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Are Antibacterial Suds Really Duds?

healthstudyHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Dec 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

Uncovering The Truth About Antibacterial Soap

Do you regularly use soaps and body washes labeled as “antibacterial?” It turns out that antibacterial soaps and body washes may not be effective at preventing the spread of germs. In fact, these products may be doing us more harm than good.

According to Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a microbiologist with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits.”

The FDA is currently taking a closer look at antibacterial soap and body wash products to determine whether these items pose more health risks than benefits. This investigation does not include hand sanitizers or antibacterial products used in hospitals and health care settings. Here’s what you need to know about antibacterial products and hand washing to protect yourself and stay healthy:

Antibacterial Soaps and Washes Have No Proven Health Benefits

There is no data indicating antibacterial soap to be more effective than regular soap for preventing the spread of infections. In a December 16th ruling, the FDA set a requirement for product manufacturers to provide additional data demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps and washes.

Antibacterial Soaps May Contain Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Triclosan and Triclocaban, two common ingredients in antibacterial products, may carry serious health risks. These chemicals may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. This can negatively impact and complicate the medical treatment of common illnesses and infections. The FDA is also concerned that Triclosan and Triclocaban may affect consumer’s estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.

Hand Washing with Regular Soap Prevents Illness

Washing your hands with regular soap and warm water throughout the day remains the most effective way to ward off illness. Hand washing removes germs from your hands to prevent the spread of germs to your eyes, mouth, nose, food, loved ones, and surroundings. Remember to wash your hands before eating, after caring for someone who is ill, and after using the bathroom, coughing, or sneezing. Be sure to lather the soap and scrub for 20 full seconds. Fully cover both hands to the tips of your fingers and even under your nails.

If you have questions or concerns about antibacterial products or hand washing, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Check in regularly with the MeMD blog to stay updated with the latest health news and tips for preventing illness.

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Kat Smith