18 June 2020

Dermatologists develop unique hand sanitiser

● Formulated by dermatologists who understand skin care and patient needs.

● Immediately kills 99.99% of most household germs and viruses - including SARS-COV-2.

● Maintains effectiveness for 24 hours even with hand washing, reducing need for re-application.

DS Skin Clinic and its international group of clinics has launched the DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer - a skin sanitiser that was developed to work much better than existing sanitisers in the market.

The DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer comes in  handy spray bottles.
The DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer
comes in handy spray bottles.
DS Skin Clinic says that an effective hand sanitiser is a key component of a multipronged protection regime, which includes social distancing, thorough hand-washing, frequent hand-sanitising, wearing of masks and avoiding touching of the face with hands. As hand-washing facilities are not always available, a hand sanitiser that can effectively disinfect hands on a daily basis will keep them free of the SARS-COV-2 virus.

“As a dermatologist, I see the need for a good hand sanitiser for our patients that’s effective, long-lasting and gentle on the skin. We tried to look for such a sanitiser in the market and, to our surprise, couldn’t find one that satisfied all these requirements,” said Dr Henry Loh - Chairman & Executive Director, RMH Holdings.

"These considerations prompted DS Skin Clinic to come up with our own unique formulation, that we believe will meet the needs of consumers who are emerging from lockdown isolation and getting onto public-transit systems, returning to the office, and visiting more places. This means we will be increasingly exposed to the SARS-COV-2 virus on lift buttons, railings, door handles etc. that may have been contaminated by an infected person who had previously touched these surfaces."

“A good sanitiser must be effective in killing germs, as well as be gentle on the skin. That’s why we emphasised from day one of its development that the hand sanitiser must protect the skin from dehydration, skin irritation and prolonged usage,” noted Dr Coni Liu - Consultant Dermatologist, DS Skin Clinic.

Dr Liu shared during the launch of the sanitiser that her normal advice to her patients had been that there is "no need to for repeated cleaning" as washing too frequently can injure the skin barrier. With COVID-19 on the loose, her advice has now changed "as the risk of COVID outweighs skin integrity".

"Hand hygiene is more important than ever," she said.

The need to sanitise has led to her seeing more patients with rashes, especially on the hands, and flare-ups for those with stable eczema in April compared to March. She is seeing more atopic dermatitis (rough, itchy patches on the skin), as well as deep-seated itchy blisters, and allergies to essential oils. Some patients have even developed eczema late in life, she said.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but washing hands with soap and water can be more irritating to the skin than using an alcohol-based sanitiser, she said. She advised that soap should be used after using the washroom and before and after eating, whereas sanitiser is better after touching surfaces such as lift buttons or door handles.

The new sanitiser can be safely used by eczema patients, she added. A handful of her patients have already tried the new sanitiser and have had no problems so far, she said. Experiments with larger cohorts are planned for the future.

In its search for a good hand sanitiser, DS Skin Clinic found that commercial hand sanitisers have disadvantages. The alcohol-based ones, if concentrated enough, act quickly and are effective in killing germs - but can dehydrate the skin. The alcohol-free sanitisers, on the other hand, are more gentle on the skin, but also tend to be less effective and slow to act - as long as half an hour to an hour, according to Dr Richard Seow (PhD), CEO, RMH Holdings and Chief Scientific Officer, DS Skin Clinic. Such sanitisers are more suitable for object surfaces.

Regardless of whether a sanitiser is alcohol-based or non-alcohol-based, the germ-killing effect is typically only present during the point of application. Thereafter, the skin begins accumulating harmful germs again as it comes into contact with contaminated surfaces, until the sanitiser is re-applied. Alcohol is also soluble and washes off easily, DS Skin Clinic pointed out.

The DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer is fast-acting and kills the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. In addition, it is long-lasting, remaining effective for 24 hours after application, whilst being gentle on the skin. The innovative sanitiser is the result of a collaboration between the dermatologists of DS Skin Clinic, sharing their skincare expertise, and the local research and development efforts of its in-house scientist.

