Regreasing with disinfectants
Regreasing means that the skin is protected from drying out by certain ingredients - the refatting agents - in surfactant-containing disinfectants or other skin preparations. The purpose of refatting is to maintain the skin's protective greasy film during skin and hand disinfection.
Disinfectants contain surfactants. These substances reduce the surface tension of liquids so that otherwise unmix able liquids can be mixed. In this context, surfactants are also called emulsifiers, as they are used to create emulsions. However, surfactants also attack the protective fat layer of the skin and can lead to skin dehydration and consequently to skin irritation.
Regreasing substances such as fatty acid esters or fatty alcohols are added to disinfectants as regreasing ingredients to counteract the degreasing effect of the surfactants.