If you were to come to my house (which of course you wouldn’t be allowed to do at the moment), you’d find copious amounts of the following:
Lego, glitter glue, dried up lidless felt-tips, a cuddly Iggle Piggle (if you don’t know what that is, lucky you), a doctor’s kit, catering packs of PG tips – because my biggest fear is running out of tea not toilet roll – and my personal stash of Dairy Milk.
Oh, and multiple bottles of Clinisept+ Skin Protect , an innocuous-looking spray that has become such an important part of my everyday life in the age of Covid-19, that I can’t imagine ever being without it.
I’m going to rewind a few months when life was normal and I was interviewing facialist and all-round skincare guru Pamela Marshall of Mortar and Milk for my Outspoken Beauty Podcast . She told me about this wonder product that was £15 and could clear spots, help skin recover, help with ‘runners feet’ (athlete’s foot is a persistent problem for me) and also be used to keep hands clean.
The wonder product was Clinisept+ which looks just like water but is a cleansing antimicrobial solution that delivers incredibly high levels of hygiene without containing alcohol.
In under 15 seconds, it kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria, fungi and spores as well as enveloped viruses, of which coronavirus is one (not that I knew what Covid-19 was back then). It contains no nasty chemicals and is completely skin pH compatible and non-sensitizing. And unlike hand-sanitizer which has to be 60 per cent alcohol to be effective against viruses, it won’t dry out your hands.
I was fascinated and wanted needed to know more, so I arranged a meeting with Clinical Health Technologies, the company behind Clinisept+. The more I learned, the more I realised that this product could genuinely help a lot of people in the ways that Pam had described and more.
Clinisept+ contains ‘hypochlorous’, something that our bodies make naturally in response to infection and which is recognised as being highly effective in cleaning the skin. Facilaists like Pam, dermatologists, and aestheticians have been using it for years to thoroughly clean the skin of bugs ahead of treatments such as extractions, micro-needling and injectables. When I had a facial with Pam (strongly recommended) she used Clinisept+ at the start to protect against germs and to thoroughly clean my skin.
the NHS could probably do with CLINSEPT+ by the bucketload right now
So why isn't hypochlorous more widely used? Well, as good as it is, it has a very sensitive chemistry, and, until now no one has actually succeeded in making it stable enough to be bottled with a usable shelf life. Clinical Health Technologies tell me they have managed to develop a new method of producing it, making it stable while keeping almost completely pure.
Pam told me to take a bottle home and use it morning and evening, wiping on with a pad or misting it over my face. Unlike many of the usual skin cleaning agents, I’m used to, it didn’t sting or irritate. In fact, it was actually soothing. The only thing I noted was a slight chlorine-like smell which I soon got used to.
From that day forward, I always had a bottle in my handbag and another in my bathroom. Pandemic or no pandemic, when you’re out and about in the city and can’t wash your hands, you need something to de-germ you. I used it when I flew to Antigua, spraying our entire row of seats. I sprayed it on my feet to keep my persistent athlete's foot problems in check and used it on the kids’ scrapes. When I squeezed a spot (naughty I know), Clinsept+ calmed the area down so much faster than usual. It was my new wonder product.
Then suddenly coronavirus struck, hand sanitizers were sold out and I was ordering as much of the stuff as possible. At my daughter’s sixth birthday party at the beginning of March, I spritzed the hands every child there – and a few of the adults. I was like a woman possessed. I’d turn up at the school and nursery gates armed with my spray and my three-year-old would offer me his hands before I had to say anything. In a situation that was getting more serious by the day, and where my anxiety levels were off the scale, I felt like my secret ammunition.
I knew I wasn’t going mad when I heard that aesthetic doctors were taking their Clinisept with them as they headed back to frontline NHS work. In a recent Instagram story, aesthetician Dr. Sophie Shotter posted a picture of herself in full PPE holding a bottle of the stuff with an appeal to the prime minister and health secretary to make it available on the NHS. "Keeping me safe in the ICU. Need this in the NHS @borisjohnsonuk @matthancockmp #lifesaving."
Sophie, who works with critically ill Covid patients in intensive care, tells Get The Gloss she uses it on her hands and face in the line of duty. She doesn’t spray it on her shopping (she uses dilutes bleach because of the amount needed) “but I do use it if I just want to spray one or two things down.”
As you can imagine, the NHS could probably do with the stuff by the bucketload right now but frustratingly because it is not yet registered as an approved skin disinfectant, the hospitals are not allowed to buy it.
The team at Clinical Health Technologies assures me that that they and have applied to the Health and Safety Executive for emergency permission for Clinisept+ to be classified as a disinfectant so that they can get it where it is needed most.
As you can tell, I’m on a bit of a crusade to help make sure this powerful and affordable product is used as widely as possible. I do not work with the brand, I am not paid by them, I am just utterly passionate about the product and want it to be available where it is most needed.
In the meantime, my secret is out and you can buy Clinisept+ online for £15.45.
(NB Clinisept+ Procedure Aftercare has recently had a name change to Skin Protect, but its the same product).
MORE GLOSS: Nicola Bonn's lockdown diaries
Cath up on The Outspoken Beauty Podcast.