Background - I'm not trying to make a hand sanitiser but I'm just interested as a consumer how some simple alcohol-based hand sanitisers are more moisturising on my hands than most creams I've ever used on my dry hands. I've noticed a similar effect from other communal (and thus probably cheap) hand sanitisers I've used in public places.
I was in a store today and had to use their hand sanitiser on the way in. It felt really nice on my hands.. silky and not sticky or slimey. I noted the brand name of the bottle on the way out so I could look up the ingredients out of interest.
It was this product:
"Ethanol Ethyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Glycerol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Denathonium Benzoate (Bitrex), Aloe Vera"
I'm not sure that is a proper INCI list as it doesn't look quite right - "glycerol" instead of "glycerin" and a typo in the Bitrex ingredient. But that's what is listed on the back of the pack in the product photo.
When I have used hand sanitisers that have felt similar to this one, the moisturising effect even lasts through later washes with the skin feeling hydrated and not papery at all. Is it really just glycerin doing this? I have used moisturisers with high glycerin (15% or above) and while they feel moisturising on, the effect is mostly washed out after the next rinse with water, leaving the upper layer of skin feeling papery and as cracked as before. I also wouldn't get lasting moisturisation with a plain glycerin and water mix.
Note - I don't get this lasting moisturising effect from all alcohol-based sanitisers.. most dry my skin out instantly. But there have been a few "public" ones recently where I have really noticed a high moisturisation effect and no drying out at all.. which is quite a feat on my ridiculously dry hands. Any ideas on how they do it?