Skin disinfectants, or antiseptics, are topical chemical agents for cleaning the skin and wounds to prevent bacterial infection. They are typically used as first aid. Antiseptics can stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can cause severe complications if not treated immediately.
It is classified based on their chemical structure. The most common antiseptic groups include alcohols, quaternary ammonium compounds, chlorhexidine and other diguanides, antibacterial dyes, chlorine and hypochlorites, peroxides and permanganates, inorganic iodine compounds, halogenated phenol derivatives and quinolone derivatives.
Besides preventing infections, antiseptics are also used for handwashing, preoperative disinfection, mucous membrane disinfection, treating infected wounds or burns, and curing mouth and throat inflammation.
Be aware that some antiseptics may cause chemical burns and skin irritation, leading to dermatitis. We must also avoid antiseptic on eye injuries, deep wounds, critical burns. Regular cosmetic use of antiseptics can also damage the skin.
If a wound is still not healing despite using it, an individual should visit a doctor to monitor any underlying health condition affecting the healing process. While antiseptics are generally safe to use, long-term use is not advised. It is best if used as a first-aid treatment to common cuts and injuries.