CHG vs PHMB: Skin Benefits

Both chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) and polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) are commonly used as antiseptics and have shown efficacy in infection prevention on human skin. However, there are some differences between the two compounds. Here are the potential benefits of CHG over PHMB:

  1. 1. Broader spectrum of activity: CHG has a broader spectrum of antimicrobial activity compared to PHMB. It is effective against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and some viruses, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). PHMB, on the other hand, has a narrower spectrum of activity and may not be as effective against certain microorganisms.

  2. 2. Persistent activity: CHG exhibits residual or persistent activity, meaning it continues to provide antimicrobial protection even after it has dried on the skin. This residual activity can last for several hours, providing prolonged protection against infection. PHMB, in contrast, has limited residual activity and may require more frequent application for sustained protection.

  3. 3. Lower risk of resistance: CHG has a lower likelihood of promoting antimicrobial resistance compared to PHMB. Prolonged or excessive use of PHMB can lead to the development of bacterial resistance, limiting its long-term effectiveness. CHG has been used for many years and resistance is less common.

  4. 4. Greater availability and established use: CHG has been widely used in healthcare settings and has an established track record of safety and efficacy. It is available in various formulations such as soaps, wipes, and solutions, making it easily accessible for healthcare professionals and patients. PHMB, while also used in certain products, may have a more limited availability and may not be as widely recognized or utilized.

It's important to note that the choice of antiseptic depends on the specific situation, the type of infection or procedure, and the recommendations of healthcare professionals. Different formulations and concentrations of CHG and PHMB may also vary in their effectiveness. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the guidance of healthcare providers and adhere to proper application techniques and dosage recommendations for optimal infection prevention on human skin.