Updated on November 3, 2017
Pros and Cons of Antibacterial Soaps and Sprays
Everyone and everything contains germs. In and of themselves, they are not dangerous to you but can be if they are transmitted to others. Protection from foreign germs is available in the form of antibacterial products. But, are they effective?
Let’s weigh in on the issue, starting with the pros of using antibacterial soaps and sprays. Antibacterial substances stop the growth of bacteria. Bacteria are organisms that cause infections. Infections weaken the immune system and can make you very sick.
Anything that stops bacteria from growing is supposed to be good for you. Antibacterial soaps provide an additional layer of protection for your skin. If you have cuts, they can help prevent infections.
Hand washing is important to help stop the spread of germs. Using soaps that contain triclosan and other antibacterial substances can stop you from spreading colds, flu and other conditions. These soaps also stop the spread of bacteria like salmonella that are present in raw poultry.
Hand sanitizers contain a large percentage of alcohol which will kill bacteria on the skin and prevent it from entering your body. Because the alcohol is fast drying, there is no residue left on the skin. You can use them anywhere you don’t have water but need to keep your hands clean.
Now, take a look at the flip side of the situation. Many seem to believe that the abundance of antibacterial soaps and sprays have led to a race of “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics. Many antibacterial soap leaves a long-lasting residue on the skin. Normally, you would think that this would protect you but it can actually begin to kill the good bacteria on your skin, leaving the way open for more resistant ones to invade.
Hand sanitizers seem to be the answer, but are they? Using too much alcohol can dry the skin. Especially in winter, cracked skin can open you up for infections.
Even with antibacterial soaps the problem often comes down to technique. Many people don’t know how to wash their hands effectively. After you apply the soap to your hands with the soap, take fifteen seconds to work it into lather, cleaning your fingernails too.
If you wash your hands too quickly, it doesn’t give you maximum benefit. You could leave many of the germs intact. This can occur with regular soap. Also, regular soap can remove as many germs if you observe proper hand washing techniques.
So, should you use antibacterial products? That is up to you. Hand sanitizers will protect you when washing your hands is not convenient. Antibacterial soaps protect longer if you need it. When you use them, moderation is the best medicine.