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Antibacterial or Regular Soap: Which is Better?

    The battle between antibacterial and regular soaps is perhaps as old as their concoction. Many gullible consumers choose antibacterial hand washes and bars in hopes of staying healthy and germ-free. But with the increasing emphasis on maintaining good hygiene due to the ongoing pandemic, more and more people are gravitating toward antiseptic soaps now. This increased inclination toward antibacterial sanitary products is starting to stir up some speculations about the efficacy of such soaps and whether they are actually better at keeping people safe from bacteria than regular soaps.

    Antibacterial Soaps vs. Regular Soaps

    Contrary to popular belief or rather the forced notion of antibacterial soaps being better at killing germs, they are not any more effective at disinfecting people’s bodies than regular soaps. There is no factual scientific data that deems antiseptic soaps as better disinfecting products than their standard counterparts. But surprisingly, many studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to some ingredients used in antibacterial soaps can have adverse effects on the human body. However, those soaps are over-the-counter varieties and do not include those used in healthcare centers and hospitals.

    Because of the concerns raised by researches done on the efficacy of antiseptic soaps, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule requiring soap manufacturers to present relevant data and literature supporting the theory that antibacterial hygiene products are better at stopping the spread of various diseases and that all the ingredients used in their production are safe for the human health. To this date, none of the antiseptic soap producers have submitted any research papers or efficacy data to justify their business. Resultantly, the FDA has banned the use of various active compounds, such as triclosan, used in antimicrobial soaps. Now, companies cannot market antibacterial washes and bars unless they show supporting scientific data, which isn’t available.

    What makes a Soap Antibacterial?

    An antiseptic soap contains some active compounds, such as triclosan and triclocarban, that a plain soap doesn’t. These compounds, as claimed by marketers, supposedly kill bacteria and stop the spread of scores of seasonal diseases. But many studies show that triclosan can have harmful side effects on the human body.

    According to animal studies, triclosan disrupts the function of various hormones in the body and can lead to antibiotic resistance, impacting the effectiveness of medical remedies in treating illnesses. Although the findings seem convincing, they are not definitive as more research is needed to be done on humans to come to a conclusive theory.

    What do Consumers do?

    The lack of scientific research supporting antibacterial soaps is sufficient to debunk all the prevalent ideas that make people choose antiseptic soaps over the regular ones. Therefore, washing hands with plain soap and water is enough to keep people safe in homes, offices, schools, and other public places.

    Don’t let those misleading advertisements trick you into believing that you need to buy antibacterial soaps to stay healthy and fight bacteria. As long as you wash your hands with soap and water and follow other hygiene practices, you are good to go.