Antibacterial soaps: More harm than good?

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

handwashing-banner1As we head into flu season, the benefits of washing hands with soap and water cannot be over emphasized. But what soap exactly should you be washing with?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a final ruling to pull triclosan and triclocarban from the market. The reason for the ban on the ingredients was multifactorial:
  • Manufacturers failed to show the ingredients to be safe for daily long term use
  • Manufacturers failed to show the ingredients are better than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infections
The FDA’s rule does not apply to hand sanitizers, wipes, or anti-bacterial products used in health care settings.


According to Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research “In fact some data suggest that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term.”

 

From my perspective — as a board certified dermatologist practicing in the cold and dry Minnesota climate — I suggest everything in moderation: wash your hands with plain old soap and water, leave the antibacterial soaps for the hospital setting, and moisturize frequently to prevent dry skin and cracks that then subsequently spread infection.


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