When you’re looking to purchase soaps for your home, many factors come into play. You may opt to consider cost, color, brand, and other aspects.
Among these features, should you consider whether you are buying antibacterial soap or plain soap? Do you think that either will help ensure your family’s safety?
As of now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t come up with conclusive proof to show that antibacterial soaps work more effectively than normal soap and water in preventing diseases. However, based on the setting of your use, there are various factors to consider.
What Is Antibacterial Soap?
Also called antiseptic soap or antimicrobial soap, antibacterial soaps contain some chemicals that are not present in regular soap. The reason for including these chemicals is to reduce or prevent bacterial infections.
Finding the right skin infection soap is crucial – but is antibacterial soap really necessary or could plain soap do the job just as well?
Combining water and regular soap breaks the grip of most surface germs. They have polar and nonpolar properties, which makes bacteria dissolve more readily. This removes pathogens physically from the surface but does not stop their growth or eliminate them.
Antibacterial soap, on the other hand, can be processed with a chemical known as triclocarban or triclosan. This chemical is not present in ordinary soap. This ingredient is designed to stop the growth of bacteria.
The FDA hasn’t yet found any evidence to show that it’s better at preventing illness, though.
Antibacterial Soap Uses
Antibacterial soaps are advertised as preventing bacterial production and eliminating pathogens.
The chemical ingredient in antimicrobial soaps, triclosan, can be found in many places. It is added to consumer products like toys, clothing, furniture, and kitchenware to avoid contamination via bacteria. This leads to long-term exposure to triclosan.
In 2013, the FDA issued a ruling that required safety data on antibacterial soaps. After the research completion, the final verdict was issued on bars, soaps, antiseptic liquids, body washes, forms, and liquids to not make certain claims in their marketing. This was due to the fact that they were not shown to be more effective than regular soap or water in preventing infection. There is no evidence regarding the safety of exposure to antibiotic chemicals over a long time.
Typically, antibacterial soaps:
- May be recommended in healthcare settings
- Does not need to be used in businesses or at home unless prescribed by a medical professional
- Is no more effective at killing germs on the hands or body than plain soap
- Must remain on the skin for two minutes in order to have any impact on the surface bacteria
Plain soaps, meanwhile:
- Can be used in non-healthcare settings
- Are very easily obtained
- Cost less than antimicrobial soaps
Is Antibacterial Soap Better?
There are some advantages of antibiotic soaps. They are easily available in most stores and can destroy harmful bacteria. However, the cons are that they can also destroy healthy bacteria on your skin. Their added chemicals can remove natural oils and make your skin dry.
Additionally, using antibacterial soaps can create a false sense of cleanliness, and people may wash less frequently.
Plain soap is suggested for non-healthcare settings at home and in public unless a medical professional prescribes an antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective at eliminating germs outside of a carefully sterilized healthcare setting.
Generally, thorough hand washing is the determining factor in germ illness prevention.
Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap
Liquid soap is more preferred over bar soap for hand washing. It’s more convenient to use and doesn’t let germs spread from one person to another if soap is shared. A moisturizing ingredient is frequently included in liquid soaps to ensure that regular hand washing won’t dry out your skin.
Bar soap should be used less often because germs can grow on the surface and be easily transmitted between people. It’s okay for use at home if no one has a skin infection, but public places should not promote the use of bar soap.
Antibacterial Soap Dangers
Some researchers believe that using antibacterial soap can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs. Research has suggested that the chemical triclosan can contribute to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. This could have a huge impact on the future of medical treatments.
Furthermore, triclosan is an ingredient that concerns many academic, regulatory, and environmental groups. Studies on animals have shown that the way in which hormones work in the body is altered by triclosan. This raises concerns about potential effects on humans.
How to Effectively Clean Your Hands
A staggering 95% of adults wash their hands incorrectly. These steps will make sure that your hands are always at their cleanest:
- Wet your hands thoroughly with cold or warm water.
- Rub soap directly into your palms according to the directions of the manufacturer.
- Scrub the backs, palms, inner spaces of the fingers, and under the nails of your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Do not scrub too hard to avoid causing cracks that could let bacteria in
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands
- Apply a moisturizer to prevent cracks from dryness
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Q: What is antibacterial soap?
A: Antibacterial soap is a kind of soap that has components, like triclocarban and triclosan. These ingredients are specifically designed to stop or limit the growth of bacteria on the skin.
Q: Is antibacterial soap more effective than regular soap?
A: Although antibacterial soap may be more effective in fighting bacteria than normal soap, the difference in effectiveness is usually not significant for most people’s daily requirements.
Q: Are there any potential risks associated with the use of antibacterial soap?
A: There’s some concern that using antibacterial soaps can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition, certain active ingredients found in antibacterial soap have been associated with environmental and health issues.
Q: Should I use antibacterial soap instead of regular soap?
A: For most people, regular soap is sufficient to maintain good hand hygiene. If you have a weakened immune system or work in an environment with a high risk of infection, your doctor might suggest using antibacterial soap.
Q: Can I use antibacterial soap on my face?
A: It’s generally not advised to use antibacterial soap on your face as it can be drying and harsh. It is better to choose a gentle, non-irritating cleanser for your face.
Q: What is the difference between antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer?
A: While both antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer are designed to destroy bacteria, they function differently. Antibacterial soap works by physically eliminating all bacteria that are present on the skin, while hand sanitizer works by killing bacteria on contact.
Q: Can I use antibacterial soap in place of hand sanitizer?
A: Antibacterial soap isn’t an alternative to hand sanitizers, particularly when you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizers are more practical and efficient in situations where hand washing isn’t possible.
Q: Can children use antibacterial soap?
A: Children can use antibacterial soap, but it is crucial to supervise their use and make sure they are not using too much, which can be harmful. It is also essential to encourage children to wash their hands regularly with soap and water, regardless of whether it’s antibacterial or not.
Q: Should I use antibacterial soap if I have sensitive skin?
A: If you have sensitive skin, you should be cautious about using antibacterial soap as it can be drying and harsh. Instead, it is best to use a gentle, non-irritating soap that is specifically designed for sensitive skin.