Is antibacterial soap better than regular soap?

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The word bacteria is quite unpleasant. Generally, I don’t want to think about the number of bacteria growing on my phone screen and faucet taps. Thus, I wanted to know which measures we take to protect ourselves against bacteria are actually effective. In this post, I’ll begin with a common contender: antibacterial soaps. Do they really lower your chance of getting sick? First of all, most soaps contain chemicals like alcohol and chlorine that can kill bacteria. Antibacterial soaps contain other additional chemicals that kill bacteria, such as triclosan.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis:

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no evidence that antibacterial soaps prevent disease better than regular soaps. In fact, the risks of using antibacterial soap are might be very high. A study done by the University of Birmingham found several strains of bacteria that mutated to resist common antibiotics. From there, they discovered that these strains of bacteria are also resistant to triclosan. With this discovery, there are now concerns that the process could also happen in reverse. exposure to triclosan (in antibiotic soap) could cause bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics, we’d have a huge problem on our hands. Although this reversal has not been confirmed, it is still something to consider.

Better ways to deal with bacteria:

Nevertheless, antibacterial soap just isn’t necessary. Dr. Peter Wenger, an associate professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey even says that “very thorough hand-washing… is the most effective way to get rid of bacteria”. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the biggest reason diseases spread between people is not because of the soaps that they use, but because people aren’t washing their hands well enough! The average person only washes their hands for five seconds and this isn’t nearly enough time to kill bacteria. So as flu season is upon us, here’s your friendly reminder to wash your hand well with soap, whether it be antibacterial or not.

Until next time, 👋

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