"All these product benefits make this the best product in the market for the moment," Dr Seow said.

He said the sanitiser can be sprayed onto smartphone screens, keyboards, and doorknobs. Dr Liu added that she uses the DS Skin Clinic's sanitiser on her phone, bag, and hands. She will reapply the sanitiser after visiting the washroom and performing surgery.


Singapore's National Environment Agency lists 70% ethyl alcohol and 0.05% benzalkonium chloride as the respective working concentrations for the two active ingredients in sanitiser that are effective against coronaviruses. The DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer contains 75% ethyl alcohol and 0.1% benzalkonium chloride, and has been found by independent German laboratory Eurofins to be highly effective and fast-acting in killing 99.99% of most household germs and viruses.

Lasts up to 24 hours

The DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer remains effective for 24 hours after the initial application. The all-day protection is enabled by a skin-friendly, non-greasy waterproofing polymer film formed over the skin after the alcohol evaporates. This prevents the active ingredients from being washed away, and provides long-lasting protection against germs.

“The all-day protection is enabled by encapsulating 0.1% benzalkonium chloride (BKC), a very effective antimicrobial compound, in a polymer. After the alcohol fully evaporates, this forms a thin waterproof, disinfecting layer over the skin and further prevents the BKC from being washed away. This can last 24 hours even with mild handwashing*,” said Dr Seow.

Dr Seow shared Eurofins data that showed the DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer had a near-zero count for germs 24 hours after application. A competitor brand containing alcohol had more than 5 million germs after the same time, whereas a competitor brand that contained no alcohol featured more than 0.5 million germs after 24 hours.

Gentle on skin

DS Skin Clinic added a vitamin C-based emollient oil and glycerin to the formula to hydrate skin, so that repeated and prolonged application of the hand sanitiser will not cause any skin irritation or damage. "Many antimicrobial compounds too harsh for skin," Dr Seow said, listing bleaching agents typically used to clean floors as an example of something that will kill germs, but would be unsuitable for our skin.

“From a commercial perspective, this represents a business opportunity because of the lack of such a product locally and worldwide,” observed Dr Loh.

The US CDC supports the use of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) for the effective reduction of pathogens that may be present on the hands of healthcare providers after brief interactions with patients or the care environment. It recommends the use of ABHR with greater than 60% ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or 70% isopropanol.

DS Skin Clinic (Dermatology & Surgery Skin Clinic and its international group of clinics) is a private dermatology practice in Singapore. It offers services for all dermatology conditions affecting skin, hair and nails. A full range of surgical, laser and aesthetic services are provided, including Mohs Micrographic Surgery. All of its dermatologists are specialists accredited by the Singapore Ministry of Health with listings under the Specialist Registry.


The made-in-Thailand DS Skin Clinic All-Day Hand Sanitizer is available as a compact 45 ml spray at S$15 per refillable bottle. Boxes of 10 bottles can be purchased at S$99 per box from any of DS Skin Clinic’s four branches in Singapore:

- Orchard Paragon (Level 7 and Level 17)
290 Orchard Road, #07-11/12 Paragon
Singapore 238859

- Parkway East
319 Joo Chiat Place, #05-01 Parkway East Medical Centre
Parkway East Hospital
Singapore 427989


- Shenton
#14-01 Income@raffles
No. 16 Collyer Quay
Singapore 049318

The hand sanitiser will soon be launched and available in Hong Kong with the opening of the multidisciplinary, specialist Queen’s Road Medical Centre outlet later this year. It can also be purchased online at www.dsclinic.com.sg, and will be available in partner clinics in Singapore and in partners' online store in August.

Larger formats containing 250 to 500 litres for home and office use are being considered, as are alternative manufacturers in Japan for supply chain flexibility.

Hashtags: #dsSanitizer, #dsFightsCOVID

*Mild handwashing refers to rinsing the hands with water, without using detergents or soaps. Dr Seow recommends reapplying the hand sanitiser after handwashing with the use of soap, performed for at least 20 seconds.