Irony Defined: Skin sanitizer recalled due to bacterial contamination.

If you’ve got any skin sanitizer products produced by Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah then you may want to throw them out. Seems the FDA has issued a warning that the products are contaminated with bacteria:

Analyses of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions, according to the agency. Some of these bacteria can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues and could result in medical or surgical attention as well as permanent damage.

Examples of products that should be discarded include Citrushield Lotion, Dermasentials DermaBarrier, Dermassentials by Clarcon, Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer, Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment, Skin Shield Restaurant, Skin Shield Industrial, Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion, Total Skin Care Beauty and Total Skin Care Work.

The FDA said its findings, following a recent inspection of the Clarcon facility, are particularly concerning because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds and damaged skin and protect against various infectious diseases. The inspection uncovered serious deviations from FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, the agency said.

Looking at the Clarcon Labs website it doesn’t take long to see these people are selling bullshit products. Take, for example, this description of their Citrushield Lotion:

The CitruShield solution has been developed by professional dermatologists with the purpose of protecting your skin while healing and moisturizing at the same time.  The solution protects the skin by first acting as a Anti-Microbial killing 99.9999 percent of not only germs but, bacteria like MRSA, C-Dif, staphs, gram positive and negative bacteria, germs, salmonella, ecoli, parasites, fungus, molds, and viruses continuously with only one application meaning you don’t need to keep re-applying until your skin exfoliates or until you use harsh soaps.

OK right off the bat we’ve got ridiculous claims and buzzword bingo going on. The 99.9999% claim is pure hype and is clearly false considering the FDA’s findings. I love the bit about how it kills “not only germs but, bacteria…”. Bacteria are microorganisms a.k.a. germs, but that doesn’t stop them from mentioning “gram positive and negative bacteria” later, which is a distinction only meaningful to microbiologists. (If you’re curious, most of the bacteria that are pathogenic in humans are gram negative but there’s a handful that are gram positive.) Then they mention germs again in case you missed it the first time. Germs are, by their very nature, parasites so it seems a little redundant to use that term. The claim that you don’t need to reapply it until your skin exfoliates is odd as you’re constantly exfoliating so how would you know you’ve exfoliated too much and need to reapply?

Additionally CitruShield repells caustic substancers like dirt, grease, oil, glue, paint, acids*, fibers, resins, inks, chemicals, and all similar products out of the skin’s pores; making it possible to remove these substances off of your skin with just a couple drops of water and rubbing your hands together creating friction then rinsing. Finally, as a moisturizer it repairs the acid mantel of your skin and relieves the problems of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It sounds impossible but it’s real, just try it and you’ll see how easy it is to keep your hands healthy and clean by using this gentle product.

Since when is dirt caustic? Or grease, oil, fibers, inks, or paint? Some acids and resins, sure, but “chemicals” is a very broad term. In the next sentence it sounds like they suggest washing your hands to get rid of these substances which makes one wonder why you’d need their product. If CitruShield “repells” [sic] acid out of the skin’s pores then how does it repair the skin’s acid mantle?  Not to mention the fact that the only references I can find to the skin’s acid mantle are from questionable dermatology products. It also doesn’t help that they misspell the word as “mantle” which is something you have over your fireplace.

As for the claims that it “relieves the problems of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.” Well, dermatitis is a very broad term that covers all manner of skin inflammations including eczema, which is ALSO a very broad term, so having both in the same sentence is redundancy for sake of sounding impressive. Moisturizing your skin is a common treatment for a number of different forms of dermatitis, including psoriasis, so if the product actually moisturizes then it may help, but then so would any brand of hand moisturizer. Though the implication in the breathless ad-copy suggests it’s more akin to a cure than just a relief from symptoms.

That was just the first paragraph on that page and the more you read the more the aroma of bullshit will start to invade your nostrils. They go on to suggest that you should use this product in place of standard soap and water in part because “its base is biological and can be killed by using other chemicals” and it’s “better than a regular antibacterial soap, because if your skin is damaged from using other hand cleansers, this product will promote healing of cracks and cuts on your hands.” They don’t bother to mention how it accomplishes all this, you just have to take their word for it. Oh, and the word of the people giving testimonials. You gotta have testimonials for a product like this and, of course, they’re all amazed at how good it is.

And that little asterisk they put next to the word acid in the first paragraph? It points to the following disclaimer:

*There are many types of Acids that are designed to perform certain functions.  Some more caustic and dangerous than others, some that produce extreme gases that can cause illness and even death.  Additionally, each person has different chemistry and can react differently to acids and its gases and should be very careful how they deal with acid.  In as much that Clarcon is not sure how a certain type of acid may be used and in what format nor are they aware of the physical chemistry of each individual it is recommended that you research the type of acid you will be using and how and understand your chemistry and still take precautions against the use of acid.  The miss application of CitruShield or the “wearing off’” of CitruShield could leave you exposed to the effects of acid; therefore Clarcon Biological Chemistry Labs assume no responsibility for injuries that may occur when someone may be exposed to acid as there are too many variables that can take place when dealing with acids and/or improper application of CitruShield.

SEB Translation: If you spread CitruShield all over your naked body and then go swimming in a vat of hydrochloric acid, don’t come crying to us. The fact that you’re stupid enough to buy our products tells us you might be stupid enough to try such a stunt and then sue us.