular risk associated with the sun for gels and basic solutions: “The components of SHA are neither photo-toxic nor photo-sensitizing”, that is, that is, they don’t cause skin reactions to sun or light exposure, according to the learned society. However, scented products should be avoided, which can lead to pigmentations of the skin exposed to the sun.

Prefer “bar” soap

In short, on a beach or by a swimming pool: wash your hands normally to remove dirt and do not use gels and hydroalcoholic solutions. If your hands need to be disinfected, use a disinfectant solution on dry skin, and avoid products that are scented or contain hydrogen peroxide.

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Finally, soap remains a good way to eliminate viruses, but “while bar soap remains effective in seawater, liquid soap has practically no anti-infectious efficacy in salt water. “

And the coronavirus should not make us forget that another protection is essential in the sun: sunscreen, to be spread on all exposed parts of the body and to be renewed every two hours and after each swim.