Skin disinfection

Skin disinfection is a process that involves the application of a disinfectant to reduce levels of microorganisms on the skin.[1] Disinfecting both the skin of the patient and the hands of the healthcare providers are an important part of surgery.[1]

Skin disinfection may be accomplished with a number of solutions including providone-iodine, chlorhexidine, alcohol based solutions, and cetrimide.[2] There is tentative evidence that chlorhexidine and denatured alcohol use to clean skin prior to surgery is better than povidone-iodine with alcohol; however, the evidence is not strong enough as of 2015 to determine routine practice.[3]

Its importance in health care was determined by Semmelweis in the 1840s.[4]


  1. ^ a b Krettek, Christian; Aschemann, Dirk (2006). Positioning Techniques in Surgical Applications: Thorax and Heart Surgery - Vascular Surgery - Visceral and Transplantation Surgery - Urology - Surgery to the Spinal Cord and Extremities - Arthroscopy - Pediatric Surgery - Navigation/ISO-C 3D. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 10. ISBN 9783540309529.
  2. ^ British national formulary : BNF 69 (69 ed.). British Medical Association. 2015. p. 839. ISBN 9780857111562.
  3. ^ Dumville, JC; McFarlane, E; Edwards, P; Lipp, A; Holmes, A; Liu, Z (21 April 2015). "Preoperative skin antiseptics for preventing surgical wound infections after clean surgery". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD003949. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003949.pub4. PMC 6485388. PMID 25897764.
  4. ^ Maibach, H. I.; Aly, Raza (2012). Skin Microbiology: Relevance to Clinical Infection. Springer Science & Business Media. p. Part two. ISBN 9781461258681.